The next time you’re standing in line at the grocery store, check out the glossy headlines of the women’s magazines that line the stands: “What Men Hate Most in Bed” or “What He Wants You to Know, but Will Never Say.” Men’s magazines echo the same theme: “What You Should Never Say to a Woman in Bed,” “Why She Won’t Have Sex With You.” We all want to know: what are my partner’s sexual complaints? What can I do about them?
The truth is, both men and women tend to complain about the same things when it comes to sex, particularly when they’re in a long-term relationship. Here are eight of the most common sex problems I hear from couples, along with suggestions to turn a partner’s frown upside down. Continue with part 2.
A Negative Body Image
Body changes are inevitable in long-term relationships. We get pregnant and give birth. We age. We gain weight and lose our hair. Health problems and everyday stress also take their toll on the body. Our fitness levels go up and down. These changes can make couples self-conscious about their bodies, prompting them to cover up more and have sex less. To improve body image, couples should share a healthy lifestyle. As importantly, they should continue to compliment each other’s appearance and desirability. Beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder.
Disparate Sex Drives
If you’re the one with a naturally higher sex drive, don’t pester your partner, whine when you don’t get it, criticize their lower drive or threaten to get sex elsewhere. Act like a grown-up. If your drive is exceptionally high, some “alone time” can take the pressure off your partner. If you’re the one with the lower drive, recognize that there is a connection between physical and emotional intimacy, and that your partner’s reasonable and respectful requests for sex are important to your bond as a loving, long-term couple. There is no magic number. The key is balance.
Missing the Connection between Mental and Physical Arousal
Most intimacy guides stress the importance of better techniques, new positions and sex toys, all things that make sex feel better. That’s fantastic, but it’s only half the equation. Couples should also focus on stimulating the largest sex organ — the brain. Sex is at its best when partners are both mentally and physically turned on. In my latest book, 50 Ways to Play: BDSM for Nice People, I combine the mental eroticism of the 50 Shades of Grey variety with kinky “how to” sex tips that can help mainstream couples turn their fantasies into real bedroom play.
Good old-fashioned fatigue is a leading bedroom complaint of today’s busy couples. To combat it, approach your bedtime routine as a team. Ask what you can do to help your partner power down without powering out. You can finish the supper dishes, put the kids to bed or give your partner some space to finish his or her work files. If your schedules are similar, you should be going to bed at the same time. Not only does it increase your chances of being intimate, it shows your partner that you’re in it together.