En español | Maybe you fantasize about it, but face it: You don't really want to have sex with someone new. For one thing, strutting around in the buff in front of someone you met last Tuesday sounds about as inviting as jumping off a very high dive into a very cold bathtub.
See also: 5 secrets of successful couples.
But still, you wouldn't mind rediscovering that new sexual tingle with your same old cozy, comfy spouse. Can you get it back? Absolutely. Here are seven innovative ideas from two sex therapists.
Photo by Ned Frisk/Corbis
Make a Date. Set aside 30 or 45 minutes one night a week for a pleasure session with your mate. On the menu: Not your usual sex routine but a whole variety of activities, such as taking a shower together, trading massages and necking like eighth-graders. "The variety is the secret, not just making it goal oriented," says Suzanna Hillegass, a couples and sex therapist who has been married for 44 years. "You want to take the time to turn your partner on, which is something you knew how to do way back when."
Redefine Sex. "Redefining what you think of as sex can switch it up for you," says Dr. Gail Saltz, the Today show's sex and relationships expert and author of The Ripple Effect. "Rather than just intercourse, it could be mutual stimulation or stimulation with something you haven't tried before."
Spice Up Your Fantasy Life. It's easier to change your mind than to change partners, advises Saltz, who says seeding your fantasy life with some hot new ideas — whether or not they involve your partner — can be a path to hot new sex. If nothing exciting springs to mind, read Nancy Friday's My Secret Garden or Forbidden Flowers and borrow someone else's fantasies.
Talking about your sexual fantasies, without pressure from either side to actually carry them out, can create a sense of newness in a marriage, Hillegass says. The reason: "It takes a little risk to share your fantasies and adding that sense of adventure is what will make your sex life feel new again."
Think Small. Little shifts can make for big changes in the feel of your sexual relationship, Saltz says. "Put your legs where you haven't put them before, face in a slightly different direction — even really small movements can spice things up."
Change Locale. Empty nesters might explore places beyond the bedroom where they've been more or less confined by children for the past zillion years. "I'm not advocating for something that will get you in actual trouble," says Saltz, "but moving the action to different rooms or the backyard can make sex feel a little naughty, which adds excitement."
Play a Game. Hillegass suggests role-playing games, such as meeting your spouse in the lobby of a hotel and pretending you're strangers, but if that feels a little hokey to you (as it does to me), you can give yourself more of a script by investing in a game like Love Lottery, which lets you scratch off tickets that suggest sexual favors.
Accessorize. Saltz advises adding "accoutrements that don't require a 20-year-old's blood flow to make things hot: whipped cream, a cute nightgown, a sexy movie, a toy." Saltz, who made a recent video on keeping sex in your life when you have rheumatoid arthritis, says: "Adding things like pillows in strategic places can be exciting if they prop up sexy parts but can also make you more comfortable and make your partner better able to stimulate you."