In my private practice, I work with couples that are struggling with many issues — whether a conflict-filled marriage, a sexless one, or both. As you can imagine, they do often go together. There is the rare conflict-filled but totally passionate marriage, and the sexless marriage that seems otherwise fairly healthy. However, to have a fully connected and conscious couplehood, you need emotional safety and connection as well as a mutually satisfying sexual life. Many couples who have been together for many years and who have children are most likely simply exhausted, have entered a sexual rut, or both.

When we first meet our partner, we are excited. Our heart can race, love hormones are released in our blood stream, and juices start flowing — literally. All of this is wonderful and exciting — and let’s face it, it feels really good emotionally and physically. This is a biological response that is intended to bond us to our partner and will last only for a certain period of time. This is that “Romantic Stage” of love that many couples make the mistake of trying to get back to rather than create a more mature, solid relationship. You see, we are not supposed to stay in Romantic Love, but are hopefully moving toward a more honest and deeper love, filled with mutual purpose and respect. When he used to shave and leave his hair in the sink, you thought, “Oh look, how cute his hair is!” Now we just want to kick him as we wash that disgusting hair down the sink.

Our sexual relationship can be really impacted by transitioning into a long-term marriage — and often couples are embarrassed to actually discuss their needs sexually with their partner. The couples that see me realize I quickly focus on the matter at hand when it comes to sex. When, where, and are you happy? We talk about masturbation and other fun topics that seem to make them blush. I find it is key to discuss couples’ expectations and desires to get at what each is really missing sexually. I explain that our sexual lives as a couple need to be addressed honestly and directly, just like other issues. As married couples, we need date night and good communication, which help increase the emotional connection that will hopefully lead to sexual intimacy.

I realized that what many of the couples miss is the “flirting” and “playful” experience sexual intimacy used to provide in their lives. I discuss ways to build a warm, connected anticipation for sex in fun and creative ways. Our sexual appetites evolve and change as we age, just as other parts of ourselves do. Feeling sexually desired by our partner is very important, and wanting our husband sexually can’t be underestimated. I have found a few ways to help jump-start your sexual life. These things will hopefully ignite some heat!

1) Sexting your spouse: This is a fun and exciting way to tweak your sexual side. You may get tingly all over! Simply start sexting your spouse and see what happens. When I asked couples to do this, they laughed at first — but I explained that they should text their spouse an erotic message once or twice a day. It can be quick and to the point, or a little longer — whatever you think would turn on your partner. After giving this assignment, each couple had a sexual encounter, which of course was the goal!

2) Toys and other fun stuff: If you have never used a vibrator, ladies, you need to try it. It is quick and fun. Many partners think it is sexy too. Also, getting a variety of gels and oils to help things along is key when re-invigorating your sexual relationship.

3) Erotica: If you or your spouse is a visual person and could be stimulated by watching erotica, I say go for it. Not all erotica is distasteful or hardcore. It can be very helpful to help heat up the sheets in your bedroom. Shop together for what you think would be fun or exciting.

4) Flirt:
Simply flirt with your partner. C’mon, you remember, don’t you? Grab his butt, tickle his hand or earlobe, and rub up his leg while he is driving. Try to sneak and say sexy and erotic things to each other without the kids catching you. Make it a secret game!

If you or your spouse is not happy with your sexual relationship, I believe it is time to act quickly — because one of the things we find with sex is that the more you have it, the more you want it, and the less you have it, the less you want it. It really is a situation of use it or lose it. Many couples may live long sexless marriages or marriages where multiple affairs are going on. Either way, it is no way I want to live with my partner and husband of 20 years.

Be fun, free, and flirty! Get in touch with your own erotic side — you just may be surprised how much fun you can have again. Also, print this out for your husband so he can get with the program too. Aren’t you curious how he would flirt with you? Excuse me, but I need to send a text!

So start sexting your spouse and tell me what comes of it.