How To Have Lust That Lasts: The Solutions (Part 2)
It's a depressing but inevitable reality that the lovely sexed-up beginning bit of relationships - 'the honeymoon' - has to end.
There's a reason why we don't stay bathed in those delicious infatuation chemicals: it's emotionally and physically impossible to sustain long-term.
'It's the body's innate wisdom to turn down the volume because it cannot maintain the lust-crazed state forever or people would eventually collapse with exhaustion', says world famous neurologist and brain-imaging expert Daniel Amen, somewhat shrewdly.
Infatuation can last anything from 6 months to 2 years but despite wearing us out, when it does make it's inevitable exit, few of us are happy to say a fond farewell.
Lots of people assume once the intensity and euphoria drops off, it's a sign they're not in love anymore.
Not true. It's just your brain changing gears so it can release the 'cuddle chemicals', which is when 'true' love really begins.
Part 1 of this two-part blog talked about the reasons why lust naturally fades. Part 2 is the good bit - all the things you can do to trick Mother Nature.
HOW TO MAKE LUST LAST
- Stop trying to live up to society's idea of the ideal sex life and instead focus on what turns you and your partner on and experiment with that.
- Look and act shaggable and drop the 'You should love me no matter what' attitude. They probably still do love you when you're sprawled on the floor in front of the telly, cutting your toe-nails with one hand and exploring one nostril with the other. Whether they'll suddenly get hard or wet is another thing.
- Fantasise and stop stressing about it. Physically having sex with your partner and mentally having it with someone completely different isn't wrong, it's what's going to stop you straying.
- Stop being sex robots. When you've been with someone a long time, you develop a 'sexual shorthand'. You know exactly what to do to get them off and they do you. Because it works and it's easy, you then so rarely stray from that path, your bodies know how to do it all by themselves. Effective, yes. When you're both tired or time deprived, appreciated. Exciting long-term, hell no.
- One of the quickest ways to make sex more exciting is simply to change location. The most familiar touch in the world feels wanton and wicked when a hand sneaks under the tablecloth in a restaurant to snake its way up our thighs. A mild petting session spirals to sizzling hot if it's done in the back of a cab. Ditto the position you've done countless times when it's on the bonnet of your car in the garage.
- Trade-offs don't always work. Promise to do it their way (their favourite way of having sex) one time, and yours another and you risk feeling resentful when it's not your turn - and getting a lacklustre, lukewarm response from them when it's yours. Compromise but try to find middle ground or at least blend 'turns' into the same session.
- Don't fall for the clichés. Lose the idea that singles sex is raunchy and rampant and married sex is loving and affectionate. If either of you hear the words 'Let's make love' come out of your mouth, go and wash it out with soap. Better still, fill it with gallons of wine and get so roaringly drunk, you scream 'For God's sake, fuck me!' at the top of your lungs. Don't feel guilty if you want to get nasty.
- Also lose the idea that it's disrespectful to do or suggest doing filthy things to your long-term partner. Granted, there's an art to suggesting it without offending but don't let that put you off. So many people let go and indulge in wonderfully naughty sex with strangers but stay prudish and proper with their partners.
- Perfect your technique and work out physically what you each need but remember desire starts in the brain. It's important to connect before and after sex as it is during it.
- Don't be scared to add outside stimulation. If porn's not your thing, written erotica might be. Dip into an classic D.H. Lawrence or try some of the new erotic fiction like Maestro, Lemon Tree Grove, Hausfrau.
IF YOU'VE STOPPED HAVING REGULAR SEX:
- If your relationship has changed from lovers to friends, make a pact to become sex partners again. Rule out any health or emotional problems that might be interfering: medication (anti-depressants?), anger in the relationship, painful intercourse, erection issues. If you need to seek professional help, do it. Did you both just fall into complacency or did something happen to stop you regularly having sex?
- Decide on obvious 'I'm up for it' signals. If you're a touchy, feely couple and also ultra-considerate (She's tired, bless her. I'll just massage her shoulders and see if it leads to anything), it's easy to miss each other's tentative little sexual overtures. Work out some that are so obvious even the cat knows what's on the agenda for the evening.
- Start sending those signals. You have to have sex to want sex. One of the best ways to break out of a sex rut is to just close your eyes and go for it even if you seriously, seriously couldn't think of anything worse. Act on a mere flicker of desire.
- Get over the idea that you're both somehow going to be instantly aroused just by looking at each other. That happens at the very, very start. It's not going to happen when you've already done it to the same person and body 20,000 times. Pounce on every opportunity - most particularly his morning erection.
- While we're on the topic of erections, you both also need to give up on the idea that he's going to get an instant erection every time he so much as thinks about sex. Again, that's how things worked at the start - like when you were 18 - not 28 and over. Lots of men need to be physically stimulated before an erection appears, it may not just happen automatically.
- Introduce some quickies. If you make yourselves have sex three times a week for five minutes each time, it will kickstart your libido.
- Consider getting professional help. Wait for desire to kick in. If you haven't had sex for a while, doing it again will feel weird. But you should start to feel some type of connection after about a month if you're seriously trying a few new things, talking honestly about it and doing it on a regular basis. If after all this, you're both still nonplussed, you might like to consider seeing a sex therapist. It sounds drastic but hit a good one and you'll be making whoopee like you never dreamed possible in no time at all! Find one at itsgoodtotalk.org.uk or relate.org.uk or cosrt.org. uk.