A couple came to me this week for their three-month check-in after seeing me regularly early in the year. With big smiles and loving glances at each other they said that one of the big changes for them was that they have instigated a monthly Date Day.
I am a big advocate of couples spending quality time together. Without it you lose connection, start feeling like house-mates rather than lovers, and sex becomes either a non-event or a Big Issue. I’ve written elsewhere about finding that connection in small ways throughout the day, and having chats together in the evenings. Those small connections are your ‘relationship vitamins’. But that alone is rarely enough, you need some longer, more interesting times together, so date nights are a great idea.
But…sometimes getting out in the evening can feel like more effort than it’s worth, particularly if you’ve got young children. You’re tired! So going out at the end of a long day (and week) can just add to the exhaustion (not to mention the expectation of having sex when you get home and by the time you’ve paid the babysitter and checked on the kids and got undressed and into bed…zzzz….)
The LoveLife Blog: guidance on mindful, bodyful, soulful loving!
Gabriel Garcia Marquez wrote the acclaimed novel 'Love in the Time of Cholera'. Now I'd like to write about 'Love in the Time of COVID'.
It would be easy to say there are more important things to focus on right now, but what is more important at this time than love and relating? And what better time to bring this to the fore, than now, when we are isolating ourselves?
So many of my clients say that they don't have time to connect. They are either too busy, too stressed or exhausted - and their relationships and intimacy suffer as a consequence. With this crisis, we can't be busy (except for our wonderful health professionals who are working so hard to protect us). A client case from this week exemplifies this. They'd had to cancel their overseas wedding scheduled for next month. As sad as this was, there was also a feeling of time and space, time to stop being so incredibly rushed and overwhelmed. Time to refresh and rejuvenate. Time to let their souls catch up.
From my column in Body+Soul
Question: I was wondering if you could help me reconnect with my husband as we’re both super stressed from this bushfire season. We live on the South Coast of NSW and our house has been extremely close to the bushfires – over the summer we’ve been evacuated a few times. We’ve been in a state of high stress for a couple of months now, and it’s taken a big toll on our relationship. It feels like my husband has switched to survival mode and can’t or won’t switch back, so there’s no room for emotional or physical intimacy. Is this normal? What can I do?
Answer: I’m sorry to hear the bushfires have had such a big impact on you. Being on high alert for so long, and so repeatedly is terribly stressful. In times of crisis our emotional, mental and physical resources automatically go into survival mode. We are totally switched on and focused, we are fully up-regulated with our sympathetic nervous system pumping. Adrenaline floods our body, our heart rate goes up, our air passages expand, our whole being is primed for fight, flight or freeze.
At times like these, when all our resources are directed towards survival, it is... read more
The neurotransmitter dopamine makes us feel good and positive and upbeat. When we have healthy levels of dopamine we have a positive outlook on life and have energy and motivation - and a better sex drive!
When dopamine levels are low we feel sluggish and down, the world is grey and everything is an effort - including sex.
To increase your sexual desire you need to do things that increase your dopamine levels.
It’s not just big goals though, any small achievement, especially if you take the time to notice it and reinforce the positive feeling will keep your dopamine levels up. In fact, it’s good to keep this in balance so that you don’t have wild fluctuations. So notice all the good positive things in life, take a moment to really appreciate them and keep the positive feelings going.
Exercise is great too. It doesn’t have to be intense, just get up off your butt and go for a walk! Walk to a... read more
Download Audio: Q&A: My Husband Is Having An Affair and I'm Relievedread more
... read more
From my column in Body+Soul
Question: "I’ve recently discovered my husband is having an affair. But I’m not upset about it – I’m glad. Glad because I haven’t fancied my husband for years, and this affair means the pressure to have sex has ended. Our love life was good at the start. Three children later though, and the chemistry just isn’t there.
Why don’t I leave him? I like our life together. He makes me laugh, he’s kind, and brilliant with our kids. We live in a nice house and have a buzzing social life. I don’t see why I need to end a perfectly good marriage just because I don’t find him sexually attractive. And I’m not prepared to wreck all our lives for the sake of his bit on the side.
I do feel uneasy though. I’m worried that he might admit his affair (and I’d have no idea how to react), or even worse, fall in love and want to leave the marriage himself. So, what’s my best move here – do I keep looking the other way? Or do I talk to him and work out a new ‘arrangement’ that keeps our marriage solid but our sex lives separate?"
I’m sitting in bed writing this, having just had breakfast in bed brought to me by my wonderful lover. It was just a cup of tea and toast, nothing flash, but what a difference it’s making to my day! It’s a small thing, but it’s a significant thing.
It’s the sum of these small things that set the quality of your relationship. Equally, it’s the sum of small neglects that stultify a relationship, flat-lining it. When a relationship flat-lines, there’s generally not a lot of sexual desire.
A couple I’ve been working with for a while announced at a recent retreat that... read more
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- #337: You Can't Search for Love. It's Already There. You Can Only Remove the Barriers to Let It In
- #336: How to Communicate Complaints Effectively
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- #334: How to Express Your Emotions Without Being "Emotional"
- #333: Q&A: We're Time Poor - How Do We Add Some Zing?
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- #327: Pace Your Sexual Interactions
- #326: Fly on the Wall Friday - my new Video Series
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