This article is a continuation of Experiments for Better Sex: Part 1
So now for the specifics…
The first thing you have to do is take a good look at your sex life and identify what’s going on. Admit you have a problem, in other words.
Ask yourself—and your partner—two questions: What do you want? What is prohibiting you from having that?
What someone usually wants is either a change in quantity (more sex!) or a change in the content (different sex) or both. Whatever is prohibiting sex is different depending on the couple, but frequent reasons for not having the kind of satisfying sex that you seek could be, but are not limited to: being too tired; not having enough time; life events (job, obligations, kids, illness); weight gain which can cause body insecurity and discomfort; incompatible schedules or not enough free time together; or one or more people have had a change in their sex drive (higher or lower).
Try to be specific about what’s going on. Where is the discomfort coming from? Do you not want to get naked anymore because your body has changed? Do you fall asleep right when you get into bed because your job is so demanding? Are you ready and raring’ to go in the morning, but your partner prefers having sex at night?
Identify it as accurately as possible. Once you have a sense of what’s going on, you can make up some experiments and see what might be able to shift.
2. Self Care
Next, work on your self care. Sexy self care. Immaculate self care. Look at the basics of your life. Are you getting enough sleep? Are you getting enough exercise? Are you getting enough decompression time where you can engage your brain in an easy, simple way that stimulates you instead of exhausting you? Do you feel good about your body? Do you feel good about your apartment? Are you getting enough time to yourself?
Do a self care experiment. Set up something that you’ll practice and experiment with for one week, once daily. Maybe you’ll go for a quick jog. Maybe you’ll do yoga. Maybe you’ll cut out some of your after work activities and make sure to be home by 8pm so you can have more time at home. Maybe you’ll set a timer on your phone to go off at 10:30pm every night and commit to being in bed by 11pm. Maybe you have been eating too much heavy food late at night and resolve to only eat salads for dinner for a week.
Just see what happens. While you do this experiment, observe the changes – how your body feels, how your energy changes or doesn’t, and how your emotional state changes or doesn’t. Maybe you’ll love the changes. Maybe you won’t notice anything. Maybe the experiment will end up being even more stressful than not doing it, so you stop mid-week. That’s okay. All of it is okay. There’s no wrong answer here. You’re just trying to figure out what variable pieces you might be able to shift and improve, to have a strong base of yourself to bring to your partner, and to your sex life.
When you’ve started to untangle some of the things that might be in the way of getting the sex that you want (hopefully your partner is doing similar experiments or self reflection) the next experiment to look at is how you will reconnect and start having the sexy fun times together that you both want to do. Were you able to identify some of the things that you’d like to change or tweak in your sex life? See if you can create some experiments based on the things that you want.
For example, if you want to have sex more often, create an experiment where you have sex five times in one week or every day of the week, and see how that goes. Can you make time for each other every day? Does a ten minute quickie count? You get to decide the parameters of the experiment and you get to collect the data of the experiment when it is over. You get to decide which parts served you both well, which could be tweaked, and which are unnecessary to try again. All the data is good data. All the data will give you information that will better serve you in getting what you want in the future.
Maybe you want to learn a new skill, so the experiment is to find a book or a workshop to attend in order to start learning that skill. Maybe you want to get involved with more local leather community, so your experiment could be doing research on some of the groups in your area. Maybe you want to practice asking for what you want, so your experiment could be making it one person’s responsibility to state verbally what kind of sex they are craving. Maybe you want to get better at dirty talk, so your experiment is text messaging and having phone sex to inspire more words.
Once you start seeing hurdles as potential experiments, the obstacles that have been in your way can become opportunities for insight and connection. Beyond that, you can start untangling the messiness of daily life that has been getting in the way of the fabulous sex life that you—and your partner—want.
Long term intimacy and sexual connection can happen. We can deepen as we get to know each other better, year after year, and our sex explorations can deepen, too.