Too often, after the heat of the honeymoon phase fades to reality, couples let sex fall to the bottom of their priority list, hoping the spark will stay alive naturally and spontaneously. Unfortunately, that’s often not the case—even if you’re in your 20s or 30s.
“Couples need to understand that spontaneous sex is a myth. Even at the beginning of a relationship, there can be some planning involved before sex happens—like on a date night,”says relationship and sexuality expert Eliza Boquin, MA, LMFT.
The truth is, if you don’t make sex a priority in your relationship, your sex life can unintentionally fall by the wayside. So, here are 9 ways to make sure sex always remains high on your to-do list.
Prioritize Pleasure Over Sex
Remember that there’s a big difference between the two. “When couples become too preoccupied with orgasm-focused, penetrative sex, anxiety can cloud their experience,” says Boquin “They start chasing orgasms and block their ability to experience pleasure not directly related to the end game.” This can turn some partners off altogether if they feel they can’t perform to the point of orgasm. They may think, why bother? So you can see why putting enjoyment first—without always obsessing over the goal of coming—is key.
Don’t Find Time—Make Time
In this era of being constantly busy, sometimes we need to make the time instead of just spontaneously hoping things like sex will make time for themselves, says Stephanie Alys, chief pleasure officer at MysteryVibe. “Set your alarm 30 minutes early, or go to bed intentionally early. By segmenting time specifically for sex, you’ll never just forget, as well as give yourself a chance to look forward to it.”
Try (Even if You’re Not in the Mood)
Of course, we’re not saying to have sex if you don’t want to. But do consider dipping your toe in some erotic action even if you don’t think you’re in the mood, says Tara Struyk, cofounder of Kinkly.com. “Sometimes our bodies are up for it even when our brains aren’t. This is especially true for women, who often need some stimulation to create arousal, rather than the other way around.”
Keep Your Mind Open
Prioritizing sex means getting it in whenever you can. “A quickie in the shower, a hand job before your yoga class—if you want to make sex a priority, sometimes you have to be open to taking what you can get!” says Struyk. Get over the idea that sex always has to happen a certain way, at a certain time, with certain results.
Fantasize, Fantasize, Fantasize
Make a point of thinking about you and your partner getting hot and heavy during your commute or while at your desk. “These fantasies keep your sexy ‘pilot light’ burning even when the realities of life prevent you from indulging as often as you’d like,” says Beth Liebling, host of “Love and Laughter with Beth” and author of Love and Laughter: Sexy (Meaningful) Fun for Everyone.
Talk it Out
As we’re sure you’ve heard many, many times before—but still bears repeating—communication is key. “Talk about your fantasies, desires, what feels good, what you’d like more of,” says Alys. “It’s also important to make sure your boundaries are clear. If saying the words is difficult, try writing or finding a good article or video that expresses the thing you’re trying to convey.”
Create New Habits
Just like developing better-for-you eating and exercise routines, getting into the habit of having more (and better) sex will take time and commitment before it always feels easy and natural. But your sexual health is just as important as your mental health and physical health—so don’t neglect that part of yourself.
Try Sex Therapy
If you’re still struggling to prioritize sex and it’s creating issues for you or your relationship, you may need additional support. Boquin suggests meeting with a licensed psychotherapist who specializes in sexuality. “Sex therapists can help you navigate uncomfortable discussions, explore what mental blocks may be affecting your sex life, and provide you with additional referrals and resources to deepen your intimacy.” Find out more about what that might involve here.