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50 ways to add sparkle to your Love Life

It’s not easy to keep your love life fresh and exciting through years of even the most loving relationship.

Most affairs are linked with sex lives in settled relationships falling into the tedium trap.

Here are 50 ideas for fun for the faithful – to give a loving, lasting relationship sexual staying power too.

1. Give your love life priority.

It’s amazing how many couples would say that making love is or should be one of the most important parts of their relationships, yet actually devote just 20 minutes at the end of the occasional busy day, when he’s gone through that extra work and the football’s finished on the TV, and she’s done that extra washing and phoned her friend who’s going through such a bad patch, etc.

Most adults these days do have many demands on their time and energy, but take your role as your partner’s lover as seriously as you take your roles as worker, parent, friend, etc.

Set aside time to make love properly while you have energy to share and enjoyment to bring.

2. Revive the dating game.

Remember how before you were a settled couple you would meet up for dates, go out somewhere pleasant, talk together, in fact spend a whole evening going through a ritual designed to put you most at ease together and most looking forward to loving?

Agree with your partner that you will devote every Wednesday night or whenever to talking, sharing a glass of wine, a video, relaxing together.

Sex must not be compulsory after these evenings – no more than it should be on a conventional date – but there’s a good chance you will both fancy it.

You must both also promise not just to abandon your date if “something crops up”, as it often will.

Try to avoid letting any other arrangement get in the way. If you do have another commitment which you both agree must have priority, agree on a date for another evening the same week.

3. Make the most of the unexpected.

If you suddenly realise you can both be home from work early one day and have the house to yourselves, don’t decide that’s just the chance you need to clean the covers on the three-piece suite or paint the bathroom.

You’ll fit those tasks in somewhere one day – and won’t end up in the divorce courts if you don’t.

Use that precious gift of unusual time together to add the freshness of variety to your loving. It’s a wonderful change to make love in daylight if the demands of work and family life usually confine you to after dark.

4. Vary your setting.

If you always but always make love in your good old double bed a hint of tedium can set in even before you’ve touched one another.

Look for chances to vary where you make love as well as when. If you’ve the house to yourselves at least occasionally, you can revive the fun of the sofa or living-room floor of your courting days.

If privacy is a problem, use the remedy of countless courting couples – the back of the car or some other quiet spot.

Half the fun of an affair is often seizing even uncomfortable opportunities. Faithful couples shouldn’t miss out on it all.

5. Learn massage.

To be touched caringly is one of our most basic human needs – as crucial as food and drink – but all too often touching gets cut down to a minimum, even by couples having sex.

Sharing skilled, all-over body massage is one of the most wonderful gifts you can give one another.

It brings great physical pleasure and relaxation to both the giver and the receiver of the massage.

You don’t always want to go on to have sex straight afterwards but when you do make love it will immeasurably enhance the quality of your physical relationship, make it something special just you two share. You can find guides in any good bookshop.

6. Separate sex from the rest.

No relationship is perfect and without friction. Women especially have a tendency to feel they can’t think of making love with their partner if they’re fed up with him over something else.

Of course you can’t – and shouldn’t – try to ignore important areas of conflict, but do be careful not to let petty irritations get in the way of making love and set up a vicious circle of rejection and revenge.

If you really enjoy his loving, do you really want to miss out on that because he forgot a card for your wedding anniversary or couldn’t be bothered to mow the lawn?

Instead tell him what a horror he is and that he’d better make it up to you with extra special efforts to thrill you to bits.

There’s a better chance that way he’ll want to make up to you for his sins tomorrow as well, so you’ll win on both fronts.

7. Take a trip.

Of course people starting affairs enjoy it – if they’ve half a chance they go away together and devote a weekend or a few days to fun and sex.

At least once a year, get away with your legitimate partner to spend as long as possible alone together in a pleasant setting.

Don’t feel you have to spend all of your time in bed. It’s just as important for the quality of your sex life that you should share some hours of talking together about your feelings, hopes and fears.

Learn to appreciate one another again as people without all the demands of work and family life.

Apart from the sex, a major reason why people have affairs is that their lover listens to them in a way they find their marriage partner doesn’t bother to.

8. Share a bath or a shower.

I’m not so much talking about the cliché of making love in the shower, though that’s fun when you’re in the mood.

Bathing and showering sets up an atmosphere of comfortable and relaxed intimacy. It helps keep you close if you make it a habit that one of you sits and chats while the other baths or showers.

A simple friendly gesture such as scrubbing the other’s back helps keep warm feeling flowing between you.

