6 Ways to Get in the Mood

How to break the no-sex rut and why it matters.

WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

You’re both tired. The kids are light sleepers. You’re not happy with your weight. You’re stressed out over deadline pressures at work. There’s no time.

There are many reasons why people in long-term relationships find themselves reaching for the pillow or the remote control instead of their partner’s body after the sun goes down. But a healthy sex life is a key part of an intimate relationship, experts say, and neglecting it can push the two of you further apart.

Problem No. 1: Same Old, Same Old

The Solution: Spice It Up

“When you’re in a long-term relationship, you get into a routine,” says Renee Horowitz, MD, an obstetrician-gynecologist and founder of the Center for Sexual Wellness in Farmington Hills, Mich. “There’s biological evidence that novel experiences cause the release of dopamine in the brain.” (Dopamine is a chemical messenger that’s connected to the pleasure center in your brain.) “That’s why it’s so much easier to get excited in a new relationship — everything is novel and your brain responds accordingly.”

Obviously, you can’t switch partners every time the excitement wanes. Instead, change up some of the other factors. “Try a different place, a different time, a different position,” Horowitz suggests. Have a morning quickie. Try sex in the shower, or on the kitchen island. (Clean up afterward.)

Problem No. 2: Too Much to Do, Too Tired

The Solution: Take a Romantic Break

All couples are tired at the end of a long day with many demands. By the time you get everyone to bed and deal with unavoidable chores, you just don’t have the energy for a romantic evening.

It’s time to change that.

“You have to prioritize what’s important,” says sex educator Sadie Allison, a member of the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists. Her best-selling books include Ride ‘Em Cowgirl! and Tickle Your Fancy. “Tired as you might be, it’s OK to just make it a quickie sometimes. Sex is so important to the overall health of your relationship.”

Instead of waiting until just before you put out the lights, take a break for a romantic encounter beforethe evening’s chores. “Make space and time where you can escape and get creative,” Allison says. Even if that time is in your house (or car, or backyard). “Look, it isn’t going to happen spontaneously,” Allison says. “You have to find the time and make a date.”

Problem No. 3: ‘Who Are You?’

The Solution: Rediscover Each Other — Without Pressure

If you haven’t had sex for some time, a come-on from your partner can feel very artificial and forced. To sustain a healthy sexual relationship, it helps to reconnect in a non-sexual way, says Christina Steinorth, MFT, a psychotherapist in Santa Barbara, Calif.

“If you haven’t had any kind of quality time together, you’re not going to feel sexual,” Steinorth says. “Schedule in time each week for date night. Not the old dinner and a movie thing, which seems like it’s supposed to be a lead-in to sex, but a shared experience: biking, bowling, something silly. Plan a trip to the farmer’s market and a stop for a cup of coffee every Sunday morning. Whatever it is, stick to it like you stick to the other obligations on your schedule. Let it become a habit, and you’ll feel reconnected, and the desire will just grow from there.”

Once you’re reconnected in this way, a quick sexual encounter may regain its excitement. “When the relationship’s alive like that, the 10-minute ‘let’s sneak off and do it’ quickie works great,” Steinorth says. “It’s like your little secret and helps further build the bond between you. But that bond has to be there in the first place.”

Problem No. 4: You Don’t Like Your Body

The Solution: Focus on What You Do Like

Let’s face it: Many of us have things we’d like to change about our bodies. Maybe you never lost the baby weight, or you’re not happy with how you’ve stopped going to the gym.

“Ultimately, low self-image comes down to not being in love with yourself, and if you don’t love yourself, you’re not going to share yourself with someone else,” Allison says. “Short of therapy for poor self-esteem, you can try finding things about yourself that you do like, and focus on those sexually.”

Or focus on your partner’s body instead of your own. “What do you love about the person you’re with? What about his or her body arouses you?” Allison asks. “Take the focus off your own insecurities about yourself.”

Problem No. 5: Sex Hurts

The Solution: Don’t Suffer in Silence

Sometimes it’s not that you’re not feeling in the mood, it’s that your body isn’t cooperating because sex is actually painful. This can be a big issue for women approaching menopause, and you might be too embarrassed to tell your partner.

