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How to Improve Your Sex Life

How to Improve Your Sex Life by Eric Rosenblum, LMFT, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist

One common reason couples come to see me is that they want to improve their sex lives. Often times, one partner wants sex more than the other. The reasons why members of a couple aren’t having sex are often mysterious, especially to the couples themselves. Sometimes, one member of the couple is unhappy in their own life and this unhappiness makes them feel unsafe and unwilling to share their sexuality with their partner. Sometimes, couples have fallen into sexual ruts: they play out the same ‘sex script’ (a term made popular by the wonderful writer and therapist, Ian Kerner, in his book So Tell Me About the Last Time You Had Sex) every time they do it, and that script may have been written to please one partner more than the other. Sometimes sex never came very easily to the couple.

Those are just a few of the many reasons that couples don’t connect sexually—it’s usually some combination of multiple factors. Cases in which couples are trying to improve their sex lives are some of my favorite to treat. If couples are coming to see me, that means they’re willing to put in the effort, and that willingness, plus a bit of patience (and a good therapist), are what it takes to make meaningful progress in improving one’s intimate life.

As with all cases, I take a holistic approach when working with couple clients who want to improve their sex lives. In sex therapy, we’re not always talking about the sex itself, because there are so many other factors that impact the health of one’s sex life. We begin by talking about each individual’s history, their mental health, their relationship history, and the couple’s relationship dynamics outside of sex. We discuss how sex was talked about in their families of origin—there’s often so much shame around the act—and I take a sexual history for each partner.

We begin exploring the clients’ erotic templates by discussing the couple’s peak sexual experiences; this is an approach described by the late sexologist Jack Morin in his seminal book The Erotic Mind. By examining a couple’s best sexual experiences, we begin thinking about what turns them both on and where their desires converge.

We eventually move on to the “sexual menu,” an idea that renowned sex therapist Suzanne Iasenza (a mentor of mine) introduced in her excellent book Transforming Sexual Narratives. The sexual menu involves clients making a list of whatever comes to their minds when they think about the word ‘erotic.’ They then share their list with me, item by item, and we discuss in detail what about their list excites them. This gives all of us a better sense of what might be the keys to the clients’ sexual hearts.

For some of us, our innermost sexual desires are too private, too precious and delicate to talk about. That’s fine, too. The hope is that beginning to talk about and explore these things in therapy will help clients become comfortable enough to introduce their fantasies and desires in the bedroom. Once couples gain the freedom to really explore what turns them on, sex will naturally happen more often and with greater pleasure.

 

About the author

Eric Rosenblum, LMFT

Therapist, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist

I work with clients who are seeking to deepen the intimacy in their relationships, feel more connected and confident in themselves, and create meaning in their lives.

  • 🎯 Direct
  • 💙 Warm
  • 😃 Humorous
  • 🎨 Creative

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