9. Sort out the turn-offs.

Sometimes husband or wives can develop habits or traits that put their partner right off sexually.

Bad breath, greasy hair, tatty underwear etc., can all lead to a partner finding excuses to avoid sex or not making love with their old verve.

That in turn sets up suspicions of infidelity, loss of sex drive, falling out of love, when what’s really needed is to say honestly what the problem is.

You may be holding back because you worry about hurting your partner’s feelings, but the result is that you hurt them and yourself more, because you don’t give them the chance to put the problem right.

Wouldn’t you want to know if it were you?

10. Change positions.

Most couples have a fair idea of a reasonable range of positions in which you can make love.

You don’t need a sex book to spell out the basic variations. Most while young try out a selection but then often tend to settle for one or two which they find “work” for them.

The trouble is this can lead to a growing sense of monotony, especially if your loving usually ends with intercourse, that no matter what else you try, you always seem to end up in the same place.

Promise yourselves that at least once a month you will try a different position. Our bodies and reactions change.

You can suddenly find that a position that was once useless for you now results in startling sensation. Even if not, it will make returning to your old favourite that more enjoyable.

11. Relax together.

Couples leading normal busy modern lives can’t hope to rush around all day and half the evening, then just flick a switch and instantly turn into revved up, ready-to-go sex partners.

You generally need at least an hour together beforehand to tune in to each other, relax, forget the other pressures of the day and start to think about the pleasures you could share.

This time spent out of bed is as crucial a part of loveplay as kissing, cuddling and touching.

It’s working wives who usually miss out most on this needed relaxation as they try to fit in chores after a day at work.

So if you’re a working wife, make sure your man realises the connection between relaxation for you and nookie for him.

12. If you argue over how often you make love, negotiate a compromise.

One of the most common sexual conflicts between couples who have been together some time is how often they are going to make love.

If one feels ready to make love rather more frequently than the other it quickly leads to an impasse, where one feels they are always being badgered for sex and so wants it less and less, and the other feels they are always being rejected, so wants it more and more.

It can lead to a tremendous easing of tension all round to bring the issue out into the open and work out a compromise. If the husband wants to make love, say, four times a week and the wife once, they can agree they will make love twice a week.

It may sound cold to agree which nights that will be, but in fact it usually means they feel far more relaxed and loving together.

The husband knows that tonight may not be the night, but he can rest assured that Friday will be.

The wife can give her husband a kiss and cuddle on Wednesday and Thursday – which reassures him how much he is loved – without her feeling that will inevitably lead to a demand from him for sex.

13. Remember there’s more to sex than intercourse.

Don’t feel that sex always has to end with intercourse. It helps tremendously to break that deadening feeling of routine if at least sometimes you suggest you give each other satisfaction in other ways.

It is a particularly helpful variation for couples who have the sort of conflicts over frequency described above.

A husband who maintains he is too tired to make love fully once a week could still probably manage to bring her to climax another time through touching and caressing – which, of course, might have the effect of convincing him he has more energy than he thought!

14. Don’t rush.

Excitement and the thrill of the new are the pleasures of a fresh sexual encounter.

They inevitably wear off after a while but are more than compensated for in rich lasting relationships by a more intense pleasure and passionate intimacy.

But to find these you have to be prepared to take time over your loving.

If your complaint is that the thrill somehow seems to have disappeared from your sex life, try slowing it down and savouring each moment, each touch.

15. Dress up – or down.

It helps to re-stimulate sexual triggers if our partner can’t always be sure what we will look like and feel like when we make love.

If you usually go to bed wearing night-clothes, surprise them by suddenly appearing stark naked.

If you usually sleep naked, try making love in pyjamas or night-dress. Groping under the layers can be a new sensation.

Experiment with slinky silk and crisp cotton. Don’t be hidebound. They don’t make men’s boxer shorts in silk now for nothing. Mmm.

16. Take up a new interest together.

I’m sure you’re getting the message that a good sex life depends as much on how you appreciate yourselves and each other outside bed as in it.

As the years go on, couples can find that they share very few interests apart from the family and stop seeing each other as interesting individuals with whom it’s a pleasure to spend leisure time.

Make a positive effort to find a spare-time activity that you can regularly share – going for a swim at your local leisure centre, ten-pin bowling, badminton, joining a film club or local society.

17. Take turns making love.

Sometimes we can be so busy worrying whether we are turning our partner on that we are distanced from our own sexual responses, or so busy worrying whether we are getting turned on enough that we don’t really respond to our partner’s signals.

At least once a month take it in turns to caress one another while the other is free simply to enjoy and respond.

