Whether you've been married 2 years or 20 years, this advice is applicable.
My husband and I have been married for 14 years, and coupled for 22 (we were high school sweethearts). Growing up, I had the notion that couples who were together for that long would eventually get bored of each other sexually, break up, cheat, or just stop having sex. But despite what all the soap operas and trashy novels taught me, this hasn't been my experience at all.
Our sex life has had its ups and downs over the years, and certainly the stress of balancing work and children has made things more complicated, but even in the face of that, we still have a great sex life.
There are a lot of reasons why our sex life hasn't lost its spark. Much of it is good fortune (I knew he was the one for me even at 15 years old, so I snatched him right up). But there are some things we do to keep things interesting and fulfilling.
1. We're monogamous, but allow elements of fantasy and role play to enter the mix.
In the very early stages of our relationship, I thought monogamy meant that neither of us was allowed to fantasize about someone else. I mean, I knew it happened, but it seemed sort of forbidden or dangerous. I know much better now.
Fantasizing about other people is part of human nature, and we’ve both learned the importance of letting those fantasies enter the bedroom. As the years go by and our trust increases, we can allow more and more in, experiment with role play, and let loose. It’s fun, safe, and freeing.
2. We don't keep track of how often we have sex.
This an important one, especially as life becomes busier and more complicated. There's a lot of pressure out there for people to judge their own sex lives (and thus their relationship) by the frequency of intimacy. But the truth is that paying such detailed attention to it only increases the level of worry and guilt surrounding the whole thing.
We know that life has ups and downs, and so does the ebb and flow our sex life. The key is to communicate our needs and feelings with each other. Yes, it’s important to make time for sex, but also to trust that it will happen when the time is right.
3. We schedule sex.
As much as we like to keep things spontaneous and not put too much focus on the frequency of our sexual hook-ups, we've had to come up with some pretty sneaky routines to fit sex into our lives over the years, especially when our children were young (and often sleeping at least part-time in our bed).
Scheduling sex during naptime or those rare afternoons when the grandparents have the kids can actually be thrilling. We give each other knowing smiles during the day as our "date" approaches, and get all giggly when we're finally together.
4. We tell each other what we do and don't like.
This is one of the big benefits of having the same partner for many years. There's very little room left for embarrassment or pretense once you've spent more than half your life with someone. You can tell them what you'd like more of in bed and what really doesn't work for you. It's a beautiful thing.
5. We try new things.
As we get older, our tastes change, and we incorporate those changes into our sex life. There are some things I never expected to like in bed, some things that never even crossed my mind to try. But as the years go on, as our bodies change, we find that there are new ways to experience pleasure.
6. We don't put sex on a pedestal.
In the early stages of a relationship, it's easy to feel a big investment in sex and how it's going. It feels like the relationship revolves around it, or should. But as things deepen, you learn that sex is just one part of it (a fun and wonderful part, yes).
My husband and I have a wealth of ways to communicate and feel intimate with each other. When we're too tired or stressed, we find other ways to connect, both physically and emotionally.
7. We always have a secret or two to reveal, even after all these years.
We don't intentionally keep secrets from each other, of course. But it's impossible to know every little thing about someone, even when you've been together for a long time. Every so often, one of us will reveal a crush we had when we were younger, or a particular fantasy we had. It's a lot of fun, and keeps things fresh (and frisky).
I don't take for granted how lucky I am to have found a compatible partner who still makes my heart go pitter-pat. But it's more than luck that keeps things exciting for us. We put effort into our sex lives just as we put effort into the other aspects of our relationship.
But most importantly, we throw out all the notions about how things are meant to be, or what constitutes a "good sex life." We come to it on our own terms, in our own ways, and with mutual respect, communication, and most of all, love.