JUST DO IT— HAVE SEX WHEN YOU’RE FEELING MEH

There comes a moment in many marriages when you realize you can’t remember the last time you had sex—and sometimes that moment occurs when you are on opposite sides of the bed, scarfing takeout nachos, attired in gym socks and sweats, and watching late night TV. Various studies have marked the demise of the “Honeymoon Period” as typically occurring at 2.5 years, 4 years and even 10 years; the calculations may differ, but scientists do agree that for most relationships, the can’t-take-my-hands-off-you phase has an expiration date. However, just because passion wanes, doesn’t mean it is gone for good. In fact, as your love and sense of security deepens, your sex life can get even richer—but you have to put effort into making that happen.

“People often have this funny idea that sex has to begin with desire, but science has shown the opposite,” says Ian Kerner, PhD, therapist and author of the bestseller She Comes First. “Especially for women, arousal often leads to desire.” He adds that while men can experience spontaneous arousal (that would be, in layman’s terms, an erection popping up out of nowhere), women experience responsive desire, which requires more of a context (think back rubs, a romantic date, a love letter, Fifty Shades of Grey). He suggests that couples whose flaming ardor has cooled to embers should “put their bodies in motion and see if that leads to desire.”

Another expert on sexuality, Claire Cavanah, one of the founders of the hip and friendly adult toy franchise Babeland, puts it even more directly, “Just try saying, ‘Yes, yes, yes,’ even if you’re not in the mood. Once you get started, you’ll usually get into it.”

Kerner and Cavanah also agree that introducing novelty back into your relationship is an important ingredient in reawakening your sex life. “There’s a danger in getting too complacent or safe and comfortable,” says Kerner. “We rely on the same script—same bed, same time—and those scripts may not be as reliable as they once were.”

One of Cavanah’s favorite ice-breaking tools is a yes/no/maybe list (which is also outlined in detail in her guide to drunk-in-love level nookie, Moregasm). “It’s a list of sex acts from vanilla to the more advanced,” —each partner fills in the list and then compares and picks something fresh, kinky, and consensual to try.  She adds that as our lives change, our desires evolve as well. “The way you felt about sex at 20 isn’t necessarily the same as you feel at 30 or 40,” she says. “When we are in monogamous, long-term relationships, it’s important to communicate that—and too easy to neglect.”

If you’ve never read erotica out loud or tried a sex toy, now is a perfect time to expand your bedroom repertoire. “Vibration and lube can get both partners in the mood pretty quickly,” she says. For novices, she recommends the Fukuoku or the JimmyJane Hello Touch, which are both vibrating pads that slip over the fingers. They add a little oomph to your natural touch. Kerner suggests that you can also share your fantasies or memories of your steamiest encounters together.

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Not every invitation will lead to lovemaking, but that’s OK. What’s important, the experts say, is making sex a priority and maintaining an attitude of willingness. The first move, as Kerner says, is simply to roll over and reach out.