Don’t worry – when you are the active one, you will find it is a real thrill to concentrate wholly on pleasuring your partner, and that both of you will experience greater responsiveness when making love at other times.

It is important that you are meticulous about taking turns over who is active and who is passive, otherwise it can end up with one partner in effect “using” the other or on some sort of power trip.

18. Make love over the phone.

It doesn’t have to be heavy, but an occasional saucy message brightens the day.

19. If you’re depressed, DO something about it.

Even quite mild depression leads to your losing interest in sex. If there’s some imbalance in your relationship, your job is getting too much for you, or some row going on in the family is getting to you, you’ll feel less and less like making love.

If your partner doesn’t understand the problem and feels rejected and threatened, then this can add to your misery.

If you haven’t felt like making love for some time and there’s no other obvious reason, talk through your life with your partner and work out what might be getting you down and why.

Don’t just let some unhappy situation drag on. If you can’t see a solution, arrange to see a Relate. If your health might be involved, have a check with your GP(doctor).

20. Ring the changes.

At least once a week try to think of some little extra to add a touch of glamour or luxury to your love life – a bottle of sparkling wine, a scented oil, a flower.

Look afresh at your bedroom or the room where you usually make love.

Does it look like the setting for passion or the “before” picture from a DIY feature? As soon as you can afford it, change it.


21. Beware undies!

Any underwear department can tell you that in December they sell all their red and black saucy numbers to men who dream of their wives and girlfriends in stockings and suspenders, lace and tight elastic.

In January all the wives and girlfriends who feel silly looking like a Christmas cracker swap it all for slinky smooth but comfortable undies in cream silk or cool cotton.

Some women adore outrageous underwear.

Others feel cheapened by it. If your man keeps trying to pressure you to wear his fantasy though it’s your nightmare, ask him how he would feel in lace-trimmed Y-fronts with see-through panels for the naughty bits?

22. Start the day with a kiss.

23. Tune back in to sex.

When you’re young, you and your friends usually talk a lot about love and relationships. It keeps the subject to the forefront of your mind, your interest bubbling. As time goes by, houses and babies, jobs and cars, children and schools can take over.

You can’t suddenly try to get your friends all talking about sex again but you can tune yourself in to what’s new and interesting.

Any good bookshop has a section on relationships, including sexuality. Many men find sexy magazines and videos exciting.

A lot of women seem to find they turn them off more than on but they’re not all hard-core and you will never know until you try.

24. Deal with desire.

The most common sexual problem among women in settled relationships is loss of desire – they just don’t feel like making love very often.

It’s not a clear-cut problem like lack of orgasm but it leads to a lot of heartbreak – men who feel cheated and women who feel failures – and a lot of affairs and broken marriages.

Don’t get trapped in a cycle of blame and guilt. It’s not the woman’s fault but probably linked with the way she was brought up and the couple’s whole relationship.

It can usually be sorted out – but only if both the man and the woman have the commitment and willingness to change.

Seeing a Relate sex therapist together could transform your love life for the better.

25. Don’t let the sun set on a niggle.

Yesterday’s silly little niggle – that set your teeth on edge but didn’t seem worth causing a row about – all too often turns into today’s smouldering resentment that makes you turn your back in bed, shrug off a hug.

If you realise you’re harbouring a grouse, say something about it. It’s the first step towards clearing the air and opening the channels of communication to love again.

The mistake many of us make is to talk like a disapproving parent to our partner, feel we must tell them off or blame them for what got up our nose.

It’s enough to tell them our feelings – hurt, anger, or whatever – so they know how we’re affected. We don’t have to go on to give them a lecture.

They are more likely to react generously rather than defensively, if treated like responsible adults.

26. Experiment.

It can feel very threatening suddenly to be asked to try something different in the middle of making love, so prepare the ground.

Each make a note of three or four things you’d like to try – techniques, positions, caresses, dressing up, whatever- and discuss them.

You’ll probably find you’re both willing to experiment with most of them at least once and you might even transform your love-making!

27. Share your fantasies.

Many of us have images and scenarios that flash through our minds as we make love – we’re on a desert island, sex slave of an Eastern monarch, it’s our first time all over again, or whatever.

It can deepen your intimacy and be very exciting to share these fantasies – but only try this if you are sure you can trust your partner not to use it against you at some time.

28. Is Big Brother watching you?

If some of these suggestions strike you as too bold or embarrassing, ask yourself why.

Often it’s as if we carry own Big Brother around inside of us, watching our every move, scolding us if we do something too daring, too pleasurable, too sensual, too exciting.

