Finally, alone at last! Top experts offer their best tips for keeping your relationship hot and exciting long after the honeymoon.
One of the fabulous things about marrying your soul mate is experiencing a unique connection and level of familiarity. But when things are too comfortable in the bedroom, it can cause problems. “Before you’re married, your sex life has little competition in your relationship,” explains Debra Macleod, coauthor of Lube Jobs: A Woman’s Guide to Great Maintenance Sex. “But after you’re married, sex has to compete with conflicting schedules, money concerns, in-laws and eventually children. It takes a toll on your sex life, especially when compounded by the increase in sexual familiarity and the decrease in honeymoon hormones flowing through your veins!”
Though it’s important to recognize that your love life will change over time, there’s a lot you can do to maintain that spark. Here, tips for keeping things hot long past the honeymoon.
1. Reach Out & Touch Someone
Several studies show that the simple act of hugging for between 30 and 60 seconds increases levels of oxytocin, a hormone that acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain and contributes to a sense of attachment, notes Ian Kerner, Ph.D., a sex therapist and author of Passionista: The Empowered Woman’s Guide to Pleasuring a Man. Kissing and holding hands reap those same unique benefits.
2. Let’s Talk About Sex
Though you’d think a sex expert as famous as Dr. Ruth would give advice that was, well, sexier, she says communication is the key to bedroom bliss throughout your marriage. “If you keep your needs and desires inside your heads, then the likelihood is that your sex life will slowly diminish in strength and intensity,” says Dr. Ruth. “But if you explain your likes and dislikes, then together you can create a very good, long-lasting sex life.” No one’s saying this is a topic that’s easy to discuss– even with someone as close to you as your mate—but doing so today is like an insurance policy for the future. “With a solid foundation, even if there are valleys in your sex life, such as during the years when small babies are around, you can climb back toward those peaks,” says Dr. Ruth.
3. Hold on Tight
Sex therapist Ian Kerner emphasizes the importance of having as much physical contact as possible on a daily basis.“It may sound obvious, but once you’re married you tend to become less lovey-dovey and more complacent as you sit side by side, tapping away on your laptops, rather than holding hands or hugging.”
4. Prioritize It
After that walk down the aisle, life gets busy with daily routines and your To Do list gets more crowded, sending sex tumbling to the bottom. Worse, once you’re living together it’s easy to assume that you can have sex whenever you want, and thus you don’t make time for it. But if you don’t prioritize your love life at the beginning of your marriage, it’ll be harder to do so in the future. Kerner advises consciously making sex part of your daily schedule. For example, take a shower together each morning or go to bed half an hour earlier. If the thought of scheduling sex makes you cringe, you still should leave enough room for sparks to fly. “After all, sex can’t happen if you’re on Facebook for hours and finally collapse into bed at midnight,” says Kerner.