“As we age, estrogen levels decrease and this affects a lot of organs, including the vagina,” Horowitz says. “When tissues atrophy and thin out, losing some of their blood supply, intercourse becomes more painful. Some patients describe it as like sandpaper. But there are things you can do about that!”

For many patients, Horowitz prescribes a vaginal estrogen. Vaginal lubricants are also available. There’s also the possibility that you may have a condition of the vagina or vulva that’s causing a problem, which is a key reason to check with your doctor should intercourse become painful. (That’s good advice for guys, too.)

Consult your doctor if sex is painful.

Problem No. 6: You’re Still Not in the Mood

The Solution: Find the Trigger

A dwindling libido may not just be a sign of aging. It may be the sign of another health problem or behavioral issue. For example:

  • Depression, anxiety, and hormonal imbalances can all contribute to sexual dysfunction.
  • In men, the inability to get an erection can be an early warning sign of diabetes or heart disease.
  • Some medications, including antidepressants and blood pressure drugs, can lower your sex drive.
  • Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption can put a damper on sexual response.
  • Too much time on the bike can lead to problems in bed. “Both men and women who are always on their spin bike can have problems with orgasm and arousal, because of the pressure put on the pudendal nerve and artery, decreasing the blood supply to that region,” Horowitz says.

Also, make sure you’re getting enough sleep. Feeling well-rested can help.

No matter what the reason for your diminished desire, getting back on track with your partner sexually is going to take some effort. “Sex takes work and you have to focus on it just like everything in your relationship,” Horowitz says. “There isn’t a magic pill.”

If you try everything and your sexual problems persist, check with a doctor and/or a therapist. Contact Suzann Robins for a FREE consultation to discuss your issues by phone or SKYPE @ 303-428-0968.


How Relationship Counseling Helps

Marriage was meant to be a permanent bond between a man and a woman but unfortunately, many of us face problems in our relationship that can quickly build upon each other. That is why it may be necessary for you to engage in some type of marriage counseling at some point in your relationship. In doing so, you are not only giving yourself the opportunity to have a strong relationship with your mate but you are establishing the building blocks which will help you to get there effectively. What are some of the things that may need discussed during the counseling session?

First of all, it doesn’t matter if you are from Chicago, NYC or anywhere else in the world, all of us tend to face similar problems. Although a lot of people are going to blame it on something specific, such as money problems or intimacy issues, there is usually an underlying issue that needs to be discussed first. That is a lack of communication between a husband and a wife. It doesn’t matter what types of problems you’re currently having it can often be traced back to a lack of communication between the two of you. That is one of the things that can be built up with marriage or couples counseling and it is something that can follow you for the rest of your life to your benefit.

The timing of the counseling that is done is also of importance. For example, if you wait until the marriage is at its breaking point it, quite obviously, is going to take more work on your part in order to mend things properly. Believe it or not, many people engage in couples counseling before they are ever married. This has nothing to do with the status of their relationship, as many of those individuals are still wearing the rose colored glasses that we tend to have on when we are in that situation. They are not there to correct any issues that are wrong at the time, but they are there to establish their relationship in the way that will help them to deal with those problems as they arise.

There may also be something specific that is necessary which can be discussed between the two individuals in the relationship. One of the more difficult ones to approach for many people who are married is the subject of intimacy. All of us have different needs and it is important to make sure that we’re looking at those needs in their proper perspective. Unfortunately, we live in a world that tends to foster an unrealistic idealism when it comes to intimacy. That is where couples counseling can be effective, as they can assist you in recognizing any difficulties that do exist and seeing how they can be approached in a reasonable manner.

Regardless of the difficulties you may be facing or even if you are currently facing no difficulties at all, counseling can assist you in growing a stronger and longer lasting relationship.

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Intimacy in Marriage – 5 Tips for Spicing Things Up In Your Bedroom

One way to strengthen a marriage relationship is to build or rebuild intimacy. There are several forms of intimacy – sexual, emotional, intellectual, and the spiritual. This article is going to deal with sexual intimacy and how healthy activity in the bedroom can help safeguard your marriage.