If we think hard, we often realise it’s actually the voice of our parents heard repeatedly as we grew up, worrying that we might “go too far” or “get in trouble”.

Remind yourself you’re grown up now and free to have as much fun as you and your partner desire. You have nothing to lose but your inhibitions.

29. Who makes the first move?

Are you stuck in a rut that one of you always initiates sex?

If you’re comfortable that way and are sure that your love life is in no way dull, then that’s not necessarily a problem but it can often liven up a dull patch suddenly to surprise your partner with an invitation.

But, especially if it has usually been the man who makes the first move, be careful not to make your partner feel threatened.

Men can feel worried they will not be able to manage intercourse if they don’t feel sexy when the suggestion is made.

Make it clear you are just suggesting some pleasurable love play. You can both see where fancy takes you later.

30. Accept there are highs and lows.

No-one can live their life on a high of ecstasy.

You actually need quieter periods of calm. It is the same in your sex life. You couldn’t appreciate the times when it is pure joy if they didn’t occur against a background of a basically more earthbound sex life.

Be realistic and you are far less likely to end up disappointed.

31. Do you need a boost? If you often avoid sex when your partner feels like it, yet you can’t put your finger on any real reason, it can often be because you are out of love with yourself rather than with your partner.

It’s hard to feel sexy if you don’t see yourself as attractive and personable.

Get out of this self-punishing cycle and give yourself as big a treat and ego-boost as you can afford. It might be new clothes and hairstyle, or perhaps an adventurous trip away, learning IT or some other new skill, working for a qualification – whatever fits your personal bill and makes you pleased with yourself.

32. Time for a change?

If you often feel like making love but are rebuffed by your partner, don’t dig in defensively and blame their lack of sex drive.

Ask what’s wrong. Suggest they describe what would be their idea of a perfect evening making love. Bite back the tendency to start to defend yourself and argue and blame. Just listen, then go away and think about it.

Then try to come as near to their outline as possible. After all, if it leads to more loving, you will have lost the battle to win the war.

If they still shy away, then suggest that their problems lie deeper than they think and you’d better get help from a Relate counsellor.

33. Fuel your desires.

You won’t feel lively and energetic – sexually or in any other way – unless you provide your body with the right food to run on healthily.

This is probably more important as the years pass. If you are in any doubt whether you are eating the right diet for your lifestyle, your doctor will give you full details.

34. Stop smoking.

Smoking makes people smell and taste horrible.

If you smoke and your partner doesn’t, then you shouldn’t be surprised if they start to wince and turn away when you go to kiss them.

As you get older, smoking can seriously lower sexual responsiveness. All in all, smoking is the enemy of a good sex life.

35. Start exercising.

It’s hard to feel game for anything sexually if you are generally lethargic and out of shape. You don’t need to take up serious sport or hard exercise, but a toned up body is a more sexy body.

Get out for a good long walk once or twice a week, go for a swim, join a yoga class – anything that gives you more pleasure in your body will enable your body to give you more pleasure in return.

36. Stop comparing.

No more lectures on health – I mean stop comparing your present relationship with ones you have had in the past or what you imagine your friends and workmates enjoy.

Perhaps sex did more often seem passionate with your ex boyfriend or girlfriend, but the whole setting of your relationship was different.

It was all probably newer to you then, your lives and relationship less encumbered with family and domestic responsibilities.

You’ve no idea of the reality of friends’ and colleagues’ love lives. If it’s true they are more passionate, then remember that you are half your relationship, and you chose your partner because something in you responded to them.

Don’t lament what you’re missing but look at what you have and how you can build on it or change it for the better.

37. Take a break.

Even if you have children, parents, jobs, it’s perfectly possible to plan your lives so that you have one day a month off alone together.

You don’t have to do anything expensive.

A bus ride into the country and a peaceful walk will do you both a power of good – and if it’s warm there are all sorts of inviting private places to make love with a breeze on your face – a great reviver of flagging passions.

38. Try anything – once.

It never hurts to try anything just once – as long as no physical pain or risk is involved.

A willingness to experiment is a way of physically saying “I love you” which will keep a partner feeling desired and therefore desiring.

On the other hand, never go on agreeing to do anything that turns you off just because you don’t want to offend or displease your partner.

Your first duty sexually is to yourself. If you try to ignore your own feelings, in the end it will block your pleasure and responsiveness sexually and so rebound in the very way you least want.

39. Say “I love you” at least once a day.

But only if you mean it! Saying “I love you” on autopilot as you pick up your coat, or through clenched teeth when you really long to have a row, means those special little words lose all meaning the times when it would be sincere.

