DEAR DR. JENN,
Coronavirus, and all of the life stressors that came with it, has brought on a major sex draught for me and my partner. Sex has just ceased to be a priority. In the rare moments when I am up for it, she isn't in the mood. How do I turn my partner on and turn this sex rut around? —Covid Dry Spell
DEAR DRY SPELL,
We don’t tend to feel hot and heavy when we are fearing for our futures, facing economic uncertainty, overwhelmed with housework, and spending 24/7 with our partner. Many couples are fighting more and f**king less. Anger and resentment doesn’t make for amazing sex, unless makeup sex is your thing. The other problem is that not having sex makes you less likely to want sex — a vicious cycle. So what can you do to change the pattern and get the good times rolling?
1. Get on the same page.
You may be focused on how to turn your guy or girl on, but before you make a game plan to get naked, you need to make sure that you both want to connect more sexually. Perhaps he or she is too depressed and needs to address his own mental health issues? Maybe, sex is just not as much of a priority for them with everything going on. Take your partner's temperature and set some goals that you both feel good about.
2. Make room for sex.
Making space for connection, private time, and sex is the only way it will happen. If you prioritize housework, catching up on your favorite shows, or Instagram, sex will not happen. There are just not enough hours in the day. Carve out the time. Turn off the TV. If you have young kids, get them to bed early. If you have older kids, make a boundary to protect adult time together behind a closed door.
3. Take one for the team.
I often say if long-term couples wait until both people feel like having sex at the same time, they are not going to have very much sex. Throw in a pandemic and it’s unlikely to happen at all. Instead of waiting until you are in the mood, as Nike says, “just do it.” Sex begets sex. If you want to turn things around, you both have to commit to changing the pattern and getting sexual again. It doesn’t even have to be intercourse — it can be other forms of sexual contact that are turn-ons for you both.
4. Hone your technique.
We want sex to be effortless and instinctual. We want to be able to give and receive orgasms without textbooks or instructions. But the truth is that great sex lives are created over time, and take effort and energy. When it comes to how to turn a guy on, for example, most people are not born knowing what it takes to give a great prostate massage or the best way to deep-throat without gagging. The same goes for how to turn a woman on — knowing how to stimulate G-spot, clitoris, or any other overlooked erogenous zone requires study. When you were in school, if you wanted to get an A on a test, you studied for it. To get an A as a lover is no different. Many people have a hard time putting their ego aside to learn about sex and anatomy. “Why should I? I already know how to get my partner off,” you may think to yourself. But you can always heighten your partner’s pleasure, give better orgasms, and learn new things.
5. Ask questions and try new things.
Trying new things in the bedroom is a great way to reconnect and turn our guy or girl on in new ways. But asking for what we want — whether it's going to 'fifth base', pegging, role play, or talking dirty — is hard for most people. Plus, our needs, fantasies, and the things that turn us on change over time. This is why I recommend that couples take the time to do a regular Q&A with each other about sex. I created a sexual inventory questionnaire for couples in my book The Relationship Fix. All couples could use this inventory since desires change over time, but couples who are in a rut tend to find this questionnaire particularly helpful
Bottom line: If you don’t make the time, effort, and room for that connected time in your relationship, your sex life will shrivel up. Don’t wait for the feeling to change; take action and the feeling will change for both of you.
In Hump Day, award-winning psychotherapist and TV host Dr. Jenn Mann answers your sex and relationship questions — unjudged and unfiltered.