Better Sex In Marriage Through Variety

Better sex in marriage

“When I told Maria that I wanted sexual variety, she gave me a horrified look,” said Liam, Maria’s husband of seven years. “I think at first she thought ‘variety’ meant I wanted other sexual partners.” He shook his head and smiled. “Once she realized I meant variety within our sex life, she calmed down and was open to what I wanted to say.”

Variety is the spice of life has become an adage because there’s wisdom and truth in it. Although you probably rely on certain routines or familiar things in your daily life (you might take the same route to work every morning; you might pack your lunch bag with the same items each work day), imagine how stultifying life would feel if everything were always the same, for example, if you ate the same identical meal each evening, if you spent each weekend in exactly the same way, if you watched the same rerun on TV over and over and over. This basic truth can be extrapolated to your sex life as well.

You are committed to your spouse/partner; you want to be with this one person and want to share yourself with him/her in all the ways that matter to you. In a sense, this is the familiar place we mentioned above: you want to get to know your partner better through intimacy, not meet a new person each and every time you want to have sex. There is emotional safety in committed relationships in that you learn to trust your mate and can be vulnerable with him/her in ways you couldn’t with someone you knew only superficially.

With that said, within the safe parameters of a long-term relationship, variety is still appealing and can keep you and your partner growing. And the best way to incorporate welcome differences into the fabric of your relationship is to come together as a couple and discover ways you can add the spice of variety to the foundation of your intimate life.

Here are some ideas to get you started thinking about this:

Better Sex in Marriage: 5 Ways to Add Variety To Your Sex Life

1) Let’s talk about sex (the aphrodisiac of effective communication)

“On the rare times Liam and I would talk about sex, it would generally be couched in euphemisms and generalities. Maybe we’d say something like, ‘Hey, when the kids are asleep, do you think you’ll have the energy for a little playtime?’ And that was the extent of our talking.” Liam agreed and added, “There’s nothing wrong with that. I like innocent-ish innuendo. But since we decided to try adding variety, talking about sex has never felt so exciting.”

Liam and Maria added variety in the form of pointedly and directly talking about sex. However, an important step they took even before incorporating direct, erotic talk into their sex life was the agreement that if it felt strange/uncomfortable for one or both of them, they would stop. In other words, they had no expectations about what this trial would do for them (and therefore they removed any sense of pressure or obligation they might have had otherwise, which also fosters a healthy attitude of play/exploration/discovery).

“I’m finding it extremely hot talking about sex with Maria,” Liam said. “It’s like pre-foreplay. It’s been really arousing, and because we’re both doing it, I don’t feel weird.”

And what I like especially,” Maria added, “is that we don’t rely on speaking explicitly about sex. So it’s enriching our sex life, but our sex life is not dependent on it. For me, that’s the best of both worlds.”

I like that; I don’t like that” (It’s all about the feedback)

Feedback, both verbal and nonverbal, is an important part of the sexual process. There’s nothing worse than one partner being afraid to speak up about something his/her mate is doing, and then needing to silently endure that maneuver indefinitely. When we’re attuned to each other, we often can pick up nonverbal cues that tell us whether our spouse/partner likes what we’re doing, but this isn’t always the case. At times we might be blinded by our own feeling of ecstasy, and not intuit what our partner needs. This is why questions are so important.

Even if you haven’t before, challenge yourself to ask your partner if s/he likes what you’re doing. (But as you ask, be sincerely open to the answer. Don’t make this a set-up for your partner, or you will shut down genuine communication. And don’t take it personally if the answer is that your mate doesn’t like the new thing you’ve tried in bed: remember, s/he is not evaluating you, but only a physical sensation.)

The two of you might even establish—before you make love—some nonverbal signals that communicate like/dislike in the heat of the moment, some signals that amount to your own unspoken, private language, as it were.

2) Let’s get started (shaking up how sex is initiated)

Initiating sex is such an important part of sex. Obviously if sex doesn’t get started, it can’t happen. But more than that, how sex is initiated can set the tone for how the lovemaking will go. Or not go… If one person always initiates sex, then that means that the perceived “power” is always in the hands of one person (s/he will be the one to determine whether or not sex will happen). Furthermore, the one initiating sex makes him/herself vulnerable by testing the waters, and depending on how sex is turned down on any given day, that person can feel deeply wounded or rejected.

“It may sound corny,” Maria said, “but Liam and I lately have tried rolling a pair of dice to see who initiates sex. Whoever gets the highest number is ‘it,’ so to speak, and will initiate when he/she is ready.”

“The really interesting thing,” Liam added, “is that even when Maria rolls the higher number, I’m thinking about sex all day, wondering how she’ll do it, if she’ll be in the mood that night, so I’m chomping at the bit to get the ball rolling, too. It’s kind of cool.”

In other words, neither of them are passive with this new arrangement.

3) The sex itself (the many ways to give sexual pleasure)

“‘Different positions? I didn’t know there were different positions,’” Maria said laughingly. “That’s what I said to my girlfriend at lunch one day when she confided that she and her partner were ‘shaking things up’ in the bedroom through new positions.”

Liam gave a loaded chuckle. “Yup. It turns out there are different positions.” He paused, grinned, and added, “But your readers are going to have to discover their own new positions. That part we’re not sharing.” He winked at Maria.

Trying something new (for instance, a new sexual act or sexual position) during lovemaking doesn’t mean abandoning what’s already working for you two. Remember that adding variety doesn’t require you to let go of the things you love about your physical relationship.

4) Meet me there (location, location, location!)

Changing where you make love to your partner can be a great way to add variety to your sex life. If the demands of family or finances don’t allow you to book a room in a hotel, you can even switch things up by choosing a different spot in your home. Or transform your bedroom in some easy, affordable ways (music, food, scents, props, posters) so that it feels like you’ve escaped to another locale. A sense of place engages all of our senses, and a novel sense of place can really wake up the senses. So experiment with that from time-to-time, even if you feel like your sex life is wonderful. It can serve as a little gift to the intimate part of your relationship.

5) Hey, what are you wearing? (dressing for sex)

It’s no secret that men are very visual; they can get aroused just seeing their mate in something sexy. But trying out new outfits—perhaps something very very different from what you’d normally wear—isn’t just for the man’s sake. Women have reported an inner shift when they wear something sexy, even daring, as if they’re taking on the qualities of the clothing so that they’re feeling more sexy and daring while they wear it. This can be a simple and exciting way to add variety to your intimate life. Sometimes men pick out things they’d like their partners to wear and then surprise the women with the items; sometimes women shop for things on their own and wait until the intimate moment to reveal the new look.

Ladies, this doesn’t mean the clothing onus is all on you (though I’ve worked with many couples where women get into this, even those who don’t like clothes shopping in general). You might like to see your partner in something new, and if he’s willing to return the favor, you might be shopping for some sexy unmentionables for him, or he might even take the reins and come home with a surprise underneath his clothes.

These are some ideas used by real people; when you and your partner set the goal of adding variety to your sex life, you might try some of these out, or come up with ideas of your own. Variety is as personal and individual as intimate unions are, so allow yourself the freedom and pleasure of exploring it fully and at your own pace.

(Featured [top] image  “Elder Couples” by Photostock/