Are you a once-a-night or a once-a-month kind of couple? Do you enjoy giving each other massages or run a mile when your other half suggests a back rub?
Take our quiz, answering A, B, or C for each question, to see how your sex life stacks up, then discover the expert ways to improve your love life – whatever your results.
Q1. How often do you have sex with your partner?
- Nothing for weeks, and then lots at once
- Maybe a couple of times a week?
- Not enough. I’m sure everyone has more than us
Q2. Do you take tablets, smartphones or e-readers to bed?
- Yes – we often fall asleep watching films or reading
- Depends – if I’m really busy I’m always checking my emails
- Never – all our technology stays out of the bedroom
Q3. Have you ever used anything to spice up your sex life?
- Taking a break together tends to rev things up
- We’ve dabbled in toys and massage oils
- We have an account with an ‘adult’ store
Q4. When was the last time you just cuddled your partner?
- Err… last week? I can’t remember
- At the weekend. But that was it
- Last night. Then one thing led to another…
Q5. How healthy are you generally?
- I get quite a lot of colds and I’m always tired!
- I do a bit of exercise but love my food too
- I’m currently training for an event or to lose weight
It’s seems like your sex life is buried under the rest of your life! Your first step is to stop taking gadgets into the bedroom – the National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles reveals we’re having less sex than 10 years ago; one theory is that modern technology is distracting us from spending time with our partners.
While it’s great to focus on sex during the holidays, you need to maintain that intimacy back home. You may want less sex as your needs inside or outside the bedroom aren’t being met: you may feel unsupported with issues like stress, unemployment or family arguments. Talking to your partner about what you need both in and out of bed can bring you closer together. Most importantly, having more sex improves your sex life! Kissing, cuddling and orgasms all increase levels of the bonding hormone oxytocin, upping your intimacy.
If you’re really struggling, visit your GP to rule out any conditions that could be affecting your sex life. Diabetes, heart disease and depression can cause erectile dysfunction in men, while depression, anaemia, or an underactive thyroid can cause low libido in women.
Your sex life sounds perfectly normal; surveys show the average couple has sex two to three times a week, but this can become predictable. When you first meet, sex is spontaneous and instinctive but over time this changes. We don’t eat the same foods we did when we first met, so why would we be happy having the same sort of sex? Talk about any new desires with your partner to help reconnect.
Couples can also fall into the ‘all or nothing trap’; it’s either full-on sex, or granny pecks on the cheek. One trick is to reconnect with each other mentally. Desire exists in the space between you as individuals, so maintain that sexual tension by pursuing your own hobbies. Then arrange date nights, where you get to talk about your activities outside the relationship. It will help keep you both interested and interesting to each other.
Why not try taking some natural libido boosters? Medical herbalists often recommend horny goat weed – it’s said to have a similar effect to Viagra, increasing sexual arousal and performance – while damiana has been used since the Mayans as an aphrodisiac.
Although you may be relating physically to your partner, what about emotionally? For many men, sex is their only source of intimacy so it could be a substitute for discussing their feelings. Some women may also feel pressured into having sex just to keep their partner happy.
Sex is much better as part of a supportive, communicative relationship. Experts say loving sex helps us feel noticed and valued in a relationship, creating intimacy, and reassuring both partners that they are loved. Check your partner’s needs are being met in bed, and discuss any concerns you may have too.
And while exercise is great for enhancing your sex life – it boosts body image, mood and confidence – too much can deplete your sex hormones, reducing sex drive. Sex is a great fitness routine on its own (20 minutes can burn up to 150 calories) but make sure you’re really connecting with your other half, rather than simply seeing them as a horizontal workout.
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This article has been adapted from longer features appearing in Healthy, the Holland & Barrett magazine. Advice is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please check with your GP before trying any remedies