No one wants to admit it but you’ve probably experienced a dry spell, whether you’ve been single for awhile or you’re just not connecting with your partner. Maybe that last online date sucked so bad you completely gave up on men. Or the kids’ social lives combined with your work load are a recipe for a s*xless marriage. But here’s the good news: There are plenty of ways to reboot your s*x life. We tapped experts to get their best advice for jumping back in the sack.
1. Don’t jump right into the main event
“Foreplay is very important,” says psychologist Dr. Paulette Kouffman. “Women produce oxytocin, a hormone for bonding and trust through mental, emotional and physical foreplay. The author of The Book of Sacred Baths: 52 Bathing Rituals to Revitalize Your Spirit says foreplay will put you both in the mood for s*x, but more importantly, create that emotional connection that has been missing.
2. Just relax
Yes, you might be nervous connecting with your longtime partner because it’s been a long time (or with a new one, for obvious reasons). “S*x doesn’t have to be perfect and it can be messy. In fact, getting in your head with worry is just the thing that will kill desire,” says Kouffman. She says to be present and focus on giving and receiving pleasure. “This is not about judgment,” she adds. “So, focus on the positive, more meaningful things — not the rusty mechanics—and the physical connection will follow.”
3. Get a “s*xover”
You’ve heard of a makeover, right? Well this is sort of the same thing. Whether you’re a shaver or waxer, groom your armpits, lady bits, and legs. If your underwear drawer is looking drab, stock up on a few lacy underthings (but don’t break the bank, of course). Get a mani and pedi. A blowout is a great idea, too. The goal is to exude confidence and sexiness — and to show him you care. “Looking good on the outside helps you to feel good on the inside. When you look sexy, you feel sexy,” says Kouffman. She also says to set the mood with dim lighting, candles and fresh sheets.
4. Hit the road
“Nothing spices up your sex life like travel,” says Jo Piazza, author of the forthcoming book, How To Be Married. “A change of venue and scenery transports the mind and makes your partner seem like a whole new person.” Think big or small. A romp in Paris can be just as sexy as an overnight stay in a cute local B&B — the idea is you’re out of your element, where kids aren’t tugging on your pants and dirty laundry isn’t staring you down. “Even the challenges of travel can be sexy,” says Piazza. “Missing a flight, or navigating around a new city where you don’t know the language will build a new kind of bond and it is wildly sexy to feel like you have accomplished something new together.” Oh and lumpy beds don’t have to be a disaster, either—they can actually ignite uncontrollable laughter between you two, and become an inside joke.
5. Go on a date
“In the long term, sex can get stale,” admits relationship and etiquette expert, April Masini. “Having date night, or even just pizza and a bottle of wine in front of the fireplace is a way to slow down, reconnect, prepare for sex mentally and physiologically, and to transition from a busy day to a sexy evening,” the author of Ideas For a Fun Date Night, says. Going all out isn’t a bad idea either. Make a reservation at a restaurant that has meaning and wear heels. The goal is to avoid quickie sex just because you haven’t connected in a while. Take your time.
6. Have a solo masturbation session
“Masturbation is a way to get to know your body, and many women really don’t,” says Masini. “In fact, there’s a huge number of ladies who’ve never had an orgasm, and this is a great way to educate yourself on sexual pleasure with your body as the template.” Now that you’re a pro, the sexpert says to bring what you learn to bed. “He’ll be happy to learn tricks and secrets that only you know, because he wants you to be sexually fulfilled and he doesn’t always know how to please you the way you do, so sharing what you learn alone is going to be a big plus when reigniting your sex life.” Also, knowing that you pleasure yourself will turn him on and if he asks for a little show? Go for it.
7. Take the lead
A dry spell can create yearning so … jump him! Why? Masini says men love it when women take the initiative with sex. “The traditional stereotype is that men are the ones with the sex drives and women are the ones who need convincing, or just have an attitude of ‘do it to get it over with.'” Masini says if women take the lead and make it all about him, he’s going to realize you do care about banishing the dry spell. Give him oral until he can’t take it, then switch to a back rub. Position yourself on top so he knows who’s boss.
8. Literally pour water over the dry spell
Take a sexy shower together. “Lather your bodies up against each other and slide them together like a human washcloth,” says sexpert and author of NeuroLoveology, Ava Cadwell. Draw a romantic bubble bath and invite him for a dip — chances are he won’t say no if you’re in there soaking wet and waiting for him. The key to breaking a dry spell is to do something out of the ordinary to signal that enough is enough. How often do you have time for leisurely baths? Not often.
9. Watch a romantic movie
You don’t need porn to get in the mood. (In fact, some porn can be so crass that it’s a turnoff.) Instead Cadwell says watching romantic movies together can increase your chances of making love, especially when they have a passionate love scene, so make them a weekly ritual. The Notebook, Silver Linings Playbook and Breakfast at Tiffany’s are all great places to start.
10. Mix it up
“If you want to break free from your familiar sex routine, take your sex life outside the bedroom,” says sex expert Dr. Emily Morse. “Have sex in the car, on the kitchen floor, on the stairs, or even in the backyard. Be as daring and adventurous as you’d like as long as it’s acceptable to both of you. If you’ve always wanted to have sex outdoors, start off in your backyard or on your balcony and work your way up to racier locations.” Morse, who hosts the podcast Sex with Emily, says all that matters here is the thrill of new places—and new sex moves to go with them.