In a relationship intimacy is so vastly different for each couple, but there are a few similarities with the lovebirds who have gotten into a great groove.
I reached out to my AD8BYK8 community to find out the details of the most intimate space in their homes – the bedroom. Here's what I've learned from over thirty couples (it was an anonymous survey, so all of the names have been made up).
I also heard from Amanda Rassam, a Master NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) Practitioner Coach with a specialty in relationships, intimacy, and sexuality. She has a double major in psychology and communications, and a background in sex research with the University of Ottawa.
THE STRUGGLE IS REAL
When I asked my couples how often they checked in with their partners to ensure they were emotionally, physically, and mentally doing well with their sex lives, 52% said they've talked in the last week, 36% said it was a couple of months ago, and 8% said they often don't chat about it. What implications can waiting this long have?
Rassam added, "Whatever you resist, persists; the longer you wait to deal with a problem, the bigger and bigger it gets. In other words, it won't get any easier by ignoring it."
Another thing she noted was that talking for the sake of talking, isn't going to lead to a better sex life. For example, complaining that your partner doesn't know how to make you cum (as if it's their job to figure out the inner workings of your bits) isn't productive. For the love of orgasms, please don't hang out in your own pity party. Trust me, I fall victim to this at times as well.
No one can read minds, and we are in full control of either having a lackluster sex life, or a fantastic one! Rassam gave a great reminder that we should aim to have intentional conversations, and try to figure solutions or devise a plan of action.
What if you spent a few nights in a separate bed, each exploring your own body, and then jot down your favourite tips? If you're falling short with where to start, there's an amazing site called omgyes.com; here you can follow a bunch of different techniques (and boy there are a lot) to see which ones work for you. Lastly, you could spend an entire evening in bed with the agreement that neither of you are going to climax at all. Imagine that – a night with no ending and just oodles of play?
Throughout my survey responses, there were certain universal struggles that came up inhibiting a great sex life, and these included: a lack of libido, long days at work, body image, mental health issues, an upcoming wedding (we all know these can be stressful). Did I forget kids? Jesse & Evan said they were contemplating putting a lock on their bedroom door in order to get some alone time!
How about if your partner doesn't initiate, and it's always you making the first move? Or you're afraid not to offend the other person, or admit your truths?
Sometimes, it's through a third-party leading the conversation. A Date by Kate is on a mission to normalize coaching, counselling, or therapy. John Lennon's tune popped into my head, "Oh, I get by with a little help from my friends." Or, we get by with a little help from our life & love coach... eh?
"With relationship coaching, it’s important that both partners in the relationship are involved. People communicate and process information very differently, and may not even have a great relationship with themselves," Rassam pointed out.
Speaking of thy self, a huge congrats to Sheri who finally came out, and commented that her sex life is now amazing. "Jasmine is the first woman I've slept with, and it's, wow! I can't believe it took me 35 years to experience good sex, but it was worth the wait," she shared.
I wanted to find out how conversations get rolling for couples, and if they tell their partner all of the things they like and dislike.
Steve said, "With my new partner I do, and it's awesome. I don't think there's anything I haven't told her (although I'm not that freaky)."
One couple who is into kink said, "it's important that we communicate as frequently and clearly as possible. Sometimes the conversation starts when someone finds some new porn they're interested in, other times one of us asks if we can try something new. That always leads to a lot of conversation about what we do and don't enjoy in the moment, and some debrief after."
I turned to Rassam to find out how she felt about places like the Adult Fun Superstore, and watching porn.
To a place like AFS, she added, "I think they're magnificent; keeping in mind that it always depends on the couple themselves. These stores provide people with an opportunity to let down their guard and have an active imagination – how can you know until you try?"
With regards to porn Rassam advised that if you have reservations about the way the industry treats women, it's important to tune into this. With such a heavy topic, we'll just leave it to say much more dialogue needs to happen about the safety and sexualization we place onto women in the porn industry.
Porn is not a reflection of a typical sex life, and this needs to be remembered.
