Aleks Trkulja

Want to spice up sex with your long-term partner? Here’s how

Switch things up with these hot tips from relationship and sex therapist Aleksandra Trkulja 

Introducing something new to your sexual repertoire can seem daunting, but it’s nothing a little communication can’t help you with. Here are my tips on how to level up your sex life in a long-term relationship.

1. Know yourself

As people, we adapt to new circumstances, change in new conditions and grow over time. It's only natural that our sexual needs and preferences evolve over the course of a relationship too—stay connected to yourself and be aware of those changes.

This means making time for you. This might involve making time for solo pleasure, following where your fantasies lead you, or engaging in embodied practices like breathing exercises, dance, meditation or yoga.

'It's only natural that our sexual needs and preferences evolve over the course of a relationship'

2. Do your research

Let’s say you want to incorporate toys into sex with your partner. That’s great! Start by discussing what you might like and what they might like and go from there. Read articles, watch reviews, and buy a few to test together.

Many people want to try a threesome. Talk with your partner about how you envision this might work, or chat with friends with more experience. You might also consider going to an expert by hiring a sex worker.

Non-monogamy is all the rage, but it’s not always as easy as it seems. Consider listening to podcasts or reading books on the topic. Many people might also benefit from discussing it with a relationship therapist.

If you want to get kinky, it’s important to be clear in your expectations and boundaries. You can read online forums for a bit of context, but for a more hands-on approach, you might attend kink classes which you can do solo or together.

3. Talk to each other

Talking about your sex life doesn’t need to be awkward or uncomfortable. If it is, you might consider seeking professional support from a sex therapist. A therapist will likely try to help improve the communication culture between you and your partner.

You can do this by talking openly about your sexual relationship, any new ideas, sexual hang-ups or fantasies. Doing this normalises open and transparent communication, which is essential to trying new things.

Be mindful to treat every idea with respect and curiosity and check in regularly. If you can, avoid ‘yucking’ your partners ‘yums’ since this damages the trust you are trying to build.

4. Respect your partner’s boundaries

Sometimes your partner may not be as enthusiastic about some of your desires, so be prepared to hear the word ‘no’. It is normal and healthy for people to have boundaries: negotiating around these is part of the process.

Keep in mind that when your partner says ‘no’ that they are declining a suggestion, not spurning you. If you tend to personalise rejection, that’s okay, but consider working through it in therapy where you can learn to manage the unhelpful thoughts that tell you it's personal.

Remember, ‘no’ rejects a request, not an individual. If you’re a sensitive soul and personalise rejection, that’s ok! Consider working through it in therapy where you can learn to manage unhelpful thoughts that tell you it’s personal.

'Being kind to yourself is crucial as you build your confidence and acquire new tastes'

5. Be receptive and take things slow

Trying something new can be intimidating, and sometimes something our partner says might make you feel inadequate—resist the urge to shut things down! Instead, use this as an opportunity to explore this feeling and what it might mean for your sex life.

It’s normal to feel nervous about trying new things. Being kind to yourself is crucial as you build your confidence and acquire new tastes. If you feel stuck or lost, it’s always helpful to recruit the support of a professional that can provide you with strategies and resources.

Introducing newness into your sexual relationship can be daunting, but it can also be exciting. It requires clear communication, knowledge and patience. Take things slow... there’s no damn rush!

Aleksandra Trkulja (she/her) is a sex-positive therapist based in Eora/Sydney. Her therapeutic practice is founded within intersectional feminist and queer theories. Aleks has specialty training in sexuality, sexual function, body image, and relationships.

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