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My partner and I have been happily in an exclusive relationship for almost two years. We both love the sex we have, but it is often put on the back burner for other bedtime activities: reading out loud, talking and laughing, etc. So sometimes a week or two will go by without having sex but feeling intimate in other ways. We have talked about it and discovered that in previous relationships we both preferred our partners to initiate sexual interactions. The fear of rejection seems to be part of the issue, and I usually need a lot of specific attention to get fully turned which feels burdensome asking for. Any suggestions on how to increase each of our confidence/ willingness to initiate?
Thank you for this question. The fine art of creating a satisfying sex life in a long term exclusive relationships can be quite a balancing act. It takes time, effort, and a little imagination to be keep things harmonious.
First of all, don’t try to compare the amount of sex you’re having to the amount of sex you think you should be having. There are numerous theories expressed in endless online articles on how much sex you should be having in varying stages of monogamous relationships, however none of this relevant to your personal experience. If you’re happy with the amount of sex you’re having, you don't need to make a change. It sounds like you’re enjoying a lot of intimate bonding activities other than sex, which is a sign of a very healthy relationship.
On the other hand, if you are both wanting to increase the amount of sex you’re having, there are some simple ideas that may get you to the frequency you desire. I recently wrote a blog article about planning sex that you both should read. Planning the sex your having can be a great way to bypass the pressure of initiation and the potential embarrassment of rejection. Simply plan a date night like you would plan any other activity, then allow the sexual tension to build. You can also plan certain activities during these date night that help you get in the mood.
There are also some alternative methods to communicate a desire for sex, other than verbally, that could potentially work for you both. They could perhaps take the fear of rejection out of the equation, making initiating a sexy moment easier. I know of some couples that have a agreed upon sign that indicates they want to get it on. This could be playing a certain type of music when your partner gets home, wearing a particular outfit, or even leaving your keys on a particular countertop. These small, predetermined signs are agree upon consensual indicators that sex is wanted.
Making your bedroom a little sexier can also help initiate mutually. Indulge in some soft sheets and sensual smelling candles. Invest in some sexy tinted lighting and create a stimulating bedroom playlist. Spend some quality time looking through our sex toys, lubes, and accessories together that you’re excited to explore. Leave the toys out on your dresser or nightstand so you grab them over books and cell phones for bedtime entertainment. Introducing a toy may also help with the added attention or stimulation you need to get in the mood without feeling too bothersome to your partner. But honestly, most people enjoy pleasing their partners and the little extra details are worth the effort.
Overall, it’s important to keep the communication between you and your partner clear and frequent. Try out some ideas, see what works for you, and adjust accordingly.
Hope that helps!