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7 Realistic Tips to Jump-Start Your Sex Life

Photograph by Twenty20

I know what you're thinking: Great, another article telling me the secret to a better sex life is buying sexy lingerie and reading "Fifty Shades of Grey." While there is nothing at all wrong with a bit of silk and lace or an erotic novel, those are merely the frills of a good committed sex life. Here, based on 25 years of marriage experience and five years of motherhood, is my no-frills, practical guide to jump starting your sex life.

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1. Whenever possible, go to bed at the same time.

Different bedtimes can wreak havoc on intimacy. Even though my husband gets up for work about two hours before my day starts, we still try to go to bed at the same time. It's nice to end the day together, especially since I'm barely coherent when he starts his day.

2. Put sex at the top of your to-do list.

Prioritizing sex makes all the difference.

It may only be a mental to-do list, but we all have a list of things we need/want to do each day. Prioritizing sex, putting it at the top of the list, makes all the difference. What's sexier than knowing your spouse has doing you at the top of his to-do list?

3. Remember you are partners as well as parents.

Parenting is hard work, and I'm glad I have a husband who is there every day to share the load. But it's easy to get so focused on the parenting that we forget we're also lovers and friends. He's not just the father of my children, he's the man I'm wild about. That truth can get lost somewhere between bedtime and bath time, so we make sure to plan regular date nights to remind each other.

4. Focus on the foreplay.

And by foreplay, I mean talking. Hey, kissing and touching are great and I encourage it, but it all starts with communication. I love long conversations with my husband—it's how we reconnect. But between work, the kids and life in general, we can go days without having a good, long talk. We've learned to use whatever means we can to communicate how we're feeling, even if it means texting each other from different rooms while we're putting our kids to bed.

5. Don't compare it to what it used to be.

Comparing quantity instead of focusing on quality is a libido killer.

Here's the truth: We used to have more sex. When the relationship was new, we were younger, we didn't have kids, and life wasn't as busy and complicated. But it wasn't as good, as intimate or as fulfilling as it is now. That's the truth. Comparing quantity instead of focusing on quality is a libido killer. And whenever the situation has shifted and we've had a few days alone, the sex has surpassed anything we had when we were younger, both in quality and quantity!

6. Don't wait, initiate.

In trying to be respectful of each other's feelings when one of us was going through a particularly rough time, there have been a couple of times my husband and I almost killed our sex life with kindness. He thought I would initiate sex if I were up for it, I thought he would initiate sex if he was interested. You know what happened? We didn't have sex! We've learned to talk through the tough times and found that sometimes sex is the best medicine.

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7. Give up the guilt, sideline the stress.

I'm a worrier. I want to fix things. But I've learned over the years that worrying about whether we're having enough sex, or whether it's been too long since the last time we had sex, is a sure way to put me in a bad mood. Letting go, focusing on the overall quality of the relationship and communicating any issues we're having before they snowball into a real problem has always led us straight to the bedroom.

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