McDonald’s built an empire by cooking the exact same burger billions of times.  By eliminating variety, McDonald’s customers will know exactly what they will get.  While effective in the burger business, uniformity does not work when it comes to a sex life.  Long-term partners easily fall into patterned routines which degrade sexual excitement.  When each sexual experience is the same, boredom results.  High excitement is one of the factors which makes sex pleasurable.  Routine sex is the bane of long-term committed relationships, and intensifies a relationship’s vulnerability to infidelity.

    In a common relationship aging process, partners eliminate from their sexual repertoire activities that produce anxiety or discomfort.  Sex play that used to be fun, edgy or even kinky is abandoned as relationships age. Partners settle into comfort with each other.  Couple after couple votes for emotional security over excitement. What is routine can feel safe and secure, but it is also walled off from the variations and risks inherent in life. Safety provides freedom from fear of failure or embarrassment.  

   Excitement is generated by novelty, surprise, and breaking barriers.  Of course as relationships age, partners grow to know each other very well; not just the good about each other, but also the bad and ugly.  The difficulty of negotiating partner differences cause partners to seek the safety of emotional distance.  Routine sex allows partners to enjoys sexual pleasure without the vulnerability that comes from openness; but it also produces a sleep-walking kind of mechanical, disconnected sex.

    By risking a journey outside your comfort zone, through trying new ways to give and receive pleasure, causes emotional growth, a deepened connection and greater aliveness.  A way to wake up your sex life from sleep-inducing routine is by initiating a positive, non-critical conversation with your lover, in which a desire for change is expressed.  Creating change unilaterally, without your partner’s agreement is likely to backfire. Three great books may guide your exploration, by detailing hundreds of ways to give pleasure.  The “Guide to Getting it On,” by Paul Joannides is an excellent compendium of everything sexual. “The Joy of Sex” is the classic sex manual by Alex Comfort.  The Multi-Orgasmic Couple by Mantak Chia provides a path beyond routine and into ever deepening pleasure.  Finally, “The Illustrated Perfumed Garden,” adapted from a16th century text, illustrates dozens of positions for intercourse.  A warning here: several of the positions may require chiropractic care afterwards.  Together with your partner, looking through these books can inspire a conversation about what each of you may be willing to try next.  Pursuing variety does not mean that you discontinue setting personal limitations.  On the contrary, it is normal to “draw the line” somewhere by excluding acts which you find repugnant.  Yet expanding your comfort zone will always cause some discomfort, so expect it, but doing so will reward you with growth. Try to be open to something new.

    Increasing the variety of your sex acts is not the only way to battle bedroom boredom.  The amount of excitement partners feel when stimulated is in direct proportion to both how deeply relaxed each partner is and the depth of the loving connection they share.  When together, if you and your partner are intensely, meditatively relaxed, the same old sex acts will be sparked with a highly-charged, positive intensity.

    Two ancient spiritual traditions, of Tantra Yoga and Taoism offer methods to incorporate deep relaxation into sex play, thereby dramatically deepening partner connection. At the same time sexual excitement is greatly enhanced.  When experiencing ourselves deeply, boredom is eliminated and satisfaction is expanded. Exploring such techniques potentially heightens sexuality into the realm of the spiritual where the quality of life both in and outside the bedroom is improved.

    A quest for greater sexual excitement is really a desire to feel more alive.  Sex is a great place to start.  

Andrew Aaron, LICSW