"The sexual scripts we take from porn, can be incredibly destructive if we believe that's the only way that sex can exist," Rassam pointed out.
For example, someone might fantasize about being tied up, but in reality this makes them feel objectified or uncomfortable. She added, "The things we sometimes find taboo, are ones we want to try and live out in our own bedrooms. We could very quickly discover though, that this particular fantasy is not enjoyable. This is where the porn industry can hold space for people. As long as you can look at it and go, "that is just a movie," you can use porn as a gateway to conversing about your own sex life and comfort levels."
Sara said that the most helpful thing in her sex life with a partner of 7-years was to take the time to evaluate what she found pleasurable and really liked in bed in order to be able to more effectively communicate that to her partner.
In a separate bedroom, Charlie admitted she's asexual, "and it's been a roller coaster figuring out what that means for us, but my partner and I are very open about communication. We try to fit what we can around our (my) schedule and we work in some 'spicier' fun to keep things interesting."
MAINTAINING THAT SPARK
Many pairs opted to the written language (texting) to share what's on their mind.
Rachel admitted, "it sounds silly, but when we were too shy to say things in person, we sexted on the nights we were apart. It kind of got all the butterflies out of the way in the beginning."
Define sext: to send suggestive messages back and forth.
50 Sexting examples: https://bit.ly/2odBYG0
Raunchy stories are a little bit different, and way more descriptive. Here you could describe your surroundings and the lead up to a sexy moment, or you could walk your partner through all of the thoughts running through your mind while playing with yourself.
Carlos & Sophia have been together for the last 23 years and are intimate 2x per week on average. Their secret is that, "we keep it real by sometimes it being a quickie and sometimes (whenever one person desires) it be a full drawn out ordeal. We're also not afraid to add new lingerie or toys periodically, and are very open to learning and exploring." What's your quickie vs. lengthy ratio?
For those with kids, Joe & Darlene have a date night at home every other week. We pay so much to live between four walls – what if we started to view our homes as a top contending date spot?
Here are a few ideas: Let your kids stay up late, as long as they don't come out of their rooms. Make sneaking around the house fun. What's the worst that could happen if you get caught? "Oops, we just bumped into each other getting out of the shower." It's how your kids were made in the first place. ;)
In all of these answers, I liked reading that one couple finds something to laugh about. It's so true! If you make the time to reconnect and have a good laugh – this usually brings about a better mood, more flirting, and can lead to sexier times in the bedroom.
1. Pick a specific commercial and whenever it comes on, run to bed and have sex.
2. Rassam suggests reading the Five Love Languages together. We all give and receive love so differently. For example: how we like to give love, is not always how we like to receive love; then our partner has their own set of favourite ways to do things as well. This book is about figuring out how two people can both feel content, and full of love. This also applies to how we interact with friends and family too.
3. Turn off your phones, and sit on your bed for ONE full hour. It's like an island of love, only you have these FIVE questions to answer in order to get back to land:
- What do I love most about my own body, and my partners body?
- What is important to me about sex, and pleasure?
- What’s preventing me from getting more intimate in my life right now, and what action steps do I need to take to overcome that right now?
- Is there anything on my bucket list that needs to be accomplished before I can move onto a new phase in life? Together, and separately.
- What is my greatest fantasy?
I'm going to publish a few more activities in the coming months. They'll be exclusive to my newsletter list at adatebykate.com. Sign up if you'd like to receive them!
And lastly, if you'd like to meet as a couple with Amanda Rassam, you can find her here:
P.S. If you share this original blog post, or sign up for my newsletter, you'll be entered to win an Adult Fun Superstore giveaway. One lucky couple will be able to go there and choose a We-Vibe of their choice, a near $200 value. I'll also add in a subscription to omgyes for you to check out! The draw will be on August 1, 2018 and the store is located at 1565 St. Laurent Blvd. in Ottawa, Ontario.
The beauty of sex is that it's the most intimate, raw, and vulnerable you will be with someone; it can be incredibly freeing by exploring that together. Magic happens when both are willing to play at 100%. – Amanda Rassam