Sex therapist Jacqueline Hellyer.
Sex therapist Jacqueline Hellyer.

When sex becomes a chore and how to fix it

My husband and I don't "make love" anymore when we have sex.

We've been married for 15 years and are pretty happy, but we both work and have two young kids under 10, so there's not really much time or energy left over for a raging sex life. I don't need firework sex all the time, but I do want more tenderness, to feel more connected and, yes, more cuddling! Where do we start?

A reader has asked sex therapist Jacqueline Hellyer on how she and her partner can feel more connected.
A reader has asked sex therapist Jacqueline Hellyer on how she and her partner can feel more connected.

Answer: Your situation is so common. In fact, the 'we love each other but have lost our mojo' clients would have to be my largest category of client - especially those couples who have young kids and busy lives.

And the body+soulmates Sex Survey 2019 found that 28 per cent of Aussies want more tenderness in bed.

I'm happy to hear that you understand how important a sexual connection is for your relationship and that you want to work on it - that's a great place to start, because some people just give up at this stage.

Sex, or as you rightly call it, making love, is an essential part of bonding as a couple, which in turn makes you better as individuals, too.

Without that confidence that a strong bond with your partner provides, you can start to feel disconnected, irritable and flat.

But for the connection to happen, it has to be quality sex.

Disconnected or obligation sex can actually leave your relationship and your own sense of wellbeing worse off.

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So, what is quality sex?

It's certainly not falling into bed late at night when you're exhausted then rolling on top of each other for some ho-hum intercourse. That's dullsville for most people - more like 'getting each other off' at best, or hoping it'll end soon at worst.

HAVE YOUR SAY: Do you agree with our survey results? Want to share your thoughts on sex? Take part in our survey online at bodyandsoulmates.com.au

Quality sex is more about your approach than your technique. Bear with me while I get a little scientific here. You can't get into quality sex if your mind and body is at either end of the nervous system's arousal scale.

On the one end, if you're hyper-aroused, you may be feeling stressed and overthink things.

At the other end, if you're hypo-aroused, you'd be feeling tired, to the point that you'd find yourself checking out and just wanting to veg out in front of a screen.

Sex starts way before you get to the bedroom.
Sex starts way before you get to the bedroom.

So, here's my secret to great loving in a long-term relationship - I call it the "chilled build". That's when you focus on connecting in a low-key way and allow the desire and arousal to build from there.

Sex starts way before you get to the bedroom.

In fact, sex should permeate the whole of your relationship, starting with how you greet each other first thing in the morning, which should be with a smile and a positive greeting.

Keep it going throughout the day with small acts of kindness and showing interest in each other, and then finish with some quality "us" time.

Sex therapist Jacqueline Hellyer.
Sex therapist Jacqueline Hellyer.

Once the kids are in bed, get on the couch or bed together, put your screens away, play some music, get snuggly and have a good chat.

The key is to focus on each other.
The key is to focus on each other.

Leave the life logistics out of it and focus on each other.

Talk about your hopes, dreams, interests and memories.

Enjoying each other's company in a relaxed and engaged way is the perfect state to be in physically, mentally and emotionally to create a real desire to take your connection to the next level and move into intimate, gorgeous lovemaking.

After that, keep the loving going by drifting off in each other's arms into a deep, satisfying sleep. Then wake to a loved-up, refreshed greeting. And so the positive feedback loop continues!

HAVE YOUR SAY: Do you agree with our survey results? Want to share your thoughts on sex? Take part in our survey online at bodyandsoulmates.com.au



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