Sex is a key component of happy relationships. "It's something you do with your partner that most people don't do with anyone else, so it sets the relationship apart and makes it special," says clinical psychologist Ursula Ofman, Psy.D.
, the experts share the bedroom routines that set these super happy couples apart from the rest:
They believe in their sexiness.
"One of the most important sexual habits happy couples have is assuming their partner is turned on by them," says Ofman. "It reinforces the feeling of mutual sexual interest." Ofman has found in her practice that this is a key element since most women assume that their men always behave this way because that is just the way men behave. They don't realize that their partners are particularly turned on by them. It seems like splitting hairs but this distinction can make all the difference.
They don't underestimate the little things.
Happy couples know that you don't have to make a big display and production out of things to keep it steamy. "A simple phone call at lunch to say, ‘I miss you’ can make your lover’s whole day, a sexy text message can prime you both for an evening of intimacy, and a meaningful touch on the arm or even hand-holding while walking the dog can really restore your connection," says Madeleine Castellanos, M.D., author of Wanting to Want: What Kills Your Sex Life and How to Keep it Alive.
They focus on the positive.
"Happy couples share what they enjoy in a positive way, rather than focusing on what they dislike or being critical," says Jane Greer, Ph.D., author of What About Me? Stop Selfishness From Ruining Your Relationship
. Even just saying "I enjoyed it when you did such and such" can go a long way to helpings things out, says Greer. Speak up when something hurts or feels uncomfortable but otherwise, focus on positive reinforcement. If he's got a move that doesn't work for you, redirect him to something that really will get you vibrating.
They make time for sex.
Even if you aren't doing it every waking moment like you did when you first got together, doesn't mean your partner shouldn't be a priority on your to-do list. "People feel sex should come naturally. It's true, it should, but we have a very busy culture where there's a lot of distraction and chronic exhaustion," says Ofman. If you have to schedule your sex, schedule your sex! Ask each other how much you need to stay happy and then make it happen.
They set aside time to fantasize.
Whether they share these fantasies with each other or keep them to themselves, happy couples aren't afraid to think about it. "Fantasizing is a great way to prime the pump for your heart and passion to soar," says Castellanos. "Don’t be afraid to push the envelope a little. There’s no judgment in the world of imagination."
They don't put too much pressure on themselves.
It would be wonderful if every time we had sex it was perfect. Like the movies. But this isn't reality. "Happy couples don't feel like sex has to be spectacular every time," says Ofman. "It's not a performance sport. It's a mindful experience with each other." Don't focus on the fireworks, focus on being in the moment with your partner.
They're responsive no matter what.
This doesn't mean having sex when you aren't interested, but it does mean not fully shutting down when you aren't in the mood. "Happy couples are willing to be understanding and open about their partner's sexual desires, and they're responsive even if they're not necessarily always in the mood," says Greer. "Maybe they don't want full-on sex, but perhaps a hand job. If not, they'll make a plan to connect sexually at a later time or the next day. They don't just say 'No.'" Make it clear that it isn't a rejection of your partner, it just isn't the time.
They're psyched to have sex.
If you'd rather be watching TV than have sex, you can bet your partner can tell. "Nothing is deadlier than the perception that someone is only participating because they feel obligated," says Ofman. People, women especially, in happy relationships get themselves excited for how much fun sex is for them too. They don't just think about it in terms of their partner's pleasure. "Thinking about what's pleasurable or erotic for you instead of just doing it for him makes you more likely to have a good sexual experience," says Ofman.
Are you in a happy, sexy relationship? What are your secrets?