Mismatched libidos, recurring arguments that make you feel like you’re on a hamster wheel of unhappiness, feeling like you’re always the one to initiate sex…these are common problems that the average couple struggle with.
Happily, there are simple but effective techniques that can sort these issues – for good.
All these techniques are therapist approved and all can be used to solve a multitude of problems. All you need is your phone, some fridge magnets – and maybe a jam jar.
TO SOLVE RECURRING ARGUMENTS: THE FIVE MINUTE CLOCK
If you find your arguments seem to go round and round in circles with neither of you really listening to the other, this simple solution can make all the difference. All you need is the timer on your phone and a quiet place to talk.
The next time you argue, instead of both talking over each other, set the timer for five minutes and try this.
One of you gets to speak while the other stays completely silent and listens intently, trying as much as possible not to react emotionally to what’s being said. When the five minutes is up, the listener repeats back what they think they’ve just been told.
This ensures you actually do listen, rather than spend the time planning what you’re going to say when it’s your turn!
Repeating it back also ensures you really have understood what your partner was trying to say, rather than what you think you heard.
We all use the same words to mean different things and if you got it wrong, they get the chance to set you right.
Keep going until both of you are totally satisfied you got the message then the other person gets a turn.
Keep going back and forth in five-minute blocks until you find some sort of solution.
Keep in mind though, sometimes there is no solution to a problem other than to agree to disagree and allow each other to be individuals.
TO SOLVE MISMATCHED LIBIDOS: THE MAGNET METHOD
If your problem is more a sex frequency mismatch, this works a treat.
The main aim is to stop the ‘Do they/Don’t they want sex?’ daily dilemma which has both of you circling each other, sniffing the air for clues.
It requires zero effort and it’s great for couples that don’t feel comfortable discussing their sexual needs.
You need two fridge magnets, easily distinguishable from each other.
Each of you claim a magnet then move it once a day depending on if you do or don’t feel like sex.
If the magnet is close to the top of the fridge, it means you’re extremely interested; if it’s at the bottom, you’d rather be cutting your toenails.
There’s a temptation for the high sex person to leave their magnet at the top of the fridge permanently and the low-desire person to weld theirs to the bottom but you’re actually better off doing the opposite.
If both of you try to resist your ‘natural’ inclination and deliberately hover in neutral territory (the middle of the fridge), you might find an interesting pattern emerges.
The low-desire person – albeit nervously and tentatively – (finally) gets to be the first to instigate sex by inching their magnet above the always-up-for-it person, experiencing a hypnotic twinge of sexual power.
The high desire person (finally) gets the equally exquisite glory of being seduced.
Some couples keep the magnets on the fridge forever, others find after a few months it’s removed the pressure to the point they’re happy verbalising their needs.
TO SOLVE ARGUMENTS OVER INITIATING SEX: THE I’M-IN-CHARGE LIBIDO BOOSTER
If you’re arguing over who does or doesn’t initiate sex, try this program (for the person who doesn’t initiate).
During the program, your partner remains passive when you initiate sexual contact.
Make it clear they’re not to take it further: simply accept and enjoy what you’re doing to them. It’s important you spell this out or they’ll take over and you’re back to square one!
They also need to give you permission to stop when you want.
Lots of low libido people are too scared to start something, in case they don’t want to follow through, so avoid even kissing their partner because they know they’ll be badgered for sex when all they fancied was a cuddle.
The idea is to get you to relish being the one in control rather than lying back and relying on them to do everything for you.
Initiation sessions don’t need to be long or include intercourse or an orgasm for one or both of you – just involve something sexy.
You might start by giving a sexy shoulder massage. Another time might involve kissing and touching through their clothes. A third session might revolve around oral sex.
The aim is for you to get used to initiating any type of sexual contact, without it having to lead to a full sex session, so you’ll initiate more often.
TO SOLVE A SEX RUT: A LUSTY LUCKY DIP
I’ve used this technique successfully on lots of long-term couples who want to add variety but don’t know where to start.
It works well because while it does involve the dreaded ‘P’ word (planning), once you’ve done the initial exercise, it’s spontaneous sex from that point on. Ready? Both write down 10 new things you’d like to try.
You can do it there and then or give yourselves a good week to do this properly. If you don’t have a clue, take a look through all my blogs for inspiration. Or do a search online of ‘new things to try sexually’. Don’t think about what you think your partner will agree to, focus on what you’d like, aiming for a mix of simple ideas to those which take more effort and a balance of slightly out there to erotically adventurous.
Once you’ve both completed your lists, swap and go through and approve or disapprove each other’s suggestions.
Most couples end up with about 6 or 7 on each list they’re both happy to try and compromise on the rest.
It’s fine to say no to a suggestion, just be prepared to give specific reasons why you don’t want to try something. Try not to have a knee-jerk reaction. Like, is it really going to kill you to give it a whirl, just this once?
If the answer honestly is yes, ask them what else they’d like to try and keep going until you’ve got ten agreed on suggestions each.
Write the results on a sheet of paper, then rip up the sheets so each suggestion can be folded solo. Put them all in a jar or other container and mix them up.
Once a week from now on, one of you picks a slip of paper from the jar and does whatever it says.
The joy of the lusty lucky dip is that both of you feel safe – you know it’s something you’re happy to try – but since you have no idea which of the ideas will be pulled out, it’s unpredictable as well.
Take turns and you have 20 weeks of sexy treats!