However, do make it a regular habit that you tell your partner how much you care. We reserved British tend to think our partner must realise, but no-one is a mind reader and it’s always a turn-on to be told.

40. Don’t let rows freeze over.

If you do have a row – and most of us do sometimes – don’t let it settle down into frosty silence.

You may not be able to resolve the issue in a day but, if you still feel awkward together – enough at odds that a kiss and cuddle would be out of the question, let alone sex – at least say to your partner how sorry you are that you are at loggerheads and put your arm round them.

That establishes the reality that you still care for one another in general and limits the conflict.

Chances are your partner will be more ready to appreciate your point of view after a friendly gesture like that in any case, and your love life won’t founder on icebergs.

41. Make each other over.

We are often very timid in our ideas of how attractive we could or dare to look. Save up to give yourselves a joint treat and spend a day at the shops choosing outfits for each other that you think make the other look their most attractive.

Don’t go for extreme clothes that they will never be able to wear in public.

Rather choose the sort of outfit you would be proud for them to wear to meet your friends. It can be a terrific confidence booster – and you get to see each other at your most attractive, hopefully for a good while to come.

42. Don’t take each other for granted.

So often men and women pull out all the stops when they learn their partner has been unfaithful to them.

It’s then they make all the extra efforts to look attractive, suddenly realise what they had been taking for granted, follow all the suggestions in a guide like this.

Don’t wait till disaster strikes your relationship – if it hasn’t already. Imagine how it would feel and take all those enjoyable precautions now.

43. Write love letters.

Remember how wonderful it was to receive a love letter, even just a little note left under the pillow? Restart the habit.

The occasional card or brief note will be treasured and more than repaid in love.

If it never seems to occur to your partner to make such a gesture, don’t simply seethe inwardly. Tell them that’s what you’d like – and set them a good example.

44. Focus on sensation.

Just as we experience pain more intensely if we think about it and picture the hurt, so it is with pleasure.

You can’t expect to experience intense physical delight if you aren’t totally focussed on what you’re doing.

Think about the physical sensations, skin against skin, every touch, caress and pressure.

Remember the most important organ of sexual pleasure is said to be the brain, so use it to concentrate when you make love.

45. List the goodies.

If you hit a patch when it all seems like too much trouble, or you are tempted to stray, list the good things about your relationship that make it worth preserving. If they outweigh the bad, throw your energy into making it work.

Think what it is that you’re missing and looking for elsewhere.

It often comes down to a break from routine, more fun and appreciation. All this can usually be had at home if you make a few changes – and without throwing all those goodies away.

46. Need quick thrills?

Some of us are adrenaline addicts and feel a real need of some adventure and excitement regularly in our lives.

If you get your kicks by playing around with relationships, however, you inevitably cause hurt and even wrecked lives – usually including a few children among the casualties.

You can calm yourself down to some extent by learning relaxation techniques and working out what’s really driving you, but some people will always find life flat without a feeling of danger.

If that’s you, then look for ways to supply that thrill other than through playing around with people’s feelings.

Sports can be the answer – running, diving, riding can supply a feeling of physical excitement – but playing anything competitively can add a thrill to life without breaking hearts.

47. Love hand in hand.

If your loving seems to be losing sensation for you and you find it harder to become aroused, try placing your hand over your partner’s hand as they caress you. This way of physically focussing on your love-making can make it come doubly alive.

48. Turn off the TV.

Television is a terrific source of entertainment but it tends to limit the attention we pay each other and the efforts we make to develop our relationships to the full.

Try a week without television – on holiday or at home. Playing games and talking more together often leads to our loving more together.

49. Don’t feel defeated.

If you find some of the ideas here would require you to make too drastic changes, don’t throw up your hands and think none of this is for you.

Go through the list and mark those you feel you could manage now, even if it’s only to suggest a day out and eat more healthily. Promise yourself you will add one more each week.

That still means that you could have transformed your relationship inside a year and become a far more exciting and physically satisfied – and satisfying – partner.

If the block is that you or your partner is suffering from a sexual problem that stops either of you enjoying your love life to the full, arrange to see a Relate sex therapist, or try the self-help sex therapy explained in my free leaflets listed below.

50. THIS IS IT.

It’s a good spur to work on your relationship, to ensure it’s as good as can be, to remind yourself every so often that what matters is what’s happening now.

Life isn’t a rehearsal. We can never know whether we’ll even have a future let alone what it will hold.

The past is beyond our control. What we can influence is the present. Let’s live it to the full.

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March 2, 2010 - Posted by | My Intrests | , , ,

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