Ask the Intimacy Advisor: Keeping the Spark Alive

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One of the most common themes I receive “Ask the Intimacy Advisor” questions about is how to keep the spark alive in long-term relationships. It’s a big deal! No matter how much you love your partner, over time one or both of you may grow comfortable, complacent, or even start to take your love for granted…and then you stop worshiping them like you did when you first met. Sex dies off, you don’t try anything new together, and things get kind of boring. It gets noticed, and it hurts…but it’s definitely reversible! Read on as the expert dives into YOUR questions about how to try new things, spice things up, and keep the spark alive in relationships that may be on the sexual struggle bus!

Note: In order to provide many different suggestions while still being brief and avoiding redundancy, I will answer each of these questions from a very specific approach based on that particular question – read all of the questions and answers to help find a combination of advice for your particular relationship challenges. I hope the information here helps the original askers and many others!

Question: My husband and I have been together for 11 years and our relationship in the bedroom has just died. I can’t seem to be meeting his needs. I always feel tired or just not in the mood. Is there such thing as a way to increase libido? Sometimes we will be in the middle of it and the enjoyment just washes away. I feel so guilty. ~ Kathy

Great question, Kathy, and this is a very, very common problem, so you are not alone…and it’s nothing to feel guilty about, either, especially since you’re seeking ideas and help! The short answer is yes, there ARE things you can do to increase your libido and help make sex more enjoyable for both of you! A lot of people have good luck with dietary supplements made to enhance your libido and sexual performance, such as Kangaroo 2K or Pink Pussycat, which is available in pill form, a liquid shot, or a honey packet, think of it like an energy drink for your lady bits. Take it an hour before your intended sexual activity and chase it with plenty of water; it contains the right combination of vitamins and herbs to help boost your libido, sensation, and enjoyment, and the effects can last up to 72 hours!

You might also find some luck with topical arousal oils. Anything that will make you feel more deeply and intensely when your husband starts touching you should do the trick. Try the Intense Clitoral Serum from Intimate Earth or ON arousal oil, and your foreplay should now do the trick to keep you lasting a long time through sex. Secret Garden Orgasm Enhancing Cream can help the pleasure last longer for you, and you might benefit from a CBD-infused oil, as it soaks in quickly and can enhance feelings of relaxation and comfort, preventing that middle-of-show stage fright. And don’t forget to always, always use plenty of lube!

It’s nice that you are being considerate of meeting your husband’s needs, but please have a conversation with him and make sure he’s meeting yours as well. It sounds like your sexual schedule might just need a little shake-up. If you’re always tired or not in the right mood, try having sex first thing in the morning. It can be pretty sexy to be woken up with a poke, then some quick cuddles and foreplay and off to the races before the weight of the world has had a chance to wear you out for the day! Speaking of foreplay, make sure hubby is giving you plenty of that, too…it increases the blood flow to your genitals, which will increase sensation & natural lubrication so you can keep enjoying! Also, always keep in mind that even sex which doesn’t end in an orgasm for both of you is not failed sex. There are always other ways you can help your husband get off, even if you’re unable to last until he cums!

Question: I’m a plus size woman, and my husband loves when I put something sexy on for him but I’m having a hard time feeling sexy. How can I feel more sexy when I’m with my husband? ~ Lilly

Your husband loves it when you put on something sexy because you ARE sexy, especially to him! He probably thinks more highly about your body and your beauty than you do…that’s sad, but you’re definitely not alone there. And while I can’t undo the years of damage done to women’s body image through the constant negative messaging society inflicts upon us in this post, hopefully I can give you a few pointers that will help you feel your sexiest in front of your husband no matter what you are wearing!

Adding sexy lingerie is definitely a fun way to keep the spark alive for all couples and for women of all shapes & sizes. For starters, choose lingerie that YOU think looks sexy and will look sexy on you. As much as it’s for him, it’s also for you, and it’s important for you to like the look of it. Choose a size that you’re confident will fit you based on your measurements; a lot of lingerie is very forgiving in the size department because it’s mostly elastic and can stretch to accommodate a variety of sizes. While it’s tempting to cover up by choosing something loose or baggy, you want your lingerie to truly hug your curves and show them off…that’s why your husband loves when you wear it so much! Style-wise, think more strappy teddies and tight chemises and less gauzy babydolls, which can sometimes make you look top-heavy or bell-shaped. Lace is a classic way to cover up but still show some skin, like in the Lace Cutout Plus Size Teddy. A halter neckline is almost universally flattering, so I’m in love with the Classically Beautiful Plus Size Teddy or the Deep Plunge Halter Teddy. Black lingerie always comes to the top of the mind because black is supposedly slimming, but don’t be afraid to experiment with color!

