Celeste & Danielle Offer Sex and Relationship Coaching for a Passionate, Connected and Fulfilling Life

It seems that everywhere we look we see couples in long term relationship suffering from challenges in their intimacy and sexual connection. More than half of all marriages end in divorce and a large number of those who stay married report feeling dissatisfaction in their sexual and emotional connection.

At the beginning of a relationship, also known as the “honeymoon period,” it may be possible for you to have super hot sex even you have not shared what you want out of sex and intimacy with your partner. Simply being with someone new upon whom you can project all of your fantasies, combined with the uncertainty of new romance can be enough to fuel the fires of desire and arousal and lead to a lot of sexual fulfillment.

The sexual honeymoon period doesn’t happen for everyone. For those who do get to experience it, a majority will see it fading as the excitement of newness and uncertainty wears off. It is then that the important question arises: “How can you keep sex hot in long-term relationships?” It seems like everywhere we look, we see new one-size-fits-all approaches to answering this question.

Therapists, coaches, sexperts, popular magazines and new age teachers have offered a variety of potential solutions. New age teachers will say that there needs to be polarity between the masculine and feminine. While this will help some couples whose desires include the need for polarity, others will be turned on by a feminine-feminine or masculine-masculine dynamic. Leading sexperts might tell you that there needs to be more mystery and distance that counters the domesticity. Yes, for some, that might be just the thing. For others however, less mystery and more safety will be what allows them to open to another. Some couple’s therapists advocate the idea that deep attunement and good communication will automatically lead to good sex, but that’s only true if what you need in order to get off is someone who is attuned to you. It is just as possible that what gets you off is that someone wants to use you for their pleasure.

The reason these approaches will not necessarily fix your sex life is because they are very simplistic and one dimensional. The truth of sex and intimacy is that there isn’t a cookie cutter answer that works for everyone. There is, however, a way to find out what will work for you and in your relationship.

If we have learned one lesson in our years of working with people around their sexual desires it is that people are extraordinarily diverse and unique – in other words, there is no one-size-fits-all fix. What people don’t realize is that each person has what we like to call their own unique Hottest Sexual Movie – a compilation of erotic and emotional experiences that elicit what they most want to feel in sex.

In order for sex to be hot, it must fulfill a good deal of each partner’s Hottest Sexual Movies. Those couples who have complimentary movies will generally stay much more satisfied with their sex life in the long term, but the majority of couples don’t get their movies met with the un-communicated, spontaneous sexual encounters that populate Hollywood movies. For couples who have less complimentary Hottest Sexual Movies, creating a sex life that fulfills both of your desires can be a feat!

Bottom line – what you don’t know about your own and your partner’s desires and what you haven’t shared may be killing your sex life and we hope you will begin to explore, experiment, teach and share your Hottest Sexual Movies. For a much broader look at some of the most common movies, check out our new book Making Love Real: The Intelligent Couple’s Guide to Lasting Intimacy and Passion.

Stay tuned… In our next blog – Discover Your Hottest Sexual Movie 101 – you will find out how to understand and share your own and your partner’s Hottest Sexual Movie and learn how your sex life can fulfill (as opposed to kill!) your partner’s desire.

Over the years as Sex Therapists and Relationship Coaches, so many of the couples we’ve seen have shared their experiences of rough patches during the holiday season. Holiday gift giving and family visits can add emotional and financial stress. We came up with this list of pointers that can help you and your partner stay connected during the holiday season so that you can experience the love and joy of the holidays instead.

Make a “Naughty” and “Nice” gift list

There can be something pretty unsexy about the list making/gift giving process. In long term relationships where finances are collective, gift giving can really fall flat as you watch the funds leave your joint bank account and go to presents you might not necessarily want to spend it on. In new relationships it can feel like a test of weather you know someone well enough. Instead or in addition to traditional gift-giving, why not make a list of sensual or sexual favors you would like to receive. You might want a “nice” long massage or perhaps a quick “naughty” trip up the chimney? Sharing your gift list is a fun way to supercharge your intimate connection over the holidays.

Learn the family dynamics

Whether this is your first time spending a holiday with your partner’s family or the 145th family holiday (but who’s counting?), we have a hunch that there could be a bit more communication leading up to the events. Instead of having an every person for themselves survivalist approach to the holidays, it is important to ask your partner what they need from you during this time. Even the closest of families can fall into damaging patterns this time of year, and by coming up with some strategies beforehand you and your partner can find ways to enjoy the good parts. This goes both ways, of course. It so important not to take for granted that your partner will intuit your needs around family and holidays, but to give them a chance to support you.

