Autumn can be a tremendously busy time of year when work ramps up and social obligations resume. Or it can herald a return to peaceful calm after summer frenzy.
Full disclosure: There’s nothing peaceful about autumn for me! My appointment calendar is booked solid. No fewer than three healthcare conferences are on MiddlesexMD’s schedule in the next five weeks. That’s almost a rockstar schedule! (Well, maybe an aging rock star.)
So, whether your summer is an interlude or a frenzy, autumn is nonetheless an opportunity to reevaluate your relationship, sexually speaking, and recalibrate your sizzle, if necessary.
Long-term relationships have two (at least) universal pitfalls. One is boredom; the other is neglect. Occasional boredom is the almost inevitable result of familiarity and routine. It’s the same-old, same-old. It’s our guy in oversized sweatpants with a three-day scruff; it’s us in our stained muumuu and uncombed hair. And it’s the sexual routine that is as exciting as day-old coffee.
Hard to recall those days when we could hardly wait to rip the clothes off each other, hey?
Add a stressful job, social obligations, aging parents, kids in high school or university, and the absolute last thing on our minds is sex. The first thing is sleep. So, maybe we don’t even know if we’re bored because our sex life is over there in the corner gathering dust.
“As therapists, we can vouch for the fact that when people get out of the habit of loving in a sexual way, it can be extraordinarily difficult to get back into it,” writes therapist Christine Webber and Dr. David Delvin in this article.
Your assignment, should you choose to accept it, for this autumn is to reinvigorate romance, and ultimately, your sexual relationship with this person who, once long ago, made your heart beat faster.
Notice that there’s a hint of obligation here. A robust sex life might begin with spontaneous combustion, but it requires regular and conscious refueling to keep the flame alive over the long haul.
So, the first step is to want to revive your sexual relationship badly enough to make the effort and to commit to tending the flame. Here are some tips to get started.
Anticipation is a powerful aphrodisiac, and it’s one of the first casualties of a long-term relationship. “…living together…can take the anticipation out of sex. And anticipation is not just utterly delicious in itself; it's a useful tool for heightening your passion during the act—when you finally get to it,” write Webber and Dalvin.
You can heighten anticipation by:
- Scheduling sex. Put it on your calendar—both of you. Then you can begin to prepare—and fantasize—in advance. What will you wear? What will you do? What senses will you pleasure: what tastes, scents, textures might you incorporate? Will there be surprises? Maybe new toys? Maybe you’ll discover a new position to experiment with?
- Prepare for your date night. Take a fragrant bath. Shave. Moisturize. Scent. Clear your mind of distractions, stress, and worry.
- Send sexy notes. Leave them in odd places. Describe what you’re going to do to him or her. Sext like the bad girls. Email. Keep sex on the brain during the ho-hum (or hectic) work day.
One woman writes: “My husband resisted getting a cell phone for years. After becoming a small business owner, he finally caved and bought one. …After I had sent him a couple of steamy texts, he came home and said, ‘Boy, I never thought I'd say this, but I sure love cell phones!’ ”
- Become foreplay aficionados. Nothing builds anticipation like foreplay. And you need a lot more these days, anyway. So, take your time. Tease. Play. What’s the rush?
- Abstain. Forbidden fruit is always sweetest; the anticipation makes it so. You can touch, kiss, pet, cuddle—but no intercourse until some agreed-upon future moment.
Play. You’re only limited by your imagination here. Your date night could involve a variety of role plays: Arrange a tryst at a local bar. Arrive separately and “meet” each other. He (or you) might have conveniently reserved a room nearby. Go to a romantic movie separately and meet in the back row—make out just like you used to.
Here’s a list of adult games for both spice and romance, and honestly, they sound like fun!
Do it his way. Focus totally on pleasuring your partner. Do exactly what he wants—even if it’s not your cup of tea. Your task is to lovingly provide unforgettably erotic experience. Plan to fill in the gaps in case your partner’s imagination runs dry. Next time it’ll be your turn.
Change it up. Nothing beats boredom like a change of pace. Try different times—lovemaking in the morning, an afternoon delight. Do it in unfamiliar, maybe even [slightly] dangerous, places—on the floor in front of the fireplace, in your back yard at night, in the bathtub.
Get away—or stay at home. It’s always fun to make reservations for a weekend getaway—a nice hotel with an in-room Jacuzzi. Dinner by candlelight. A sexy, maybe erotic, film. Room service breakfast in bed.
But it can also be delicious to spend a weekend away—at home. Clear your calendar. Turn off the electronic gadgets. Get the cleaning and laundry done ahead of time. Stock up on luxurious and tasty treats that may also be known for their quality as aphrodisiacs.
Dr. Barb DePree, M.D., has been a gynecologist and women’s health provider for almost 30 years and a menopause care specialist for the past ten.