The most exciting place, perhaps, in nurturing marital intimacy is the bedroom. The bedroom can be a place of solitude and comfort as a couple experiences intimacy together. It helps strengthen the bond between a couple and can be a good gauge for how solid a marriage is.

Here are 5 tips for spicing up the bedroom and enhancing sexual intimacy:

    1. 1. Introduce creative changes to your sexual routines. You may want to try a new position or a surprise that will take out the monotony, prevent dullness and ignite the flames of romance. You may also want to create a stimulating environment in the bedroom that will help create a desire to engage in passionate lovemaking.
    1. 2. Recognize and appreciate the value of foreplay. Many couples go straight for intercourse which contributes to a sense of routine. Exploring how foreplay can build intimacy and lead to a more passionate lovemaking will do wonders for your time together in the bedroom. Kissing, hugging, touching each other can lead to a better orgasmic pleasure.
3. Climax together. This is a bit tricky, but with practice it can be done. When done properly it can enhance your sense of intimacy a thousand fold. As you experience climax at the same time, you develop a sense of closeness that is extremely unique. You must learn how to accept the difference between the male and female when it comes to orgasm and make them work to your advantage.
4. Use some tools to heighten sexual intimacy. In Christian circles sex is taboo and we often get the idea that sex shouldn’t involve things like vibrators or creams. But these tools aren’t sinful and they can help enhance pleasure and closeness as you learn to become more vulnerable with each other. Exploring what feels good and being able to communicate that, does wonders for healthy intimacy in the bedroom.
5.Take advantage of the power of touch to build physical intimacy. Taking extra time for good personal hygiene, for setting the mood and for playful exploration by way of touch will create a powerful connection that leads to more pleasure and a more gratifying sexual experience. There are many ways to use touch to build physical intimacy.

These five tips for spicing up things in your bedroom will help build and nurture intimacy in your marriage and enhance a sense of affection and familiarity. Remember that healthy intimacy takes hard work, but if you break down that work into small achievable goals it will be easier to accomplish. These tips will help you grow together as a couple which is super important for healthy intimacy in marriages. Growing together keeps you focused on your relationship and on the marriage rather than your selfish desires.

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Having a Good Sex Life is Essential – Intimacy Tips For Couples

Sex life may be compromise the older we grow, as we have more responsibilities like work, taking care of business, hanging out with friends and acquaintances. Busy schedules make it easy to forget the need for regular sex. It should be remembered that sexual health is part of health as well. Having a great sex life should not be difficult but of course there is work to do.

First and foremost, communicate about your desires come first. There is no great sex without mutual understanding. Talk to your partner about the frequency of sex, what each other think about the quality of sex, what you like and do not like about the current sex life, and most importantly what kind of changes both parties would like to see. Try to hold this sort of meeting regularly, like monthly or weekly. This can be done on the coffee table or in bed. Communication about your sex life is the first and most important step and cannot be skipped.

Next is to plan time for sex. If you have a great body and are energetic throughout the day, you can probably have great sex anytime you liked. However, for most of us mortals that is not the case, sadly. Therefore, plan to have great sex. If workdays really cannot work for it, you would have to take it to he weekends. Planning for sex also means planning for everything before sex; a romantic time together, followed by good conversation, and then foreplay and then sex

Last but not least, mind the mindset about sex. As with most conservative societies, sex is considered a “dirty” topic. If you or your partner feels that sex is bad or dirty, then you are never going to enjoy sex. It is crucial to face sex as it is. Sex is a simple requirement of life, such as necessary as water, food and sleep. Having a conservative and “closed” society throws sex into “dirty”. Hence, know your mindset and that of your partner to make sure both of you don’t have the wrong mindset about sex.

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The Fine Line

Lately, I have been exploring the intersection of pain and pleasure. Not feeling well brings pain that I try to experience as pleasure by telling myself that I am perfect, whole and complete. I love myself, just the way I am – even if I am in pain. But it is not that easy. Saying I accept the pain, doesn’t make it go away. When my whole body aches, it is difficult to pretend that it doesn’t. When I have no energy, it is hard to do anything.

When I am in Yoga class, the pain is excruciating.