Steal moments beyond the mistletoe

By all means steal a socially-sanctioned kiss under the mistletoe as often as you possibly can. But, also take time to slow dance in the kitchen, take a bundled stroll arm and arm, whisper a compliment or sneak away for a car makeout session that might lead to more. By creating lots of small moments of connection you can ensure your relationship heads into the new year strong. We have many suggestions for intimacy boosting exercises in our new book, Making Love Real. So, if you plan on purchasing something, might as well make it our book ;).

Create your own Sexy Traditions

Think of ways to infuse the traditions you already have with a sexy twist (i.e. Don’t wear panties to that holiday matinee). Or, create new traditions like enjoying a seasonal shag on a blanket in front of the fireplace where you can feel the heat of the flames. We had a couple who would always have a Thanksgiving quickie after they put the bird in the oven and before everyone else woke up. Instead of feeling like they had an annoying chore they got to get away with something. Whatever it is, come up with some annual events that will keep the holidays exciting and special for you as a couple.

Take Space When You Need It

We can not stress this enough. Between holiday parties, family obligations, shopping, work and sleep it can feel impossible to have any me time. During this time of year it is so important to find space to do what keeps you feeling like you even if it means missing an event or two or not helping with a family meal. This will allow you to be present for your partner and actually experience and enjoy moments of connection with family and friends as well.

Last week we discussed the damaging myth “If your partner really loved you, you would never have to ask for what you want“. One of the reasons that many people still operate under this damaging assumption is that they believe that if they have to ask, it doesn’t count. We want to take a moment to examine the expectations this sets up in relationships and how harmful they can be to creating fulfilling connections that have the flexibility to change over time.

Expecting your partner to know what you want without ever asking is tantamount to thinking they are a master detective who can deduce all of your wants and needs by tracking subtle clues. While you may feel your clues are far from subtle, you may be surprised how differently each person processes information. If you pass a flower shop and quietly mutter “tulips are my favorite flower” you may be shocked that your partner did not rush to said flower shop as soon as they could in order to fill your house with your favorite stems. You may feel that you beat them over the head with your obvious expectation for flowers on date night, but all you actually stated was a preference for a certain flower.

In the bedroom, this detective works gets even more complicated and unrealistic. You may try and give subtle physical cues to nudge your lover towards a certain action, but without actually communicating your sexual desires and dislikes they may constantly disappoint. This goes both ways, of course. Even if you think you are the most intuitive lover in the world, you will be surprised how much you can learn by putting your ego aside and simply asking. Our clients are often extremely scared to give and receive feedback, but once they give and receive what they want sexually, it matters less and less how they got there.

People frequently assume their partners actually know what they want and simply refuses to give it to them which leads to long term resentment that lasts much longer than any awkwardness or ego bruising from an honest conversation. Instead of thinking that asking for what you want somehow makes it less special or not count, consider that it actually counts twice—once because your partner listened and once because they cared enough to try to give you what you wanted. In our practice we often hear people say, “Well, I did ask, and they didn’t do it” or “I asked, and they did it for a week and then stopped.” Learning new habits takes time. This often means that not only do you have to ask for what you want many times, but you also have to allow your partner to practice, give gentle and loving feedback, and try again. In our upcoming book “Making Love Real-The Intelligent Couple’s Guide to Lasting Intimacy and Passion” we offer many tools for moving beyond damaging myths and towards passionate connection.

Unless you live under a rock (with no cave drawings in sight), chances are you are constantly bombarded with images of perfect sex. Weather you watch romantic movies, porn, music videos or all of the above, your head is full of unrealistic, fantasy-fueled depictions of sex. Romantic movies show two incredibly hot people wordlessly falling into sex and then flash forward to the same couple out of breath and happily fulfilled. In more graphic depictions, we see intercourse begin after a few passionate seconds and ends with the magical simultaneous orgasm. In mainstream porn you mostly see contrived scenarios where the men have enormous cocks, the women are infinitely horny, and it’s all sucking and fucking all the time. It’s hard to know where to begin with the fantasy land of music videos, but we are pretty sure Miley Cyrus’s tongue is not actually that long in person.

Watching erotic content can be good, fun, stimulating entertainment. But, when it is coupled with a dearth of depictions of what realistic sexual experience might look like, it sets up an unattainable and damaging expectation of what perfect sex should be. It also gives a very warped vision of the steps it takes to attain your ideal sexual encounter.

