By Bunmi Sofola

The cliché of the frigid wife who doesn’t want sex has been replaced by a new reality – women who are married or in a committed relationship want to be having more sex.  So how does a woman in love bring the passion back into her relationship?

According to Dr. Phill McGraw, a renowned sociologist:  “Figuring out what you can do differently is the most efficient way to get the sex life you want.”  He along with some experts then proceed to list some moves that will leave your man begging for mercy tonight and every night hereafter.  And what better time than the New Year to start?  Here in a nutshell is what they suggested:

First, do a little thinking:  If you want your sex life to improve, start by diagnosing the problem.  Examine your life:  Are you so busy that it’s impossible for the two of you to be sexually intimate on a regular basis?  Have you gotten out of the habit because sex is incompatible with all your other obligations?  Days turn into weeks and weeks turn into months, and before you know it you can’t remember the last time you made love.  Sex is a pattern, and unless it happens on an ongoing basis, other things will crowd it.  Use it or lose it.

Try to trace the pattern back in time and figure out how sex got moved down the priority list.  Was it when you started having kids?  One of the biggest mistakes that couples make is that they stop being friends and lovers because they’ve become moms and dads.  It is a mental shift; all of a sudden, being a romantic partner is no longer important.  It is like we decide, Adolescence is over.  I’m a mother or a father now, and I have to act like one.’  Add to that the time and energy required in raising children, and sexually, the cards are stacked against you.  But being a parent is just one of the roles we play, and neglecting the role of partner and lover is a huge error.

Now ask yourself:  “What might I be doing – or not doing – to contribute to the situation?  And what can I do to change things?’  Back when there was passion in your relationship, were you taking more pride in the way you looked?  For better for worse, men are responsive to visual stimulation.  You can be oblivious to that fact.  You may need to make some small changes in your appearance, like getting rid of old sweat pants, cutting your hair, or losing the weight you’ve been, complaining about for years.  None of this is to say that his worn-out sweatshirts protruding gut are a turn-on.  But it goes back to one of life’s law: You create your own experience – so get started.

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You may want affirmation from him – that you look beautiful, that your haircut is flattering, whatever it may be.  There’s no guarantee you’re going to get it, which is why you have to decide within yourself that you are making the most of who you are and what you have to offer.  Give yourself credit for that and find security in it, even if it’s not externally validated. And indeed, your self-image is crucial.

Say to yourself, ‘I’m not just a memory, I’m a hot number.’  And then act like it.  Talk yourself into it.  Instead of waking up thinking about how many dirty diapers you’re going to change that day, tell yourself, “I am going to seduce my husband today.  Try spending less time coming up with a plan to avoid traffic on your way to work and more time figuring out how you’re going to inspire your lover.  As a starting point, think back to when you and your partner were having sex more often and enjoying it.  Remember what worked at that time in your life, and replicate those things.  Have a conversation with yourself.  Give yourself permission to get what you want.  Claim your right, and give a voice to your needs.  Being sexually satisfied and feeling wanted by your partner are legitimate and healthy parts of a relationship.

Next, bring him in on it:   Once you’ve thought about what is lacking, where the problem lies and what role you play in it, you need to talk to him about it; he cannot read your mind.  How do you tell someone you’re not satisfied with the sex life you share?  Very carefully.  It’s important to come at this straight.  You need to sit down together and mutually recognise: “our physical intimacy hasn’t been there lately.  We may have gotten distracted or allowed so many other things to absorb all our energy.”

You are acknowledging, as a couple, that you’ve gotten out of the habit of focusing on each other romantically and that you want to make sex part of your lives again.  Now let’s talk about timing.  The time to raise the issue is not during a marital crisis.  Your needs may be valid, but he’ll resist you if you include it in a litany of complaints or bring it up in the middle of an argument.  Getting defensive or figuring out who’s to blame won’t get you very far either.

If you’d rather argue about whose fault it is and try to convince your husband for falling asleep with the remote in his hand night after night, then I ask you:  Do you want to be right, or do you want to get more loving?  But what if he doesn’t want to talk about it? 

There maybe underlying issues that are manifesting in the sexual domain – problems that absolutely have nothing to do with you.  It’s so easy to feel hurt or disappointed if he’s not initiating sex, but don’t take it personally.  His struggle with intimacy may be as a result of too much stress in the office.  When the pressure is on, we tend to strip away what we actually need most: Sleep, comfort, companionships – and sex.  Is he depressed?  Could medication be diminishing his sex drive?  Also, men tend to measure their self-worth as a function of external circumstances.

He may feel like less of a man if he doesn’t have a job, for example, or even after something like heart surgery.  Take a look at situations that may be affecting him, and how you can help.  Would bringing a different passion (sports, a hobby) back into his life lead to a more excitement in the bedroom?  The two of you need to talk about what is going on.  But if he’s reluctant to be open about it, encourage him to at least look inside.

Suggest that he ask himself what might be killing the deal for him.  If you can find the source of the problems, you can tailor your intimacy to meet his needs, and yours.  And if all else fails, try to convince him that one session of couple counselling is the key to getting your feelings out in the open and starting to make changes. Now share the heavy lifting:  Carve out time for lovemaking.

Yes, it takes away spontaneity when you have to pencil in sex, but at least you’ll be having it!  After you do, you’ll say: “Now I remember why this was so much fun.  Now I get why we used to do it all the time.”  Then you’ll build the momentum to keep it going more spontaneously.  It’s about behaving your way to success, and the first thing you need to do is get back in the saddle.

Experts agree that an important element of sexual arousal is fantasy.  And yet we so easily get into a pattern where we’re just not fanciful or intriguing sexually.  Some people feel shame or fear when it comes to asking for what they want.  Speaking candidly with your partner about your desires doesn’t make you perverted or kinky.

Create an environment of acceptance and openness by agreeing in advance that you can say anything.  If you have a hard time verbalising your desires, give yourself permission to explore each other’s fantasies any way you can.  Write your partner a letter, or simply envision what it is that you want as you’re having sex.  Don’t be judgemental about this.  There’s nothing wrong with spicing up your sex life with some variety.  And by variety, it doesn’t mean different people.  Try a different place in the house, a different time, on a different position.

Discover your partner’s fantasy and be willing to play the game.  Be specific about what you want and careful about how you phrase your desires.  Your conversation shouldn’t start with “you don’t do this” or “you aren’t interested in that.”  What you should say instead is “I want this” and “I’m interested in that.”

If he’s quick from penetration to orgasm – which all men are, physiologically compared to women – you have to make sure there’s plenty of foreplay taking place before the actual penetration.  And you have to be able to talk about it.  Educate your husband so you understand each other’s needs.

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