To make sure you truly feel beautiful and confident in your outfits, always do a test run by yourself before you show them off to your husband. Try them on, look in a full-length mirror, do some poses, and even take some selfies. Look at your image focusing on the beauty and not the imperfections…your husband truly doesn’t see those! The test run is also a good time to adjust any straps to give you the best look and fit, and find the easiest ways to take the piece on and off…because once he sees you in it, you’ll be out of it pretty quickly! And when you do put your new lingerie on in front of your husband, when he is complimenting you or just worshipping your body before sex, really take those words and that feeling to heart, and you’ll never lack confidence in your curves again!

Question: My husband is no longer able to have sex. He has tried Viagra, etc. but he just doesn’t even think about sex. How can I help him get this desire back? ~ Katie

This is a difficult challenge to address, Katie, because there could be a myriad of reasons for your husband’s lack of libido, and you definitely need him aware of the problem and on board for fixing it in order to make a difference. If he has tried Viagra, it sounds like he has at least spoken to his doctor about the problem; that’s an important first step if he hasn’t…there’s a whole host of medical issues that can cause lowered sex drive in men, and he might just need proper diagnosis and treatment for that to get his groove back. Some people are also just Asexual (lacking sexual attraction to others, or low or absent interest in or desire for sexual activity), but it sounds like that’s not the case here if you used to have sex regularly and it just suddenly stopped.

Just like there are female supplements for libido mentioned in the first answer, there are male supplements too which he may benefit from trying. They are a completely different makeup than Viagra, and they may help give him the mojo boost he needs. Max Arousal Pleasure Gel may also help provide enough new sensation to help him get it up, and a cock ring can help him keep it up and perform better.

One final popular tool for men who have tried other medical interventions without much success is the trusty penis pump. Contrary to popular belief, they’ve never been made to help make a man’s penis bigger…they’re actually for helping a man get a longer, stronger erection. Some men may find them intimidating or even emasculating, but they are solely made to increase blood flow to the penis, which helps him get it up…that’s it, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of when one is needed. A simple air hand pump like the Optimum Series Precision Pump may be all he requires, or splurge for a water pump like the Bathmate Hydromax. He can use the pump regularly, and also just before you’d like to have sex, and you can even boost the effect by lying naked with him and talking him up while he uses it, or giving him a strip tease down to some sexy lingerie while he gets ready…he might just need a visual reminder of how much you want him to remind him that he really wants you, too! Good luck!

Question: My husband and I aren’t connected sexually; I don’t get wet anymore, and he seems to come every time although it feels like I’m climbing a mountain to have sex with him…what can I do to relight the fire? ~ Blue

I can see why that would leave you feeling blue, Blue. It’s frustrating when our level of sexual desire and enjoyment doesn’t seem to match with our partner’s, or when it just becomes not fun anymore. While you may benefit from trying some of the supplements or arousal oils or creams suggested in the first answer, I think your case sounds like more of a communication disconnect. Have a talk with your husband and see what you can do about it together. If you’re genuinely not enjoying sex with him anymore, that’s not just on you…and you definitely need to shake things up.

When was the last time you both made sex truly special? When we’ve been with the same partner for a while, we can get complacent or lazy and wind up just “going through the motions” of having sex without truly connecting. While he may come when you have sex, this isn’t truly pleasurable for either of you. As soon as you can, really set aside a block of time. Maybe you can take a little staycation to a nearby hotel, or just plan on spending an entire weekend in bed! Light some candles, put on some sexy peek-a-boo lingerie, and truly make an occasion out of sex. Make sure you both spend plenty of time on foreplay and body worship, possibly including an intimate massage. Once he’s turned you on enough, you can start coitus. Always use plenty of lube; becoming dry during sex will immediately start to become a turn-off. I’m going to recommend a silicone or a hybrid lube…it’s a little more slippery and longer lasting than water-based and it won’t get sticky.

You can also relight the fire by trying new things together. Maybe you’re both up for a little bondage play to spice things up? If you’re not sure about it, there are games and books that can show you the ropes, literally. A couple’s toy might be another fun way to make sex more fun for both of you. Try a vibrating C-ring that goes on him but hits you in all the right places, or a Partner Plus vibrator that goes inside of you along with his penis, and rests between you to provide you both with amazing sensations. Communicate with your hubby every step of the way about your needs, and hopefully your dry spell will be over in no time!

the author

Kristin T.

A former teacher & trusted relationship expert, Kristin writes science & health-conscious advice that she hopes can help everyone enjoy sex & intimacy more.
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