It’s a well-known fact that most couples’ sex lives improve when they’re on holiday. Why? Well life stressors, such as work deadlines or kids sports days, are no longer on the agenda, and as the year draws to a close, most people start to wind down, ease into December with Christmas parties, and spend the summer with loved ones. I always try to get couples to use this time of year to re-establish lost connections and explore intimacy in their relationship again, as it’s a time when they don’t feel pressurised or stressed out. It’s a time when you can set up or re-establish good habits in your relationship, and use the time to prioritise each other. So many couples lose sight of their relationship over the year, and tend to put everything before the relationship. So spending some time focusing on you again can really make a big difference. This doesn’t mean swinging from the chandeliers, but rather getting back to basics or focusing on each other in slightly different ways than you’ve become used it.
In the field of sexology, foreplay is defined as ‘any intimate, quality time that we spend together as a couple’. This can include a lie-in or lazy morning in bed together, a romantic dinner, an intellectual conversation, a lazy weekend lunch or lying in the sun talking, to name but a few. What this means is that foreplay isn’t just what happens before sexual intercourse, but that it needs to be taken out of the bedroom as well, and include activities that make us both feel emotionally connected and therefore sexually excited by each other. Sex shouldn’t be just about the physical, and in fact, most couples who report satisfying sex lives are the ones who don’t restrict intimacy and sexual play to just times and places that are associated with sex, like the bed before going to sleep. If we feel more connected to our partners, we are more likely to want to be physically intimate with them.
Some of the best advice that the fabulous Dr Ruth passed on to me was that couples should never stop flirting. This involves hard work and effort, but the pay off is so worth it. And what a perfect time of the year to get back to flirting than summer! Send each other sexy messages or photos, buy her flowers, give him a massage, sneak off to make out at a party or braai, or exchange looks or touches under the dinner table at family events. The added excitement should increase your sexual desire for one another, and improve the physical intimacy in the relationship overall. I actually prescribe this to couples that consult with me, and it’s something so many couples forget and let slip early on. Make extra effort when you’re on holiday to re-establish this sexy, fun and important experience in your relationship.
With Christmas just around the corner, buying your partner a sexy toy, lingerie or an arousing lotion could be the perfect little stocking filler or gift for under the tree. Many couples ask me how they can introduce a sex toy into their relationship, especially if it’s never been a topic they’ve discussed, and I usually give the same advice: don’t just buy the biggest dildo you can find and whip it out as things get heated! First and foremost, you need to have a conversation. I always suggest to partners who are a little anxious to use an article, such as this, or one in a magazine, to open the conversation. So you can say, “Sweetie, I saw this article online today, and it was really interesting. What do you think about it?” Once the door has been opened to talking about this topic, start small with something you can enjoy using together, like a tingling lubricant or a little clitoral vibrator. If you both enjoy it, and want to take things further, then again have an open conversation about it and see what you’d like to try next; maybe a couple’s toy? Just start small and work your way up, keep conversation open and honest, and say no if you’re not comfortable.