While it’s perfectly normal for couples to experience ebbs and flows in the intimacy department, sex is vital to the health of a relationship. However, according to a recent national report commissioned by eharmony and conducted by Harris Interactive, less than 50 percent of Americans report being happy with their sex life. What gives? Well, there are a number of things — from insecurities to different types of contraception to chronic medical conditions — that impact a person’s sexual desire, but according to this survey, stress from work and being too tired are the key issues negatively impacting relationships.
“Most people are too tired or too stressed after they finish work to think about sex, and they want to feel nurtured by their homes, where they can sink into the couch,” says Sari Eckler Cooper, LSWR-R, an AASECT certified sex therapist and founder of the Center for Love and Sex. “But sinking into the couch all the time and binge-watching shows at home can cause you to become overly comfortable with your partner, so much so that you begin to feel like they’re a roommate, best friend, or sibling.” This is referred to as the “roommate effect.”
The solution? Start by carving out some sexy time for each other — sans all your smart devices. “I encourage our clients at Center for Love and Sex to have home dates in which they create a relaxing environment – think sensual music, scented candles, sheets with the feel they like — put their phones in a basket, have a meal facing one another without the TV on, and leave plenty of time for talking and sensuous touch,” Cooper says.
Erotic triggers, Cooper explains, are things that cause an intense emotional reaction, or in other words, turn you on. Touch is one of them, sure, but so are sound, sight, taste, and smell. “By being creative with your home dates, surprising each other, and changing up your erotic play, all of your senses are stimulated,” she says.
The one caveat: It’s important to do these home dates without expecting any particular sexual act, especially orgasms, so the activity doesn’t become pressure-filled, she adds. At the end of the day, the focus shouldn’t be on intercourse, but rather reconnecting through physical intimacy — whether that’s deep conversation, cuddling, heavy petting, or stimulation.
“This type of experience can lead to a richer emotional and erotic connection with your partner,” says Cooper. Both of which are key to keeping the spark alive and making sure you and your partner continue to feel fulfilled in your sex life.