On the other hand, when I am making love, there is no pain. Pleasure takes over my body in a way that escapes me when I am standing or sitting or even trying to go to sleep. My pain is often worse when I am lying still attempting to relax. But it doesn’t hurt when I am having energetic sex. Why? My guess is that when my lover and I are being sexual, I am out of my mind and out of my body as well. I drift to a place of pure pleasure. It is like floating on a sea of tranquility and I want to stay there forever. I want to move there permanently and never come back to this body that is causing me so much trouble, and certainly I don’t want to go back to my negative mind, which blames me for all of the discomfort as if “I” didn’t think the right thoughts or say the right words.

It is hard being uncomfortable in my body after working for so many years on loving myself and accepting everything as perfect. Affirming that everything is in divine order,    perfectly unfolding just as it is, doesn’t work anymore The pain is NOT perfect, it hurts, and then some days, unexpectedly, it goes away. I am OK for a while, I get a few things accomplished, and then it returns again. I try to rest but that doesn’t work when my body is uncomfortable.

And then the opportunity to make love comes again, and suddenly nothing hurts. I am in bliss when I am being stroked and caressed, kissed and nuzzled (I could get more graphic here, but my love life is not the point of this blog). The point is: where does the pain go? When it is not with me, does it haunt someone else? Can pain be shared like  pleasure? Why does it seem to own me when it steals my days and/or nights? Do we own our pain? Can we control it? Is everyone’s pain the same?

I don’t know the answer to these questions; I only know my own experiences of pain and of pleasure. I’d love to hear your comments. What is your experience of pain? Of pleasure? Do you also have a fine line that can be easily crossed simply by stopping your thoughts and moving from one idea to another. Is the relief of pain really simple?

If it is, then why is it so hard to shift sometimes and not others? And why does it return so easily? I don’t want to be in pain. I want to be in pleasure and stay there all of the time. But then, how do I get anything else done?

The buzz about what is going to happen in 2012

The buzz about what is going to happen in 2012 reminds me of the split between mind and body. Is this a political question or a metaphysical one? For some of us who are caught up in politics, the outcome of this election will have a major impact if the democrats or republicans win. Others of us look forward to the ascension, or fear destruction, as the world as we know it ends.

We never actually know what is going to happen next, no matter how much we plan and prepare. When we take a vacation, we trace our route and say we want to be at one place on this date and another on that date. Mostly it works, but sometimes there are unexpected turns in the road and magnificent things to see and do that were not planned. Other times mistakes are made and we have to retrace our route, or we lose “time” because we lock the keys in the car, or we sleep poorly because we picked the wrong motel.

When we go to work day after day, mostly we know what to expect and it can be exciting when something different occurs. Sometimes the phone suddenly rings and everything we planned to do changes. Other time it is the same ole, same old. One never knows. However, we continue to have expectations and to set our intentions about how we want something to work. If we can live in the mystery of not knowing what is around the next corner, we can always be excited and surprised by what happens. When we have expectations, we are often disappointed.

Which way would you rather live? In disappointment or surprise and excitement? I am one of those people who don’t like surprises, but I don’t like to be disappointed either, so what is a girl to do? I like setting my intentions and then love with my arms wide open, letting happen whatever happens and surrendering to the moment. This is not always easy, but I have had some health problems lately that has left me not knowing what is going to happen next. I am learning to live in the mystery and allowing myself to be pleased with whatever is the outcome. This has have forced me to slow down and take what comes. It is a hard lesson. My body and mind are not in agreement. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak, and other times my whole self says, “Let’s go!” Yet I don’t have an ounce of energy to follow through.

Sexuality and Spirituality

We are born sexual beings. Some say we are also spiritual beings having a physical experience. Others say they don’t believe in spirituality. What do we mean when we talk about spirit?

For me, both sex and spirit are like electricity. I don’t know how they work, but I sure like the power they produce. This is also true for the type of intimacy I find in various relationships. When I experience healthy communication that leads to intimacy, it is powerful. When I experience spirituality, it is the spirit of enthusiasm; the joy and exhilaration that comes from knowing I am in the right place at the right time for the highest good of all concerned.

