Great athletes don’t begin their game on the field or the court or even the locker room. No, they begin their training long before they reach the arenas where the action takes place… they start the process in their minds. Most of us aren’t in the athlete category, but we can all take a lesson from the way they use mindset to get results.
We all know how important mindset is when it comes to achieving goals at work or meeting difficult personal challenges like quitting smoking or losing weight. But you may be surprised at how helpful developing the right mindset is when it comes to something ostensibly ‘natural’: creating a passionate marriage or relationship. How you think about sex and what you know about you and your partner’s particular and unique sexual makeup may be some of the most important thinking you can do to spice up the bedroom in your relationship!
1) Acknowledge the fragile, elusive nature of sexual desire
You might feel a twinge of sexual arousal only to discover it’s gone in the next moment. And if it’s like that for you, it maybe like that for your partner. So how do you get yourselves in sync and make it happen?
Modern life, with its competing demands of home and work and personal development leaves little room for things that might require a slow burn. Therefore, do what you can to arrange time/place/circumstance to give the fragile, elusive nature of desire space to bloom. (That often means scheduling for sex… as unromantic as that might sound, the results will make you forget you scheduled the time.)
2) Understanding the relationship conditions that foster healthy sexuality
Because sex is very much about bodies (no kidding, right?), people assume that they don’t need to educate themselves in that regard. Nothing could be further from the truth. You’ve probably heard that “the biggest sex organ is between the ears.” It’s true that the brain plays a huge part in creating and maintaining a healthy sex life.
Educate yourself about the relationship conditions that promote a satisfying sex life (for instance, healthy communication between you and your partner that helps to build trust and deepen emotional connection; nonjudgmental discussions about your sexual desires and fantasies). The more you learn about what it takes to keep a relationship overall strong, the more you will create the kind of loving, supportive, smart atmosphere that will allow sexual intimacy to flourish.
3) Celebrate your differences with your partner rather than trying to steamroll them
A relationship is a beautiful, elaborate, often complex dance between two very different people. No matter how much you and your spouse/partner may have in common, you are unique individuals. The challenge of a relationship and of intimacy in particular is to celebrate how different you both are and then incorporate that uniqueness into the union itself. Trying to flatten out your differences into a one-dimensional whole will always backfire. Leave the steamroller on the asphalt.
4) Foster an atmosphere of curiosity and acceptance to spice up the bedroom
Being curious about our world is part of what makes life exciting. (Curiosity may have killed the cat, but notice that satisfaction brought him back!) When we are curious, we are open-open to wonder, surprise, novelty, growth. If you already have a script written for how sex between you and your spouse/partner should go, you’re missing out on grasping that shimmering wonder.
Be curious not only about what your partner might desire, but be curious about your own desires (don’t assume you know all of what you want just because you’ve been ‘fine’ with a certain status quo in the bedroom). And further, be accepting of yourself and your partner. Nothing shuts down intimacy faster than judgment.
5) Learn how your past may be impacting your sex life?
Our pasts are our pasts, end of story… right? Not always. To deny how our pasts may have shaped us is to block information that might benefit our relationships. The attitudes that our families of origin held about sexuality are a contributing factor to our current mindset. This doesn’t mean you need to be ruled by those old scripts if they don’t suit you now, but it does mean that you must acknowledge them (bring them into the light, as it were) before you can let them go.
6) Explore, play, discover
When we take ourselves too seriously, we tend to feel overwhelmed or beleaguered. There certainly are aspects of life that need to be dealt with in a somber way, but sex with your partner shouldn’t be one of them. We often find the most enjoyment in life when we can approach things with an attitude of play (it’s no coincidence that people report feelings of joy when pursuing a hobby or when vacationing… those are forms of play).
Allow yourself to explore, play, and discover when it comes to your intimate relationship. Letting go of the overly-serious mindset can open you up to the carefree abandon associated with play… an abandon that fosters great heights of enjoyment.
And an added perk: what you might discover about you and your partner in the process can foster a higher level of emotional closeness, too.
7) Decide for sex and then put the effort in
Although TV and movies make it seem like great sex happens naturally and organically (magically!), nothing could be further from the truth. Just like anything that’s truly important in life, a regular, healthy sex life between committed people requires a decision (there’s that mindset again) and then the requisite effort applied.
This might sound like work to you, but what it really is is a means of fostering a healthy habit and a relationship mindset. If you simply wait for the “perfect” time to come along to get physical with your partner, you might be waiting far too long. (And studies show that when sex simply doesn’t happen in a relationship where two people need/want it, that absent sex can hijack even good aspects of the union.)
Work life and home life are busy and will stay that way. Therefore it’s up to you and your partner to decide that sex matters enough that you will decide for it and honor it with the effort needed. Couples who have a great sex life have earned that sex life… they didn’t just sit around to see if they would be one of the “lucky” ones.
So when it comes to intimacy with your partner, take a page from the great athletes’ book and acknowledge the importance of off-the-field education, visualization and strategy. Before you shop for sexy lingerie or book that weekend retreat, develop the right mindset. When it comes to sex, your thinking is key!