When work stress, family obligations, and other responsibilities take over, it’s often natural for sex to be put on the back burner. With so many distractions, you might be wondering how to get in the mood for sex.
Getting in the mood for intimacy all comes down to emotional connection, relaxation, and communication.
Of course, sex is always a two-way street. It’s normal for libido to ebb and flow, so if your partner isn’t in the mood for sex, no amount of baths or talking will convince them — so you must respect their wishes above all else.
If you’re both looking to foster physical intimacy, we asked an expert for her top tips on how to get in the mood for sex.
Talking about sex may feel awkward when you’re going through a dry spell, but it could improve your sexual satisfaction. Couples who talk openly about problems in the bedroom have better sex lives, according to a 2019 study published in The Journal of Sex Research.
“Communicating about sex has more impact on sexual satisfaction than how often you have sex,” says Michaela Thomas, a clinical psychologist and founder of the Thomas Connection.
“Without sharing your thoughts and feelings about your sex life, you can't make changes to it, and you run the risk of not being satisfied sexually,” she adds.
“Having regular chats about your likes and dislikes in the bedroom, and your stressors outside the bedroom can help deepen your empathy and compassion for each other, leading to more meaningful and connected sex.”
Feeling stressed out from work or just the general treadmill of life? Thomas says that stress is a common inhibitor of libido, and relaxation can help get you in the mood.
“If you’re focused on your to-do list, you're less likely to be in the mood. Soothing yourself through a warm bath can ease your stress levels, but even more important is to address the reasons for the stress in the first place,” explains Thomas.
“Deep breathing can also help you to calm your fight or flight response, which can make lust more likely. We don't think about having sex when we are in survival mode.”
The brain loves familiarity, so while a partnership can be comforting, it can also feel boring. A change of scenery or a vacation can not only make you feel relaxed but also spice up your sex life.
Vacation time drives marriage satisfaction, increased intimacy, and overall happiness. One survey went on to reveal that nearly half (48%) of Americans would be “more likely” to be intimate with their partner on holiday than they would be at home. While 77% of Americans reported that vacations were important to the overall health of the relationship with their partner.
If you’re just texting your partner about household chores or reminders to pick up some milk, then you can’t expect them to get in the mood fast when they get home. Switch it up and surprise them with some racy sexts, meaning they’ll be ready to jump into bed as soon as they get home.
“Building anticipation can really get couples in the mood, as it adds playfulness and builds tension,” explains Thomas.
“Sexting your partner can create a longing for closeness, using your imagination to set the scene. Visualizing what you'll do together later can get you going, through the fantasy.”
But one warning: “Just be clear on what boundaries you hold. If you prefer suggesting things just in texts and not actually live out those fantasies in real life, let your partner know.”
Above all, getting in the mood for sex is about building up anticipation naturally, without forcing it. It’s about enjoying the build-up.
Create a romantic experience for your partner, woo them with a special dinner, and run them a bath (and make sure the kids are staying with friends or family). Many of us are also guilty of not being present in the moment, so switch off your phones and truly listen to each other.
“Take the pressure off yourselves to 'perform', as performance anxiety can kill the mood,” adds Thomas.
“Get out of your head and into the moment by focusing on what's right in front of you. Tune in with your five senses. Let go and have fun!"