For some, sex is a casual experience that occurs randomly in a chaotic universe. For others, it is a life long commitment to one person who honors the body as “the temple of the Holy Spirit.” At least that is what I was taught: find a mate similar to yourself, get married, make babies, and live happily ever after. My parents did that (although they didn’t look too happy to us six kids, especially after 50 years).  I tried it and my marriage lasted almost 25 years. When I thought about the next 25 years (I am likely to live to be 75), I began to make different choices.

The first thing I did was to join an Intentional Community Harbin Hot Springs in Northern California just happened to be clothing optional, it was also Heart Consciousness Church. The land and water were old Native American healing grounds. We honored the physical body as the spirit of the land. Sex was  readily available, but there was little intimacy as I now understand it. While living there I began thinking of writing a book about various kinds of intimate relationships, and what I now think about as the “Energetics of Sex and Sexuality.”

Sexuality, to me, is our identity as male and/or female. It encompasses the gender roles we all play.

Sex is what we do when we raise our energy and unite with another person for the purpose of procreation and pleasure. I believe sex is intended to be pleasurable; right? Or is it only to make babies as many of us were taught?

Today’s social climate shouts, “Sex is for Fun and Good for Everyone.” But where is the intimacy? And what about the spiritual component of sex? 

The book I eventually completed talks about INTO-ME-SEE. It teaches that self-love and self-pleasuring are as important as cultivating healthy relationships on every level of our lives. Exploring Intimacy addresses the roles of insight and intuition as we learn to love ourselves, which we must do before we can offer love to any one else.

Exploring Intimacy provides several methods for achieving an Integrated Self, and looks at how gender roles have evolved over the years. 

The book explores the scientific component of the vital life force or libido that is alive and active in all of our relationships, as well as during a sexual encounter. It explains the meaning of Kundalini and the Path of Manifestation as well as the Path of Liberation. I hope you will check it out (ask for it at your local library, that is a great way to support an author, and also makes it available for others in the future).

All of life has a sexual component – from when we are born until we die. What we do with our vital life force determines our exploration and eventual integration of sex and spirit, our sexuality and our spirituality.

Keys to Healthy Relationships

I found this article interesting and had to share it with you:

Everyone in the world is in a kind of relationship. Whether it is with a significant other, friend or family, relationships will always be a part of an individual. As stated in the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, love and belongingness or being in a relationship with other people is vital in a person’s life. Needless to say, it is essential to keep healthy relationships.

But how does an individual keep his relationship healthy? There are definitely many ways to make one’s associations with his fellow men beneficial.

When it comes to family, it is important to spend time together. Little gatherings such as dinner meals will make the members closer. They can get to share stories, talk about various topics, and probably even deal with misunderstandings too. If the children already have their own families, regular get-togethers could still be done to keep the bonds as tight as possible. Besides, these will present opportunities for the different generations to know more about one another.

Relatives, especially the immediate ones, need to maintain healthy connections as well. Although gathering more people in one place at the same is harder, it will certainly be worth it. Just imagine the fun and laughter everybody will have, particularly with the ‘big’ clans.

There are many occasions, such as during the Christmas season, which the family could celebrate together.

Another crucial type of relationship a person has to keep healthy is the ones with friends. An individual will meet countless of people in his lifetime, and many of these would be long-time or close friends. Just like family, friends ought to spend time together.

As most would come from different backgrounds or walks of life, it really would be nice to relate with unique personalities who have distinct life stories.

In addition to the stories (and gossip) to be shared, friends are great to have in times of need. Since a lot of folks live away from home and their families, they usually would have friends as their nearest of kin. Friends are the ones whom people can cry on or communicate their problems with. Of course, a person has to associate himself with genuine individuals.

The last key relationship to strengthen is with a significant other. This is probably the relationship that most people work on in their lives.

Two of the most indispensable values individuals in a romantic relationship must have are love and respect. For this kind of union to work, it has to breathe on true love. It cannot simply operate on things such as money and lust. People need to have sincere affection towards each another.

Respect is the other quality they should have. Each of the party involved ought to have respect to the other individual as a person.

It is also vital to have an open communication with each other. If there are problems or disagreements, these should be talked about as soon as possible.

As the saying “no man is an island” goes, it denotes that every individual is compelled to have relationships to live. And to make everyday living a whole lot better, people simply need to keep healthy relationships.

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