Could a sex contract save your sex life?

“I promise to have sex with you once a week and come up with something new to try at least twice a month. In return, you promise to kiss me more, spend more time on foreplay and give me lots of compliments in bed.”

As far as New Year’s resolutions go, making a formal contract to improve your sex life sounds pretty out there.

Would YOU sign on the dotted line if your partner asked you to sign a sex contract?

If you’re like most couples, your knee-jerk reaction is a grimace of disgust along with the usual cry of “But sex should be spontaneous!”

In an ideal world, it would be.

Sadly, desire naturally falls over time and the routine of real life tends to take over.

Sex – nearly always last on the daily ‘to do’ list – inevitably gets pushed onto the ‘do tomorrow instead’ list. And again the next day.

Which is why getting couples to sign a ‘sex contract’ is a remarkably effective way to get things back on track if you’re having a few wobbles with your love life.

No matter which statistic or study you choose to quote, planning is a central element to success in almost all projects.

Here’s why sex contracts work:

It shows commitment. Commitment to the contract is commitment to each other.

It keeps you focused. Because you have to write things down, it forces you to think in specifics.

It makes things real. You can’t wriggle out of your promises to each other because they’re in front of you in black and white.

It’s reassuring. Having a plan to solve whatever problems you’re struggling with is comforting. Something’s being done; there is a solution.

You can chart your progress. This gives you incentive to keep going.

Sex contracts often lead to other good things. Agreements like this often transform over time into lists of what each of you would love to try – or enjoyed immensely. Just as we’re likely to forget favourite restaurants, we forget sexual treats. Having a written reminder ensures you won’t.

How to formulate a sex contract:

Analyse: Both independently write down what you (honestly) think about your sex life. What do you enjoy? What don’t you? What part do you like the most? The least? Do you think you know your partner’s sexual needs and wants? Do they know yours? Don’t worry if you both feel a bit prickly when reading what the other’s written: any criticism is hard to take initially. Just remember you’re a team and nothing is one person’s fault.

Action: Using the first list as a springboard, make a list of what you’d like to change or improve. How often do you want sex? Are you happy with where, how, how long you have sex for? Do you want more kissing, touching, foreplay? Focus on what you love and want more of, as well as what’s missing. Start with 10 things you love already and 10 things you’d love to try. Again, you’ll feel a bit silly writing all this down, but once you get started, it’s incredibly liberating!

Negotiate: From these lists, you’ll get a good idea of what you’re aiming for with frequency, variety, changes you want to make and new things you’d like to try. Roughly divide them into realistic lists of what you could accomplish per week or fortnight.

The contract: It takes six weeks to make a change permanent, so make that the minimum term. Then write your contract, keeping it simple but specific. Something like: I agree to spend the next six weeks focusing on our sex life and exploring ways to make it even better. I agree to have sex X times per week for X amount of time. I agree to try X number of new things over the next month and nothing but an emergency will stop me honouring this promise.

Both sign on the dotted line and shake (or snog) on it!

In six weeks time, you’ll realise spontaneity was sacrificed for good reason. Not only should you end up with a clear idea of where, how and why your partner likes to be touched and what they’d be up for in the future, they’ll know the same about you. Add to that a host of new positions and techniques and you can see why contracts are heartily recommended by many sex therapists.

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