How to break out of a sexual routine with your partner

By Louise Head

You’ve started to notice that you don’t even bother to take your t-shirt off for sex anymore. You’re feeling uninspired. You and your partner still have sex but it’s just...blah. When did this happen? 

Routines aren’t always bad, but when sexual encounters with your partner begin to feel predictable and unremarkable, it’s normal to find yourself daydreaming about that spark you used to have.

Though long-term relationships tend to get a bad rap when it comes to ongoing sexual desire, people in relationships tend to have more sex and more orgasms than those who are not in a relationship. The average person in a relationship has sex once a week while the average single person has sex every two months. This is most likely because, in a relationship, you have consistent access to a sexual partner. However, more sex does not necessarily mean satisfying sex. 

What counts as routine sex is different for everyone. There is no right or wrong way to have sex as long as it is consensual and pleasurable to those involved. Sex only becomes a problem when something about the frequency or the quality is bothering you.  

When you do find yourself in a spell of unsatisfying sex, the advice that’s often given is to spice things up with fancy new toys, advanced sex positions, or some kink-inspired bedroom play. Though these can all be wonderful ideas, what’s often missing from this advice about breaking out of a rut is focusing on what types of pleasure and connection feel authentic to you and your partner.

Here are some tips to help you figure out what will work for you. 

Pull from your past repertoire 

Being in a sexual routine with a partner means you’re feeling like sex with that person is not as good or as exciting as it was before. So go back to that before. What did you and your partner used to do that made sex more engaging and satisfying? Rather than trying to incorporate new sex acts that might not feel totally natural, it can be helpful to bring back old moves that definitely used to be an inherent part of your connection.

Perhaps oral sex used to feature more regularly in your playtime but now you can’t remember the last time you sat on your partner’s face. Or maybe it’s been a long time since you had sex anywhere but in your bed. Maybe you miss getting in the shower with your partner and messing around underneath the water stream. 

Identifying the specific forms of physical connection that were already natural and enjoyable to you and your partner will make them much easier to integrate back into your sex life than finding a completely new sex act that you’re just hoping will startle the both of you into feeling something. 

Identify shared desires 

Some people end up feeling that if they’re going to break free of a sexual routine, they need to do something wild and sexually surprising. This is definitely not a bad idea! However, you want to let genuine, personal desire direct you towards new sex acts rather than let yourself be directed by what sounds salacious on paper. 

When your goal is to step a little bit outside of your comfort zone and explore something sexually new, it can help to sit down with your partner and discuss which possibilities would actually turn you on. Maybe your partner suggests a strip tease but, for you, the idea of being watched as you shimmy around in lingerie makes you squirm in discomfort. Probably not the right direction for you. Maybe you share that you’ve been curious about anal play and your partner agrees it’s something they can see being a turn-on. Perfect! Now all you need is some good lube and your fingers to start. 

Play without pressure 

Make time to focus on pleasure instead of orgasming. You and your partner can set a timer for twenty minutes and agree that neither of you will come before then. This way, you have unpressured time to be playful with each other, rather than goal-oriented in your sexual touch. You can switch back and forth who is giving and receiving pleasure every few minutes. Purposely avoiding orgasm requires you and your partner to go slower, communicate, and try different positions and sex acts within one sexual encounter, which tends to break up the ten-minute-sex-in-one-position routine. 

You do you 

When it comes to sex, there will always be a million opinions about what makes a good and satisfying sex life. We all get lots of messages about how often we should be having sex, how often we should have an orgasm, what types of toys we should own, and what types of sex acts we should feel comfortable with to be an empowered sexual being. 

The truth is, all of us have a completely unique sexuality. In a world that constantly wants to tell you how you should be sexually, it is so important to pay attention to what genuinely attracts you, makes you hot, and fills you with desire. If you and your partner can get back in touch with this part of yourselves, it’ll be hard for that routine to keep hold of you for long. 

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