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We’re officially half way done with 2019. For some of you, this is good news because you’re having a good year and meeting your goals.
For some of you, this might set off some panic because maybe you have had a challenging year thus far, and/or let yourself down in one way or another.
I wonder, however, whether you have an opinion on the state of your relationship, and state of your sex life. Have you even been paying attention to it or have you been going with the flow?
If you have been more deliberate about the state of your union, how has that turned out? Any benefits to report? And what about if you have been going with the flow, where has that flow led you? In a nutshell, what is the state of your union and are you happy with it?
I think this halfway point is a wonderful opportunity to look at your life -- the love and life that you have created with your partner -- see where it is, in comparison to where you wish it was -- and then spend the next 6 months being more conscientious about what you contribute to it. As you do this, I would like to offer you a few different perspectives for your consideration.
1. You reap what you sow
If you grew up in Kenya at a certain time, I’m willing to bet that you heard this phrase many times. Usually, it was said in the context of punishment or some other negative consequences.
In this case, however, I invite you to hear it as a benign yet truthful statement.
If you sow/plant seeds of empathy and compassion in your relationship, you’re more likely to reap/harvest fruits of empathy and compassion.
If you respond to your partner’s fear and insecurity with kindness and gentleness, you are more likely to receive a kind and gentle response to your needs, regardless of what they may be.
If you sow seeds of effort in your sex life e.g. buying some lingerie, sending a sweet or sexy text expressing love, appreciation, adoration and/or desire, you are more likely to receive greater effort in bed -- perhaps more initiation of sex, a greater sense of sexual (mis) adventure, a more willing and present partner and/or a more attached, connected sexual experience.
In the same breath, be very careful about the kind of seed you sow.
If you sow seeds of discord, anger, hurt and/or criticism, you will surely reap fruits of anger, hurt, discord, rejection, a miserable sex life and even withholding of love, attention and/or affection.
Is that what you want? A sad, miserable, sexless, joyless relationship? Why win a battle to lose the war? You have another option, so choose it!
Remember: The fruit of a tree will always be greater in size and number than the seed of the tree, and that’s both the good news and the bad news. Choose wisely, for you will reap more of what you sow.
2. Feed the lion
I will illustrate this point by way of a short story.
There was once a little boy whose grandfather asked him this question:
My boy, there are two lions in front of you: a good lion and a bad lion. Which one is bigger? The little boy replied, “the good lion”, to which his grandfather responded that he was wrong.
The little boy then asked, “the bad lion?” The grandfather again told the boy that he was wrong. In exasperation, the little boy asked, “grandpa, which one is bigger?”
At this point, the old man told the boy, “the one you feed the most!”
I hope the point is clear but just in case it isn’t, the lion is your life and you must feed it. Even by not feeding it directly, you still end up feeding it so be careful what you have on your life and love menu.
If you want a more vibrant sex life, then you must feed that lion more. It would not make sense to desire more frequent sex if you don’t also contribute to that desire by initiating sex more often, responding to your partner’s initiation more often and being the sort of partner that someone would want to have frequent sex with in the first place.
Remember: no one wants to have sex with a prickly, thorny cactus so stop being mean, harsh or generally offensive to your partner, and start being kinder, more pleasant and cleaner; you would not believe the impact of hygiene on your sex life!
Sorry to be harsh but please, bathe well, brush your teeth -- and tongue, clip your nails and attend to your hygiene and watch your sex life bloom. If you’re single and you want a more active dating life, then you must feed that lion more. In simpler words, feed the lion that will give you more of what you desire.
3. Try something new
Regardless of whether you are generally satisfied with your sex lid or not, there is always room for something new. Research has shown that there is some truth to the old adage, “familiarity breeds contempt”.
In long term relationships, this can range from outright negative contempt or unhappiness to boredom, one of the big relationship killers. What heightens sexual desire? Mystery, newness, curiosity, and a general sense of not knowing the full story.
Try a different perfume, haircut or restaurant. Switch up your sleep wear, your phone habits, make up, grooming, even shower soap/gel.
Try new things together; you’ve never gone swimming with dolphins? Join one of the many local companies that will put together just such a trip. You’re always having lunch at the same restaurant(s) every Sunday? Why not whisk your partner away for a midweek lunch in a town one hour - or one night - away?
You’re too busy for a road trip or a flight? Why not deliver lunch to their office or have some “just because” flowers delivered on your behalf? Your partner normally does the cooking/cleaning/shopping/child care? Why not do it before they even ask for help? Spend time together in the kitchen or bent over a bucket of laundry as you chit chat away? My point is, step outside of your comfort zone and do something unexpected.
Remember: nothing is sexier than effort. Watching someone labor over you, making an effort to make you happy, has got to be one of the world’s greatest and most effective aphrodisiacs. Take advantage of that knowledge and use it!
As you weigh and make an honest assessment of the state of your union and sex life, I hope that these pointers are useful to you. My hope for you, my readers, is that you will continue to taste and see growth and satisfaction in your lives, in and out of bed.
Maggie Gitu is a Marriage, Family & Sex Therapist and can be reached at [email protected] or at @MaggieTheTherapist on Instagram