Sex Secrets of Happy Couples
Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, January 13, 2012
Sometimes, we don’t think enough of our marital relationship, while at others, we think too much. Somewhere in the middle, there’s a happy land.
Ten Sex Secrets of Really Happy Couples
They don’t do it every day (whew!). They believe in quickies (yay!). Read on for other reassuring truths about what a sexually healthy marriage looks like.
By Lisa Lombardi
Being an enlightened married girl, you know the latest thinking on what makes for a happy marriage: Fight fair. Give him solo time — and find your own. Never roll your eyes at him (even if he just declared Monster Garage the best show on TV). But what do happy couples do right in the bedroom? To find out, we picked the brains of top marriage and sex experts. These moves aren’t exotic, they don’t defy gravity — they’re not even all sex moves, per se — but they’ll make you feel closer to him than ever before.
1. They get busy, period.
You don’t have to do the deed every day — or every six days, for that matter — to have a great marriage. But there’s no way around this fact: “The happiest couples have sex on a regular basis,” says Tina Tessina, Ph.D., author of How to Be a Couple and Still Be Free.
Avoiding a sex drought is crucial, because healthy sex reinforces and deepens closeness. “Couples who don’t keep sex going leave a wide-open space where other people start to look attractive,” notes Tessina.
And regular sex sessions are especially important for guys. “One of the primary ways a man feels close to his partner is by being sexually close to her; it’s how he arrives at intimacy,” says Laura Berman, Ph.D., director of the Berman Center in Chicago.
When a guy doesn’t get that regular body-bonding, he isn’t inspired to be romantic, which tends to cause his wife’s libido to wane, creating a vicious circle, explains Berman. That said, there’s no need to stress if you sometimes let a week or two go by without sex. In fact, in some amazing marriages, sex is a once-every-other-week occurrence.
What’s key is that you’re both happy with your number. If you’re connecting sexually once a month or less, though, you may want to start a “meeting of the minds” with him to make sure neither one of you is secretly craving more action. And if you are? Check out #2, below, and ease into a sexier marriage.
2. They touch out of bed, too.
They’re not the scary PDA couple, feeling each other up in the frozen food aisle. But they are the sort to hug for no reason, swap foot rubs just because and even make foreplay the main course. “There are five degrees of touch, and couples in the best marriages regularly do at least four of them,” says Barry McCarthy, Ph.D., marriage and sex therapist and author of Rekindling Desire.
“Many couples have two modes of affection: nothing or intercourse, and when that’s the case, ‘nothing’ usually wins out,” he explains. Why? When a kiss or back rub always leads to sex, spouses may end up avoiding contact unless they want sex. A better idea: Get hands-on when you’re not hoping to get it on. “Your sex will become much more natural, because one kind of touch flows into another,” says McCarthy.
By physically connecting in small ways throughout the day, you stay warmed up for intense action later. And you’ll still feel close on those inevitable nights when you’re too stressed or tired (or both!) for the main event.
3. They have forgive-and-forget sex.
Makeup sex may not always be madly passionate, but couples who do it have an emotional advantage. Why? You’re keeping up intimacy during tough times, which is a key to making love last, says Tessina.
Whether you actually fool around or just kiss and cuddle, “makeup sex heals a rift,” she adds. Reaching across the divide and touching your guy lets him know in a very powerful, nonverbal way that though you disagree with him, your love isn’t on the line.
So it can put an insignificant squabble in perspective, as Janine, 32, a writer in Brooklyn, discovered. “Bill and I used to have endless fights about small things, so at one point I said, ‘Next time we’re fighting about something stupid, just kiss me and it’ll be over,’” she says. He didn’t believe something so simple would work, she says, but “we’ve found holding and kissing each other can bridge the gap more effectively than hours of discussion about whether we’re seeing each other’s point of view.”
4. They never withhold sex as punishment.
Warning: “Expressing anger by never being in the mood will doom your sex life,” says Tessina.
Withholding sex turns what should be a loving and giving act into a commodity. Once sex becomes part of a couple’s power struggle, so much resentment builds that soon neither partner wants sex.
So instead of feigning fatigue or rolling away from your guy next time you’re annoyed, speak up and clear the air — without sex being on the table.
5. They don’t expect Hollywood sex.
We can all picture it: candles glowing, white 1,000-thread-count bedsheets billowing, lovely lovemaking culminating in simultaneous, earthshaking orgasms. The only thing is, that almost never happens, says Barry McCarthy. And the duos who are most likely to succeed wisely know not to expect it.
