When life gets busy (and when isn’t it busy?), it’s easy forsexto become the very last thing on a couple’s never-ending to-do list.
But what about those long-time couples who somehow find a way to prioritize sex no matter what? We asked sex experts to tells us what these happy, healthy and sexually satisfied relationships have in common. Read on to find out what they had to say.
1. They build time for sex into their schedules.
“Many couples think scheduling sex is a sign of trouble. They want sex to be spontaneous and organic. In an ideal world, that would be great. But life gets in the way, and unless couples are intentional about having sex, it is often one of the first things to go by the wayside. Couples who carve out designated time for sex intuitively understand the importance and value of sex. They seem to appreciate that sex has psychological and physical benefits. Somehow, they just get it.
Couples who schedule sex send an important message: ‘You are important to me, our sex life is important to me. I value my (and your) sexual satisfaction.’ And just to be clear, just because you schedule sex doesn’t mean it has to be boring or the same every time. You can spice things up with novelty. Each partner can take turns setting the mood, suggesting new positions, or initiating role play or acting out fantasies.” ― Kimberly Resnick Anderson, sex therapist
2. They are comfortable talking about sex.
“Couples in sexually satisfying relationships know how to communicate turn-ons and turn-offs, what feels good, what doesn’t, when they’re in the mood, when they’re not, and all in a way that’s constructive, positive, safe, secure and without fear of judgment. But more than that, they also know how to communicate in the language of arousal: how to talk about their fantasies, how to share in real-time all the pleasure they’re experiencing in their own body as well as their partner’s and how to move the process of arousal forward with the mouth, not just their genitals. They know that the language of sex in the bedroom is not always the language of relationships outside the bedroom and that if you’re in a safe, secure relationship you can also express your individual sexual desires and even objectify your partner.” ―Ian Kerner, sex therapist and author ofShe Comes First: The Thinking Man’s Guide to Pleasuring a Woman
3. They understand the value of one-on-one time.
“Couples in sexually satisfying relationships understand that great sex doesn’t just happen naturally; it takes effort. You have to nurture your relationship inside and outside of the bedroom. We’re all busy these days, but your relationship ― much less your sex life ― can’t survive on the scraps of your time and attention. You need to be willing to prioritize quality time alone together over just about everything else in your life. You need to put away your cell phones and turn off the TV, and just be together. You need to make the effort to go on date nights, dress up for each other and seduce each other.” ―Vanessa Marin, sex therapist and creator ofFinishing School, the online orgasm course for women
4. They stay curious about their partner’s turn-ons, which may change over time.
“One way that we help a lot of couples create lasting sexual connection is having a deeper conversation and learning about what really turns each of them on, not just physically but psychologically. For instance, getting curious about whether your lover wants romance or dominance and submission, and what they really want to feel from you during sex is so important. When each person in the couple is fully curious about the other’s turn-ons and wants to give them generously (within their personal boundaries, of course!), couples’ sex lives really thrive. We call this guest-starring in each other’s ‘hottest sexual movies.’ This way everyone gets to have the sex they like the most, taking turns or bridging if the desires are different.” ― Celeste Hirschman, sex expert and author of Making Love Real
5. They laugh together in and out of the bedroom.
“This may sound silly, but laughing is a great aphrodisiac. If you are laughing with your partner, you are likely playful together and able to enjoy each other’s company. Laughing in bed (notateach other butwitheach other) is a sign of ease and lightheartedness that allows couples to feel positive emotions and ‘let their hair down.’ If it has been a long time since you really cracked up with your significant other, you may be stuck in negative sentiment. This occurs when positive regard and good will erode and resentment overshadows playfulness. Sharing humor or creating your own inside jokestriggers the release of endorphinsand produces a general sense of well-being. Laughing also reduces stress hormones, which can help couples relax and be open with one another.” ―Kimberly Resnick Anderson
6. They keep those sexy sparks flying in everyday life.
“These couples keep sexual energy in the mix throughout their lives together, creating anticipation by sexting with each other, keeping an ongoing sexual conversation and a doing a quick make-out here and there ― even when there isn’t enough time to do the deed!” ―Danielle Harel, sex expert and author of Making Love Real
7. They try to reserve the bedroom for two things: sleep and sex.
“An older couple I worked with established a rule that they have abided by for over 40 years. They never discuss business in the bedroom. One night, the wife brought up a business matter in the middle of the night. The husband put on his bathrobe, started a pot of coffee and told his wife to meet him downstairs to discuss. They did and later went back to bed satisfied with each other. While this may seem a bit rigid, I fully agree with the concept. I see this with my younger couples where they get so absorbed with life’s daily struggles that they permit too much of the outside world to enter their world. With my practice, I try to encourage couples to develop or maintain their own intimacy. This could mean actually limiting some verbal communication, texts, news and just communicating via touch and other gestures of love.” ―Douglas C. Brooks, sex therapist
8. They don’t expect perfection.
“In my sex therapy practice, I see so many couples who want sex to be like in the movies, every single time. The reality is that sex is awkward! You fall out of position. You fumble over dirty talk. You accidentally poke your partner in the eye. Couples who can have a sense of humor about these moments are so much happier in the long run than those who get mortified by any tiny imperfection.” ― Vanessa Marin
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.