There has been discussions on the mommyblog-o-sphere lately about how much sex couples are (or are not) having and about wanting to have more sex. Having been through some dry spells myself, I know that it can be hard to get in the mood. I'm happy to say that mostly, Londo and I have had a very active and fantastic sex life. But I really believe it is because we work on it in different ways.
I happen to have given a lot of thought to the matter of getting in the mood in order to increase the amount of sex one has. (And even though Londo rolled his eyes at me when I told him I was going to write this) I'm gonna share some thoughts on this matter with the world at large.
Early Prep Work
I find it can be very hard to go go go all day long (be it with work, keeping up with the house, taking care of kids, whatever it is you are doing), and then feel like you have to flip a switch and be in the mood for sex. I don't think this is easy for most women. It's much easier to go go go and then fall into bed exhausted without once thinking of sex. But sex is a healthy part of a relationship and should not be overlooked. It should be enjoyed regularly. With some early prep work throughout the day or even a bit before you spend time with your partner can really help.
For me, the more I think romantic thoughts throughout the day, the more likely I am to want to be romantic in the evening. These aren't always thoughts about actual sex, but often I think about wonderful things my husband has done recently or in the past. From doing the dishes the previous night to our first date, I let my mind drift while doing dishes or driving in the car. Of course, thinking about how great it was the last time we made love while I'm taking an evening shower after putting the baby to bed is sometimes the perfect transition so I can walk out of the bathroom and get right into bed with hubby. The whole point is not to get caught up in the go go go (apparently I love this phrase) of everyday life and feel like you have to flip that switch once everything is done and you are ready to go to sleep.
Another way to help think romantic thoughts is to read romance novels. Now, you all know I'm a big reader and I love all sorts of books. But I especially love romance novels. They always have a happy ending and the stories are based on people falling in love. Is there anything more feel good than that? I am picky about my romance novels, as I am with all books. It has to have a good story, interesting characters, and be well written. There really are good novels out there that happen to be romance novels. I'm happy to recommend some if anyone is interested. For me, I don't need them to be trashy and full of sex scenes. The whole aspect of falling in love makes me think of when I was first falling in love with my husband and that makes me feel romantic in general. BTW, I read somewhere that women who read romance novels have 52% more sex than women who don't. I don't know how the research was done, but I like to believe it's true. :-)
Besides thinking and reading, I believe another important aspect for women is to be touch in romantic ways. I know a lot of people swear by massages, and those are a great way to work yourself into being touched romantically. Londo and I realized years ago that if he just rubs my arms or kisses my neck a random points throughout the day or evening, with NO EXPECTATIONS of anything, I tend to loosen up more. There are times it leads to something right away, but in general if there is the expectation or even if I think he's trying to "talk me into it," I'm more likely to shrug him off and get frustrated. But if he is just wrapping his arms around me and kissing my neck because he likes to hold me and kiss me, I melt like butter. And the more we touch each other sweetly just for the sake of it, the more likely I am to feel romantic and want to express my romantic feelings.
In my opinion, those are the first steps to getting yourself back in the mood for love. They don't always work right away. It may take days of your partner hugging and kissing you with no expectations for anything more before you start feeling like doing more.
Setting the Stage
Whether or not you've done some early prep work, it may be a good idea to set the stage for being romantic. The most important aspect of this step is to know what works for you. For example, if you are most comfortable in your own bed with a couple candles lit and sexy music playing, then for goodness sake, light the candles and put on the music! If you are an adventurous person, why not sneak into the family room and clear off the sofa or throw a blanket on the floor or get into the the shower. Also, don't be afraid to try things outside of what you normally do to find new things that work for you. But don't just turn off the lights and get into bed and try to suddenly feel romantic. Take the time for you or your parnter to set things up so you both feel more romantic and in the mood.
Just Do It
As someone on Ask Moxie pointed out the other day, sex begets sex. In the parenting world, you often hear that sleep begets sleep for kids. In the same way, once you start having more sex, you will want more sex. It has something to do with the endorphins that are released during sex. If you start having sex more regularly, your body gets used to the endorphines that are released and starts craving more of the endorphines.
So even if you don't feel in the mood, try just going for it anyway. Then do it again within the next couple of days. Pretty soon, you will (hopefully) find yourself really looking forward to the next time!
Most importantly, enjoy yourself! Be fully present in the moment. Don't start thinking about all the things you still have to do or about how you could be sleep instead. Shake those thoughts and really focus on what you are doing and what you like and what your partner likes.
Be sure to communicate what you like and don't like. I have some friends who just go through the motions or put up with some stuff because they don't want to talk to their partners about sex. IMO, your partners want to do what you like and they want you to enjoy it. And unfortunately, they can't read minds or always read nonverbal cues. So just tell them. I think it's best to start the conversation when you are not in the middle of it. In fact, having a conversation with your partner about how you want to have more sex and here's some things you want to try is a great time to also say what you really like. It can be embarrassing, but I'm sure that your partner will be receptive, especially if it could lead to more sex for them! But on the flip side, listen to what they like and go ahead and do the thing they love but you don't really like. Focus on how much your partner is enjoying what you are doing, because (IMO) it feels good to make your partner happy.
I feel like none of these are ground-breaking ideas, but hopefully my ideas will help some people. I know doing all this thinking about it has been good for me. Maybe I'll put the baby to bed early tonight...