You hardly ever see those inevitable awkward sexual moments—when someone gets poked with an elbow or their body makes a funny (and inexplicably loud) sound. You almost never see people teaching their partners what kinds of touch, kisses, or words they prefer, even though these scenarios can be extremely hot and erotic. In reality, sex has moments where things cinematically flow and moments where you just miss each other. Almost every sexual relationship has some moments of satisfaction and moments of frustration, awkwardness or pause. Sex won’t always be easy and usually isn’t perfect. Especially not from an outside perspective. But from within the experience, it can feel pretty perfect. The lead up to perfect-for-you sexual moments may have included some embarrassing conversations, uncontrollable giggles, and awkwardly placed limbs, but none of that actually matters.

In an earlier blog we talked about why it’s important to talk with your partner very specifically about your sexual desires. We can’t emphasize enough how essential talking about sex is if you want your sex life to last and be fulfilling. Yet, because of our society’s general shaming about sex, just talking about our most mainstream desires for romance or passion can be challenging. For those of us who have less conventional sexual desires, talking about them can feel way more risky.

You might know exactly what turns you on the most, but fear that your partner will judge your desires or even be disgusted by them. In our work with individuals and couples, we have come across people who have all sorts of interesting desires, and you can see references to the wide variety of desires out in the world like this article from the Guardian about a young, slim woman who fantasizes about sex with older, obese men. Before even talking with your partner about your more unorthodox desires, we suggest you clarify for yourself exactly what your desires are and what you want from the conversation. We think it is helpful to look at your desires in terms of three categories.

Do It To Me – Sexy Acts

You might desire a specific act with your partner. For example, as a heterosexual man you might be embarrassed to ask for anal play because you fear your partner might think it is not masculine or is dirty. As a woman, you might want your partner to be more rough with you, like wanting them to slap your face.

Say It To Me – Sexy Words

You might desire to hear specific words from your partner. Maybe you want to feel like you are in trouble: “You are such a naughty boy and I’m going to whip you.” Or you want to hear that you are the queen and receive worshipful words: “I bow at your perfect feet your majesty and am at your command.” If you are wanting your partner to talk during sex, don’t leave it up to chance, give them the exact words that you want them to say and let them try those, as well as experiment with others in the same vein. Make sure that you have an agreement that you can give feedback and update the words if they start to get boring.

Play It With Me – Sexy Fantasies

With fantasies it is important to know whether or not you want to share them outside of sex, share them verbally during more conventional sexual experiences, or play them out. You can share your fantasies simply as a way to let your partner into some of the deepest, most private, and most vulnerable parts of yourself. Even if you don’t play them out, this can be a very connecting experience.

You might desire to say your fantasies to your partner during sex or have them tell you specific fantasies. For example, you might be really turned on by the idea of an orgy, but don’t actually want to experience group sex. Instead, you want your partner to walk you through the fantasy verbally: “Now imagine that we walk into this room full of really sexual people and they are all looking at you, thinking how much they want you. And, you stand there shyly at first, but soon you start to get a little bit more brave and you start seducing them all by slowly undressing.” Finally, you may want to actually play out your fantasies. You might want to play out a rape fantasy or buy a nice flogger, a blindfold and handcuffs and go as a couple to your local dungeon, where your partner can tie you to a cross and whip you and play with you in front of other people.

Bringing Up The Conversation

Once you have a good idea of what you want, it is time to take the very brave step of bringing it up with your partner. Since society tells us that certain desires are acceptable and others are wrong or shameful, it is very vulnerable to share our deepest desires especially if they are unconventional. There are many ways, both direct and indirect, to share. We think the best way is to invite your partner to a sexy conversation where the two of you agree to take an open, non-judgmental approach to hearing all of your partner’s desires and fantasies. Make sure that you both realize how vulnerable and brave to share in these ways.

In order to be open and non-judgmental, it is also extremely important that you remember that you have a right to your boundaries – if you are uncertain about boundaries, check out our series on boundaries. If there is something that your partner desires, first you want to accept and celebrate it and then you get to decide whether you want to participate, knowing that there may be some desires that you want to explore with them and others that you don’t.

Most people judge each other’s fantasies because they are afraid that they are required to meet all of their partner’s needs, however, you will never meet all your partner’s needs. The worst things you can do in the face of your partner’s desires are judge and try to shut them down or engage in activities that are too uncomfortable for you – judging will shut your partner down and having sex in ways you don’t want to will shut you down. If you keep your boundaries, allow yourself to be open to new experiences, and allow your partner to feel disappointment if there are parts you don’t want to do, that is the very best you can do in relationship.