Around this time every year, all the glossy magazines in your local supermarket start saying the exact same thing: Your sex life sucks! Your sex life is boring! And unless you’re putting a donut around your significant other’s ding-dong, your sex life is WRONG! Sad and wrong! The worst.
Does that kill you a little inside? That’s cool, because it’s meant to. How else are you going to sell magazines if you’re not going after people’s weaknesses? You’ve got to promise them that a sex life straight out of 50 Shades isn’t just possible but mandatory in today’s society. And if you’ve ever spent the $3.95 (or however much an issues of Men’s Health costs these days) and found yourself disappointed, it’s because none of the advice, right down to the nebulous command that you “communicate,” is ever fully explained.
That’s why we spoke to Vanessa Marin, a Berlin-based clinician who specializes in helping people have the sex lives they’ve always dreamed of. So breathe a sigh of relief, if you’re trying to get your groove on in the best way possible this year, you won’t need to visit your local donut shop. All you need is open communication — we promise we’ll explain that! — and some realistic expectations.
Put down your cell phone.
A few weeks ago, a CNN op-ed about scheduling sex made the rounds and readers responded in droves, either defending or decrying the idea of setting an alert for foreplay and intercourse (15 minutes) into their iCals. It may sound dorky and unappealing, but Marin says that the journey to a healthy sex life doesn’t begin with dirty talk and toys — it begins with quality time.
“I think that the number one thing couples, in particular, could be doing is prioritizing electronic-free time together,” Marin says. “I think it’s one of those things we all know we should be doing — like exercise — and then none of us do it.”
According to Marin, many people come to her asking how they can regain the passion that “just came naturally” during the first stages of their relationship. Her response? It’s not going to happen without work. You need to turn off your devices — 15 minutes won’t kill you, right? — focus on your partner and have a conversation. Does it have to be explicitly about sex? Nope. But if your TV is off and you’re forced to pay attention to each other, it helps create the circumstances that could lead to sex. Feel a little closer to your partner? Then you’re on your way to a healthier sex life.
Don’t wait to have sex until the end of the night
This one’s a little less intuitive. Most movies show us is that sex usually happens at the end of the day, after a glass of wine or two, and right before bed. That may work on The Good Wife, but it’s not going to work for you. Because, as we both know, by the end of the night all you want to do is get comfortable, close your eyes, and try to forget that you’ll be back at work in only a few short hours.