KEEPING the sexual passion alive in a relationsip is no easy task.
A good sex life is not just about how much you do it, but how satisfying it is.
That’s accroding to Tracey Cox, relationships expert and author.
You and your partner may know everything about each other.
But when it comes to sex, how open are you about what turns you on (and off)?
Communication is the cornerstone of a vibrant sex life, Tracey says.
“Treats”, masturbation and initiation are also important.
Speaking to MailOnline, Tracey reveals your sex life might be in trouble if…
Sex feels like a chore
Tracey says it’s normal to occasionally think of sex as a chore, or do it simply to please your partner.
“What I’m talking about here is different: it’s feeling weary at the prospect of ALL sex sessions,” she says.
“Seeing it as something to tick off the ‘to do’ list, rather than a source of pleasure and connection.”
She says stress and not enough sleep are usually the two factors that drive a disinterest in sex.
“Too much of one, not enough of the other,” she says.
“Routine sex is the other biggie: predictability is a lust killer.”
You don’t masturbate
If you don’t masturbate, you’re missing out on “crucial” information, Tracey says.
“It’s how we learn what arouses us and what technique works to make us climax,” she says.
“Having regular orgasms reminds us how good sex feels, making us more likely to seek out sex with our partners.
“Physically, orgasms are good for you because they increase blood flow, improve circulation and heart health, reduce stress and promote feelings of well-being.”
She says people should aim to masturbate at least once a week.
But while stats show men tend to do it 2-3 times a week, women only do so once a week or less so.
You haven’t figured out what you like
How can you get the best from your partner, when you don’t even know what you want?
Tracey says “you have to know what you want, in order to ask for it”.
Once you and your partner know more about what you both like, the better the sex will be.
She says: “If you don’t know what technique suits you, what pressure and speed, where it feels best and when you like it, your chances of having a lifetime of great sex are extremely low.
“Think about what arouses you. Watching or reading something sexy? Running a fantasy in your head? Seeing your partner undress or naked?
“What part of sex do you enjoy best? Being stroked? Oral sex? Using sex toys? Dressing up and exciting your partner? How do you have most of your orgasms? What’s the most reliable way for you to orgasm?
“Once you’ve figured all this out, tell your partner.”
Your partner is a taker
Are you a giver or a taker?
Whatever you are – and Tracey says there is no perfect balance – you may feel hard done by in your sex life.
“If you feel like you do all the work during sex and your partner simply lies back and takes, resentment sets in,” Tracey says.
“If your partner rarely returns the favour by pleasuring you and it’s something you want them to do, speak up.”
Blaming your partner for being lazy or being a taker is not going to get you anywhere.
Tracey says: “Tactfully pointing out that the balance is uneven, will. (‘I love our sex but lately I feel like I’m the one making all the effort. Can we switch roles and I get to lie back and enjoy next time?’)”
One person always initiates
If your sex life is in the dumps, consider who always initiates sex.
Tracey says: “If sex doesn’t happen unless you suggest it, your partner is sending a clear message: I don’t really like having sex with you and only do it to please you.
“This is why initiating sex more often is one of the most important things you can do to improve your sex life.
“Not only will it make your partner happy, being the one to say ‘Hey, how about it?’ makes you feel sexier and more powerful.
“Shifting the power dynamic from ‘chased’ to ‘chaser’ increases confidence and libido.”
You don’t plan sexual treats
It’s one you’ve heard before – buy a new sex toy, a weekend away or a new set of lingerie.
But how often do you do it?
Tracey says: “Sexual treats are things you do together to celebrate sex.
“Turn it into an event. A way of showing each other that sex is something you treasure and look forward to.
“You might watch a movie or TV show with sex scenes you know you’ll both enjoy. Try something you’ve always wanted to. Have a bath with a glass of champagne, before heading to bed for a leisurely sex session.”
Tracey recommended a “sex treat” every month, or at least every two months.
You never “warm up”
Without warming yourself up prior to sex, you’re probably not going to enjoy it as much, Tracey sas.
We imagine “warming up” as the role of our partner. But Tracey says if you’re waiting around for it, take the initiative to do it yourself, or it might never happen.
“This might mean disappearing to the bathroom with your phone and a vibrator for a bit. It might mean having a bath and fantasising,” she says.
“Do whatever works for you to start sex ‘warm’ not ‘cold’ – you’re far more likely to enjoy it and climax if you do.”
You don’t talk about sex
Tracey finishes on her most important tip.
She says “it’s impossible to have a great sex life without good communication”.
“Being able to talk openly about what you like and don’t like in bed, discuss any changes you’re experiencing and how sex is feeling for you right now, without embarrassment or fear of being judged, is crucial,” Tracey says.
“It’s never too late to start talking about sex and it’s easy to start the conversation.
“Wait until you’re chatting comfortably, then say, ‘Have you noticed we never talk about sex together? I read an article saying all couples should do it. Shall we give it a try? It might be fun/interesting’.”