Anyone in a long-term relationship knows the experience of a dry spell (lack of sexual intimacy) from time to time.  Busy lives, opposite schedules, obligations and responsibilities, and even unmet emotional needs can all impact the frequency of sexual connection.

For some folks the dry spell extends way beyond a comfortable amount of time.  Tensions can arise, partners can become grumpy, and people can even start to question the relationship.

While it is normal to go through sexual ebbs and flows in a relationship, sometimes, it can become a habit that needs to be broken, before the entire relationship breaks for good.

Say Yes More Often

In the Gottman Method of Relationship Therapy one of the key features of a healthy, intimate, long term relationship is Turning Towards.

A long, drawn out dry spell may be the result of Turning Away too often. Turning Away is when you either consciously or unconsciously deny your partner’s bid for affection.

Most folks in a long-term relationship are making bids for affection all day, however, those bids can become unnoticed in the stress of busy lives.

In order to have sex more often it’s imperative to say yes to your partner’s bids for affection and Turn Towards. 

3 Ways to Say Yes by Turning Towards:
  1. Notice when you partner is asking for affection and say Yes. Often, this may come as a bid for emotional connection, an invitation for a deep conversation, or, the desire for a lingering kiss.  Turn Towards this bid and say Yes to your partner.  Sometimes, saying Yes to the bid for affection is all it takes to get the juices flowing and sexy time to spontaneously occur. 
  2. Ask for an equal exchange.  For some folks, sex has become a chore (I hear this all the time in my practice). One easy way to say Yes is to give your partner what they want in exchange for something you want ie: I will give you a BJ if you do the laundry. They are both perceived as chores but in essence, they are both important in the operations of a smooth household.  (This is not something that should take the place of great, quality, mutually beneficial love-making, however, it can break the dry spell for the time being).  
  3. Improve the quality of your sex life. One of the key ways to say Yes more often is to  learn new techniques and skills for the kind of sex you do want. When sex is top quality, rewarding, fulfilling and full of pleasure and orgasms then your Yes will come readily.  Start by saying Yes to learning new techniques.  You can schedule time together to watch instructional videos, take a skills enhancing workshop, hire a coach, plan a date to go to a sex toy store or engage in some erotic massage.

At the end of the day, you are both committed to the relationship and want a healthy, robust mutually satisfying intimate life. But the dry spell is literally taking all the juice and fun out of the relationship.  So why not try something new? Why not try saying Yes more often and see where that takes you?

Note: it is imperative that all sexual acts are 100% consensual.  If you are finding you are going outside of consent it is a bigger issue and therapy or relationship coaching is needed.

Have fun with this, try it on as a research project, approach with curiosity and let me know how it goes!

All the best,

Dr. Anya

Categories: Sex Education

Dr. Anya

Dr. Anya is a sexuality expert with over 25 years experience working with individuals, couples, and groups. Dr. Anya has a Doctor of Human Sexuality degree and is a certified sex educator and certified sexologist. Dr. Anya has a private practice in the San Francisco Bay Area working with individuals and couples and invites straight and LGBTQ people into her practice.