#1: Putting your sex life on auto-pilot
In my 25+ years of teaching and coaching, I’ve noticed there are 5 big mistakes couples make with sex. In this 5-part series, I’ll break down each one and what to do about it so you can be the sexual rockstar of your own life and keep that flame lit. The first mistake is that couples get so comfortable, they put their sex life on auto-pilot. Or they just fail to give it any real attention. (More on that later in this series.)
They just put it on cruise control and coast along, not even noticing where they are or what time it is. Sex becomes systematic and rote.
Maybe they have sex in the same place at the same time on the same days of the week in the same position and with pretty much the same outcomes.
Why do couples make this mistake?
If you’ve been in a relationship for awhile, it’s easy to think that because you love your partner, great sex will automatically materialize out of all that yummy love.
Especially if that’s how it was at the beginning of the relationship, right?
It’s a romantic notion—and a common one.
I’ve seen couples work subconsciously from the expectation that their sex life should be great because they connect well emotionally, have a good life together, or feel like they are best friends who can finish each other’s sentences.
But they don’t acknowledge this assumption (or even know it’s there), and so when sex becomes lackluster, sometimes they lose precious time and YEARS of frustration wanting more, yet they never take any proactive action about their sexual life…beyond getting mad and fighting about it because it’s so frustrating.
Probably the most common, yet detrimental approach to sex is putting it on autopilot.
The Roots of Auto-Pilot Sex
This comes from the greatest lie we all learn from media and culture about sex and love: that sex should happen organically and that it’s “natural.” That when you love someone it will explode like fireworks. That your own instincts will take over and you’ll just KNOW what to do to make your partner purr with pleasure.
If only it were that simple!
Sex isn’t actually natural. It’s learned. It involves instincts, but great sex is not instinctual. It doesn’t magically work because you love someone. Sex doesn’t just click because romance is in the air.
We see images of this effortless sex scenario all the time in movies and on TV, but sex takes work and attention. It requires knowledge to do it well, and your sexual satisfaction is directly proportional to how much energy you invest in learning how to have great sex, please your partner, and please yourself.
Yet most people will never show up to an adult sexuality class or read a sex book.
How many couples are making proactive, regular sex dates so that it is a clear priority?
How to get off auto-pilot
Put your energy where your mouth is, or your mouth where your energy is.
If you are never willing to invest in your sexual life financially, energetically and with your time, it will stay relatively the same. Like anything you do nothing to, it will sit there either barely running at a slow clip or it will wither and die.
You will not rise above the sexual mediocrity that most of the masses tell themselves is normal.
Yet you can have an extraordinary sex life. So much is possible, yet most people never allow themselves to have more because they never ask for help or, God forbid, get caught educating themselves about sex.
They don’t do things that will make their partner receptive and open to sex, and follow through with making some hot sexy time happen.
If your idea of giving your sex life energy is picking fights with your partner and letting them know how unhappy you are, you probably already figured out, that doesn’t work. It’s a surprisingly popular approach though.
You’ve got to do proactive things that will enhance your sexual life and communication in a healthy way. If you’ve been fighting about it, okay…at least it’s on the table. Now, talk to your partner and make a plan.
How to Create an Honest Conversation about Sex with Your Partner
In the article, “The Role of Sexual Communication in Couples’ Sexual Outcomes,” the authors state, unsurprisingly, “Our findings revealed greater amounts of sexual communication were associated with increased orgasm frequency in women and greater relationship and sexual satisfaction in both sexes.”
No surprise there. If you express what is working and what you want, and work together for improvements, you will see some.
Talking about sex can feel vulnerable or hard to do for a lot of reasons, but once you break the ice, it gets easier and the potential benefits are huge.
If you are in agreement that you want to improve your sexual life, decide on some questions that you want to answer together. Each of you take them and write about them so you answer them honestly for yourselves…then show up to the conversation with each other, notes in hand, ready to talk openly.
Here are a set of questions you might discuss with your partner:
- What isn’t working for you and for me in sex? (mismatched desires, not enough time spent on sex, bored, not getting mutual satisfaction, no orgasms, etc.)
- What would improve those things for me? (Be as specific as you can be.)
- What is my/our vision of a fulfilling, exciting, enriching sex life? (Paint a clear picture of what you ideally want.)
- What new experiences would I/we like to have that would reinvigorate our intimacy? (They might be different—each of you can make your own list and then share it—somewhere there will be a ven diagram, which is your sweet spot. To make this easy, download my Yes/No/Maybe list below.)
- What actions would get our sexual life off of auto-pilot? (Think about the proactive things you can do to stay sexually motivated and engaged.)
- How can we invest in our sexual life together? (What books could you read or classes could you take together? Is there a new experience you could have or a coach you could work with? Might you plan sexy vacations designed around having great sex?)
- Finally, make commitments to yourselves and to each other for how you will actively engage in your sex life. Just making the commitment will infuse your lair with new energy and excitement that can go a long way.
The sex life of your dreams will only happen off auto-pilot
If you want to get off auto-pilot, you get to take the wheel and guide the vessel. No time like now to drive down all those sexy streets you’ve been meaning to explore. You need sexual guides for your sexual life, just like you need doctors for your physical health and a mechanic for your car.
Now, what are you willing to do for that dreamy sex life so you can get out of the rut and release your built up frustration? It will not happen on auto-pilot.
There is no auto-pilot when it comes to sex—that will only lead to self-destruction. You must take the wheel and drive the car. That means making bold choices in service to your sexual self and your relationship.
You might be surprised by how much intimacy and satisfaction this awakening process generates.