“When you’re living together and have two kids, two jobs, etc., if you’re having Hollywood sex once a month, you’re doing great,” he says.
How great? According to McCarthy, among happily married couples, up to 15 percent of erotic encounters are not even enjoyable for one or both spouses. Maybe the sex is hurried, physically uncomfortable or doesn’t lead to the final fireworks.
Secure couples are able to roll with off-nights, rather than taking them as a sign that something’s wrong with their relationship.
And they don’t postpone sex until all the planets are perfectly aligned, either.
6. But they shoot for “special sex” anyway.
You have special “anniversary sex” on your anniversary, sure. But if you also orchestrate sexy adventures a few other times a year, you’re doing your marriage a huge favor.
“Happy couples sometimes pull out all the romantic stops,” says Berman. Not because romantic sex is more bonding, but because the act of making the effort — whether it’s booking a Bed & Breakfast or wearing a pretty new nightie rather than your threadbare PJs — sends a crucial message to your guy that you still care, says Berman.
And variety is the spice of a good sex life. “The latest research has found that one of the keys to sexual satisfaction is a sense of sexual adventurousness,” says Berman.
Plan a romantic adventure and the thrill of the new will give you both a rush — a hormone rush, that is.
“Sleeping on new sheets (at home or in a hotel), trying a new position or anything new will actually inspire the same dopamine response in your brain that made you feel addicted to each other early in the relationship,” says Berman.
If you want to kick his lust hormones into high gear, plan a mystery date, a favorite move of Amy, 30, a newlywed in Santa Barbara, California. “When I feel a night of romance is in order, I create a sexy email address from a free account, like Hotmail. To make the name recognizable (so he doesn’t delete it), the name always includes our lucky number, 23,” she says. “I don’t write anything in the email except an address and time. When he shows up at the restaurant, I’m waiting alone at the bar. Then I take him to another restaurant, just to keep him guessing. He says it drives him wild.”
7. They do the ultimate intimate move.
Four words: Eye contact during orgasm.
“It’s such a vulnerable moment that sharing it adds a huge degree of intimacy to your relationship,” says Berman, who notes that a lot of long-term couples can’t master this seemingly simple bedroom move.
Locking eyes during lovemaking can also make you feel — and act — sexier, says Christine, 31, who lives in Middletown, New Jersey. “I feel more attractive when my husband is looking at me during sex,” she says. “And that makes me more relaxed and open in bed.”
8. They know how to get from dog poop to passion.
“One of the hardest things to do is to transition from, say, paying bills to being sexy with each other,” says Tessina.
Successful couples find remarkably unremarkable ways to snap each other out of daily grind mode. How? They figure out their own shorthand for “let’s be sexy together.” Maybe your man stretches out on the sofa after the kids are in bed and invites you to hop up next to him. Or you swat his butt. Or say, “Gosh, there’s nothing on TV tonight, I wonder how we could ever fill the time?!”
9. They’re playful.
Sure, super couples can be intense when it counts (see #7), but they’re also silly with each other on a daily basis.
And having that playful streak is a prerequisite for passion. “A shared sense of humor is a very intimate thing,” says Tessina, “because it shows you have great communication and understand how the other thinks.”
In fact, Tessina has found that the intense passion of the courtship days often turns into silliness — which is actually a form of flirting. Amelia, 31, and her husband Jeff, 32, of New York City, get a kick out of exchanging over-the-top romantic greeting cards. “Neither of us is into mushy things, so when Jeff first bought me an oversize Valentine’s Day card with glittery roses and poems on it, I cracked up,” says Amelia, married three years. “Now we always surprise each other with the sappiest cards we can find.”
10. They believe in quickies.
Fast sex can be good sex.
“Quickies are essential because they’re efficient,” says Tessina. “We just don’t have endless hours to make love.”
Amen, says Lori, 33, an accountant in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, who relies on short and sweet sex to stay connected to her husband during tax season. “When I come home at 10 at night, I am so exhausted that sex with lots of foreplay isn’t an option,” she says. “So I ask him, in the sexiest voice I can muster, ‘Want to have a quickie?’ Of course he’s always up for it, so it works for both of us.” And that’s key.
Because though sex isn’t everything, says Berman, when it isn’t working, it’s a huge factor that creates problems that wouldn’t otherwise be there. “Couples who are connecting sexually are more compassionate and forgiving, more romantic and intimate, less lonely and sad, and much less susceptible to conflict,” she says. “They have this amazing connecting fiber holding them together.”
For more Marriage Tips and information on strengthening your marriage, go to HuntsvilleMarriage.com