Skipping sex tonight because you’ve got a killer headache (or you have an early meeting, or your favorite TV show is on)? We’ve got a solution for all of life’s turn-offs.
If you’re not getting as much under-the-covers action as you hoped for when you first said “I do,” you’re certainly not alone. According to the Kinsey Institute’s National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior, about 35 percent of married couples report having sex a few times per month to weekly — but an even higher percentage has less sex than that.
However, marital experts agree that most of these couples want to have more sex. So why aren’t they?
Whether it’s your attention-stealing kids, your super stressful job, or the always-blaring TV, these common mood-ruiners may be getting in the way of your fabulous sex life. Find out how to nip them in the bud so you can’t start getting busy again.
You’re Too Darn Tired
The problem: With the economy in a seemingly never-ending slump, many spouses feel more overworked and exhausted than ever before, says Rose Hartzell, PhD, EdS, a sex therapist and researcher at San Diego Sexual Medicine. And if, come bedtime, all they want to do is sleep, their sex life may feel the brunt of it.
The solution: “Go for a quickie,” Hartzell says. “Not every sexual encounter has to be a long, drawn-out process.” Another option? Consider going for a short walk or run when you’re feeling too tired for sex. “It may re-energize you and provide you with the vitality you need to engage in sex with your partner when you return,” she says.
You’ve Got a Gazillion Other Things to Think About
The problem: He’s getting undressed for bed; she talks about the bedroom needing painting. She’s getting under the covers; he tells her he needs his shirt pressed in the morning. It’s hard to get in the mood for romance when you can’t set your to-do list aside for even a few minutes, says Frederick Mondin, EdD, LMFT, LCPC, author of Erotic Marriageand a human sexuality instructor at Boise State University.
The solution: Focus on getting each other out of “go-mode” and into a sexier mindset. “If you are going to say anything as you’re getting ready for bed,” Mondin says, “it should be erotic.”
The Sex Is Too Predictable
The problem: Getting into a romantic routine can be a good thing (think about the anticipation over a tryst you and your partner pencil in for Wednesday afternoons, suggests James Amoureux, MBA, a dating and sexual relationship coach in Chicago). But if that routine becomes too predictable, you and your partner may soon lose interest.
The solution: “Plan the unexpected,” Amoureux suggests. Roll a set of “sex dice,” in which one number indicates asexual position and the other the location (the bedroom? the kitchen? the closet?) where you will have sex. “This can be a great tool to bring variety to a dull routine,” he says.
You Hurt All Over
The problem: Some couples blame theirlack of sex on their aches and pains — her head hurts or his knee aches, and neither is in the mood for romance.
The solution: Incorporate healing into your lovemaking. Massage each other. Take a warm bath together. Practice yoga together. “The closeness and connection you feel by being physical with your partner can carry over from the bedroom and back into it,” Amoureux says. “If massage, bathing, or stretching becomes associated with pleasure and eventually sex, they can override whatever negative association those aches and pains have wrought.”
Your Children Get All the Attention
The problem: Your kids: You love them, of course — but those little boogers often get in the way of intimacy. In fact, about 24 percent of parents let their kids sleep in the bed with them at night, according to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF).
The solution: First, don’t let your children in bed with you, Hartzell says. “When your marital bed becomes the family bed, it can be the kiss of death.” Take children back to their beds and stay to comfort them for a while if necessary. If children make it hard for you to have more sex at night, consider planning something to keep them occupied during the day. Hire a sitter to take them to the movies or play in the park for an hour or so while you and your spouse take time for romance.
You Share the Bed With Fido
The problem: Sure, pets are man’s best friend — but that four-legged BFF of yours may also be taking a toll on your sex life. According to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association, a whopping 42 percent of dog owners allow theirpooches to snuggle up with them at night — and that can wreck the romance, says Hartzell.
The solution: Enforce a “no pets in the bed” rule. “There are plenty of other areas in your home where you can cuddle with your pet,” Hartzell says. “Your animal should know that the bed is off-limits, and you and your partner should regard your bed as a private sacred space for you to be physically affectionate with one another.”
You’ve Had One Too Many Cocktails
The problem: Sharing a glass of wine or two with your partner can get you both in the mood — but go overboard, and you can kiss your desire goodbye. Sincealcohol is a depressant, using it heavily can dampen your sexual disposition. “And in addition to its other obvious negative effects, binge drinking can interfere with a man’s ability to have an erection,” notes Hartzell.
The solution: Think ahead. Before you order another drink, she says, decide what’s more important to you — romance with your partner or getting drunk.
You Don’t Like the Way You Look Naked
The problem: Too often, women shy away from sex if they’ve gained weight or are unhappy when they look in the mirror. In fact, more than 40 percent of females are flat-out unsatisfied with their bodies, according to a recentGlamour survey of 16,000 women. And it’s not just the ladies: Men may also become disinterested if they’re out of shape or feeling unattractive — and more guys than ever are opening up about their bruised body images.
The solution: Compliment one another and focus on what you do like rather than what you don’t like about your partner’s body, Mondin says. Compliments can go a long way in making you feel sexier (which can rekindle your desire for romance). And if your weight is the issue, consider a weight-loss program that can help you regain your confidence.
You’re Too Wired
The problem: When one spouse can’t be lured away from surfing the Web or watching a favorite team on the flat screen, initiating sex can feel like a no-go. And that goes for texting and chatting on the cell phone, too: “Nothing can get you more out of the mood than getting a phone call from your mother during intercourse,” Hartzell says.
The solution: Unplug your phones and turn off the television. Shut down your computers and other electronic devices. The only exception: the CD player if you like mood music. “This is an easy way to limit distractions during sexual intimacy and barriers to engaging in more sex,” Hartzell says. “Facebook still will be there waiting for you when you’re done.”
This article courtesy of Everyday Health