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dr Firman Abdullah SpOG / OBGYN

dr Firman Abdullah SpOG / OBGYN

Monday, August 31, 2009

Recharge Your Sex Life


Recharge Your Sex Life

If you and your partner have fallen into a love-making rut, rediscover your sex style and have fun.

If the spark has fizzled from your marriage or long-term relationship, you may be tempted to try the racy suggestions often found in women’s magazines: buying sex toys, dressing up in costumes, or role-playing. But while those ideas can be right for some couples, they may not be right for you.

Many couples actually find them overwhelming, says Barry McCarthy, PhD, a psychologist and sex therapist in Washington, D.C. “For many couples, instead of it being empowering, it winds up being intimidating,” says McCarthy. “The theme of sexual desire is that you want to get out and play. You don’t want to be intimidated.”

So how can you turn up the heat after many years together if leather thongs and vibrators just aren’t for you? The secret, McCarthy says, is to first identify your and your partner’s sexual style. “Each style will have very different strategies to keep sex alive,” he explains.

Sex: What Is Intimacy?

Physical intimacy can be tough to attain because a major blockade is the narrow definition that some people assign to it. It’s important to remember that intimacy isn’t just physical — it also involves sharing the reactions, emotions, and thoughts stemming from sex. You can’t rush it.

Sex: What's Your Style?

Everyone couple has a different sexual style. It is important to know what you and your partner's sex style is in order to reignite the spark and turn up the heat in the bedroom. Four common sex styles include:

  • Complementary
  • Conflict-minimizing
  • Emotionally expressive
  • Soul mates, best friends

Complementary Couples: A Team Approach to Sex

Most couples will fall into this category, McCarthy says, which is characterized by a feeling of being a sexual “team,” with each partner having the freedom to either initiate or refuse sex. “They embrace this idea of feeling connected and safe with each other during sex,” McCarthy says.

The pitfall that many complementary couples run into is becoming complacent with their sexual routine, so shaking things up every few months can be beneficial. “It can be something tame, like a different pleasuring lotion,” McCarthy says. “Or it can be something more major, like taking a weekend away without the kids. It can be being sexual in a different room.” Even just a small change can have major intimate payoffs, he adds.

Conflict-Minimizing Relationships: Switch It Up

This type of couple follows traditional gender roles, with the man usually initiating sex and the woman initiating affection. But many women in conflict-minimizing sexual relationships feel as if their intimacy needs are being ignored, while men may find it more difficult to sexually stimulate themselves as they age.

The solution for these couples, McCarthy says, is to switch things up. The man can arrange a cuddling session during which sex isn’t allowed, and at another time, the woman can initiate sex or other erotic acts. “That’s the way she says, ‘I’m not just about intimacy, I have a sexual voice too,’” McCarthy says. “That spices things up.”

Emotionally Expressive Sex

Couples who fall into this sexual style may resemble something out of an adult movie, McCarthy says. Their emotions run high and they like to take sexual risks and be playful in bed. For these couples, role enactment arousal — the use of external influences like sexy clothes and pornographic movies — may be the right way to add a little sexual pizzazz. If you’re unsure about what kind of outside stimulation you’d like to try, visit a sex shop for some ideas, or try online stores like www.xandria.com, which ships all of its items in discreet, unmarked packages.

Soul Mates, Best Friends

As the term implies, these couples feel a strong emotional bond with each other and often feel like one person. But problems can arise when one or both partners put off their sexual desires for fear of pressuring or offending the other.

“They so emphasize mutuality that everybody’s got to be in the exact mood to do it,” McCarthy says. Soul mate couples may also form such a strong friendship that they stop seeing each other as sexual beings.

To make a soul mate relationship feel sexy again, McCarthy suggests that the partners arrange “sexually selfish scenarios” in which one partner is receiving more pleasure than the other. Oral sex sessions can fit this bill, but so can an intense foreplay session in which one partner does most of the work, while the other one relaxes and focuses on the pleasurable sensations. Many times, these one-way sessions will excite the “receiving” partner so much that it leads to a mutually satisfying romp in the sack, McCarthy says.

Sex: Outside the Bedroom

All couples, regardless of their sexual style, can also recharge their relationships by being intimate in nonsexual contexts as well, McCarthy says. Many long-term couples go wrong when they fail to spend one-on-one time with each other. “This is especially true for people who have kids,” McCarthy says. “They get more into the routine of being parents and don’t set aside quality couple time.”

Couples can start the reconnection process by carving out some time away from the responsibilities of work, kids, and other personal obligations, McCarthy says. Whether it’s a weeklong vacation in Hawaii or just a day together outside of the house, focusing on each other can be a great romance recharger. “You just need to do something that says ‘We value the husband and wife bond as a valuable part of this family,” McCarthy says.

Last Updated: 06/01/2009
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