With an attentive and conscious approach, you can enrich a stale sex life to no end. Discover these three insights and do the companion exercises, to focus on the sensual present.
Be where you are
London-based masseuse and writer Claudia Blake advises turning the place where you have sex into a sort of sacred room. Light some candles, use scents and calming background music (no complicated lyrics or melodies, because these will distract you). Put out a few "sacred" objects that represent special things for you. If you have a TV in your room, cover it with a sheet like you'd cover a birdcage to silence a talkative parrot.
These are all possibilities, but you don't have to make it complicated. People manage to have the most memorable sex in the weirdest and most uncomfortable places (among rolls of wallpaper! In the garden shed!) just because they want each other right that minute.
When you're about to make love, take a moment to let the room you are in have an effect on you. Notice the size of the room, the light from the windows, the way it smells and feels. Listen to your partner's breathing. Even if it's a mess, with laundry piled up in a corner and dirty windows, this is where you are right at this moment in your life. There is no better place.
Shelve your expectations
Obviously, it would be nice if sex were always perfect, but it can be very refreshing to realize that, often, it simply isn't. In his recent book, How to Think More about Sex, philosopher Alain De Botton writes: "For most of us, it's not about how we can have even better sex with our lover who is already keen to try out new positions with us on the sofa with the scent of jasmine and the sound of singing hummingbirds all around us. We're much more troubled by the fact that sex with our steady partner has become so problematic due to fights about how to raise the children or about money."
You could ask yourself, says De Botton, how often you may reasonably expect the sex to be satisfactory. "Like happiness in general, terrific sex may be the fantastic, sublime exception."
Put away all expectations about how great sex should be. Say to each other, "We're going to have really dull sex!" and see what happens. Meanwhile, practice your "inner smile" by looking at yourself without judgment and with kindness. Be receptive. Be light about the whole thing.
Play with habits
As Claudia Blake writes in The Joy of Mindful Sex, "If you can't lose yourself in kissing your partner's neck, you can't lose yourself in sex." She recommends regarding every sensual experience you have with your lover as a sexual experience. Don't stick to a fixed pattern with an orgasm at the end as a "logical conclusion." It would be better to think of everything that gives your partner enjoyment as a form of mindful sex. If you really make love attentively, it won't become routine in a hurry because you approach every moment as a new one.
Staring exercise: all you have to do for this exercise is look each other in the eye. You will probably want to look away after a few moments, but don't. Keep looking each other in the eye and do it for five minutes. Then slowly sink into an embrace and hold each other. Blake says, "This is a fantastic way to further strengthen your emotional bond. The exercise works perfectly as the beginning or the end of an intense experience."
Text: Anne Wesseling