Self, Sex

5 Habits To Nurture Your Soul AND Boost Your Sex Life

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When was the last time you did something really yummy for yourself, just because? I hope you’re not wracking your brain to come up with something, but if you are, you’re not alone.

The truth is that many of us — especially women — are socialized to take care of everyone else first, and we’re called "selfish" if we object. The reality, though, is that if you don’t take time for some mind, body, and soul nurturing, every part of your life suffers — your work, your children, and your relationships.

Let me say right up front that I’m a self-care junkie. I’ve learned from experience that if I’m not taking care of myself, I become more and more scattered, ungrounded, and miserable — definitely not fun to be around. It’s the first place I start when I begin working with a new coaching client because, frankly, it makes everything easier for both of us.

And when I’m working with couples, it becomes clear pretty quickly that if they’re having problems nurturing themselves, it’s almost impossible to be lovingly present to each other.  

I write and teach a lot about self-care — what I call "sacred self-centeredness" — and what I’ve discovered along the way is that there are powerful ripple effects that happen when you focus on you. When you commit to an intentional practice of self-nurturing, everyone benefits.

And clearly, one of the most satisfying (in every sense of the word!) responses can be found in the bedroom. Let’s take a look at a few ways that your amped-up practice of self-care can directly — and deliciously — impact your love life:

1. Exercise.

Let’s start with an easy one — easy because it’s so obvious, but not necessarily because it’s always easy to do!

You don’t have to be a marathon runner, swimmer, or cyclist to reap the benefits of exercise nor do you have to become a gym rat. The simple act of walking is a great low-impact, cardio workout.  Try walking to work or getting off the bus or subway a few stops early on the way home.

Studies show that just 30 minutes of exercise can dramatically reduce the risk of heart disease and other illnesses, and increase your life expectancy.

How does exercise benefit your sexuality? I hope that’s obvious too. It firms up flabby muscles, which helps you (and your partner) feel good about your body and on a deeper level, sends the message that you’re serious about taking care of yourself and being around for the long haul.

And check out this report from Fox News to find out even more ways that working out can positively impact your performance in bed.

2. Identify your energy drainers and distractions.

It’s amazing how so many seemingly little things can become big energy drains if they’re not handled. 

Make a list of everything you’re tolerating or putting up with. Some of them may take money to fix, but many are little annoyances that just need minimal attention — like greasing the squeaky hinges on the front door or finally cleaning out the spilled potato chips in the car!

The more you unclutter life and surroundings, the more you have the spaciousness to focus on what you really want.

And if you’re someone who has a hard time turning your brain off, it can be hard to let go and enjoy sex, too. You’ve got that "to-do" list running through your brain: kid #1 needs to get to dance class early, kid #2 has a science project due, your assistant has to leave early tomorrow for a doctor’s appointment.

These are not exactly energy drainers, but definitely distractions.

Try doing a brain-dump before you jump into bed for some nookie. It may not seem very romantic, but if it helps you shut down your monkey-mind and focus on your pleasure instead, who cares?

3. Remember to breathe.

In fact, make a point to take five slow, deep breaths, several times a day — while you're sitting in traffic, on the subway, or holding for someone on the phone. If nothing else, you'll be re-oxygenating and re-activating your brain cells, ready to tackle the next project, challenge or phone call. Just 2 or 3 minutes will calm your soul.

You can take that same form of conscious breathing into the bedroom, too, by simply breathing in synch with your partner as you gaze into each other’s eyes.

That’s actually one of the basics of tantric sex, an ancient Eastern spiritual practice that entails using your breath to spread orgasmic energy through your entire body which in turn, creates an all-over tingling and leads to a deeper, more intimate connection with your partner.

An old friend of mine, Diana Daffner and her husband Richard, are the authors of the book, Tantric Sex for Busy Couples: How to Deepen Your Passion in Just Ten Minutes a Day and have led "Intimacy Retreats" for couples for many years. This might be just the vacation you’ve been looking for!

4. Set healthy boundaries.

We all know what we should do to protect our time and space, both at home and at work — close your door when you don't want to be interrupted, don’t pick up the phone, or say "no" to office gossip.

Creating firmer, healthier boundaries means enjoying more supportive relationships everywhere in your life and having more energy to do what you love in general.

This can be a tricky one to bring to your sex life, but a vital one if your aim is full partner satisfaction on both sides. It’s usually easy to convey when you’re turned on because your body responds pretty dramatically! But how good are you at communicating when you’re turned off — or even feeling pain — by a particular touch or technique?

In the moment, a gentle "that doesn't feel so good" is a start. Then after your love-making session, you can have a deeper conversation with your sweetie to clearly state what works and what doesn't — for both of you.

5. Play.

We all need a regular dose of play to maintain optimal focus, balance, and creativity in our lives. 

When was the last time you see-sawed or rode the swings with your kids… or a friend? How about keeping some jacks or a Frisbee in your desk drawer or a yo-yo or one of those little paddles with a ball attached where you bat the ball as often as you whack your head?!

That kind of physical play gets you out of your head and into your bodies, always a good de-stressing trick in the middle of a busy day.

Now, I hope your imagination is percolating about ways to bring some serious play to your lovemaking as well!

If that includes sex toys, then let me tell you about another one of my old friends, Dell Williams. Sadly, she died a few years ago at the age of 90, but her amazing legacy included launching Eve’s Garden in 1974, the world's first mail-order catalog and sexuality boutique designed specifically to celebrate women.

You can also play with creating fantasy scenarios with your partner (with or without the toys) — produce your own x-rated version of "doctor" or "strangers meeting in a bar" or whatever your naughty, playful spirits conjure up!

When you become an expert at self-care on every level — mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually — you’re so much better equipped to handle whatever curveballs life throws at you. And with a little creativity, you can transfer those same ideas into the bedroom to spice up your sex life.

As my friend Dell always said, "an orgasm a day keeps the doctor away." I can’t think of a better way to take care of yourself than that, can you?

Relationship Coach Deborah Roth has been married 35+ years to the same complex, wonderful guy and loves supporting couples in navigating the ebbs and flows of maintaining and nurturing successful, long-term relationships. To learn more about her work and/or schedule an introductory couples coaching session, just visit her website.

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