SGR 010 | Bringing Sexy Back
Do you remember when you first started dating?
You just couldn’t keep your hands off each other.
You looked forward to every kiss, hug, and touch because it felt electric.
That sexy connection was the glue that made you feel bonded and excited about being together.
Flash forward to today:
As your relationship progressed and “life got in the way,” there seems to be less time and effort devoted to that sexy part of your relationship. You find yourselves functioning more like co-parents, roommates, or friends, rather than romantic partners.
Where did the sexy go?
We all lead busy lives and have to juggle multiple schedules and responsibilities. Unfortunately, what tends to get pushed to the bottom of our to do lists are the very things that help preserve that sexy feeling.
Date nights, alone time without the kids, and intentionally making small romantic gestures for our partners fall the wayside.
Noticing the sexy is missing from your relationship is one thing, but talking about it can be very difficult and requires immense vulnerability. It’s missed by both of you, but neither knows how to go about getting the feeling back.
This week, we’re talking about:
- What made that sexy feeling go away
- Why it’s essential to bring the sexy back
- How to recreate a partnership where the sexy can thrive
- Practical tips to bring the sexy back and keep it around for good
We’ve also got a really fun bonus - How To Have A Sexy, Reminiscent Conversation on Date Night - to help you bring the sexy back into your relationship.
Short on time? Here’s a list of today’s topics and when to listen:
- Why is it important to bring the sexy back? - 2:53
- Why did the sexy go? - 5:30
- What are you doing differently? - 8:24
- Smallest unit of sexy - 10:58
- Practical tips - 12:54
- Reminiscing about the sexy - 13:01
- Making time for sexy - 15:26
- Finding your own sexy - 16:45
- Sexual roles in your relationship - 17:46
- Date nights - 20:21
- Act like teenagers - 22:17
- Meredith + Marina’s takeaways - 26:31
Meredith: Hey there, and welcome to episode ten of the Simply Great Relationships podcast. We’re so glad that you could join us today. I’m Meredith Silversmith, and this is Marina Voron, and we’re really excited to bring you this episode on “Bringing Sexy Back.” It’s a good one.
Marina: It is. I’m very excited.
Meredith: I know. Marina loves talking about bringing sexy back. Make sure you stay with us ‘til the end because we’ve got a really good bonus for you and we’ll tell you how to get it.
Marina: You know, I love talking about sex and intimacy and pleasure enhancement but I feel like the umbrella, and the foundation for all of that is what I call “The sexy.”
Meredith: The sexy.
Marina: Because I feel like you need to have the sexy in order to have the sex.
Marina: And at one point in everyone’s relationship, the sexy was definitely there. That’s kind of what draws you together. It’s that initial phase, the rose colored glasses, the chemistry. The sexy was there. The sexy is a big part of what made your relationship bloom and what happened to it?
Meredith: Where did it go?
Marina: Where did the sexy go? We want the sexy back.
Meredith: So there’s a lot of reasons why the sexy goes away. We talk about the honeymoon phase, you know, things in the beginning. It’s not simply a function of being together with one partner for a long period of time. It’s also how your life and relationship grows. So you become a homeowner, you become parents, you take on more work responsibility. Things tend to happen as we move forward in our lives. So, where did it go? It could have been chased away by work stress, by having a baby, by having too much going on and just feeling super overwhelmed or just not feeling connected to your partner anymore.
Marina: Mhmm. To go along with that, it’s like sex has started feeling really routine. Sex has started feeling like a chore. Even worse than I really hate this one, sex has started feeling like an obligation.
Meredith: Mmm yeah.
Marina: Not sexy at all.
Meredith: Yeah. No.
Marina: When the partner dynamic is skewed so when you start feeling not like partners but like roommates or like friends or what’s extremely unsexy, we talked about this, parent-child dynamic.
Marina: Those are all not sexy. Those are all not conducive to creating a sexy atmosphere in your relationship.
Meredith: Definitely not. So Marina, why do you feel like it’s important to bring the sexy back?
Marina: So many reasons. I’m so glad you asked. Well, I guess the question I always ask people is, “How did it feel in your relationship when the sexy was there?”.
Marina: The answer is, it’s important to bring it back because that was an awesome feeling. That was a really, really great feeling. You felt really attuned; it was fun, it was light, it was connected. Sexy has a really, really positive effect on the couple’s dynamic.
Meredith: Mhmm. Yeah.
Marina: And I think it’s something that’s extremely important and when there’s a lack of… it’s missed. It’s really missed. So that’s why I always think it’s important to keep the sexy in check and if it’s not there, to bring it back.
Meredith: Mhmm. And you know, as you were talking about the things that can go awry and sort of chase it away, you have to shift back to a dynamic of being equal partner it’s in order to rebuild the sexy, right? So you have to consider, “Okay, what made us feel like equal partners in the past? What were the things that made our relationship feel good outside of the bedroom?”, right? It’s not just sex is related to sex, and emotional intimacy is related to emotional intimacy. Everything is interrelated.
Meredith: Yeah. Absolutely.
Marina: Yeah. It’s really important to feel like your partner is your partner. Think about it like this and I know it’s almost like a silly and redundant thing to say, but you only wanna sleep with your partner.
Marina: You don’t wanna sleep with your friend, you don’t wanna sleep with your parent, you don’t wanna sleep with your child… You want to sleep with your partner.
Marina: Get that back.
Marina: That’s priority number one. We’ve discussed this in a few of our previous episodes. We touched on this in communication; we touched on this in four horsemen, so that’s episode one, episode four. We touched on this when we talked about accepting influence. We talked about this in compromise. So this is a really, really important concept but also really important to bringing sexy back. And the big question to ask yourself is, “How did it feel different when you’re partners? What felt attuned? What felt nice? What felt connected?” It’s what made you cope… A lot of times, I hear couples and tell me if you experienced the same, like scapegoat why the sexy went away to “Oh, the life was so easy and now, it’s so hard.”
Meredith: Yeah. “We didn’t have kids.” It’s usually like icy, like “Oh well, that was before we had kids.”
Marina: “It was before we had a mortgage.”
Meredith: “That was before we got married.”
Marina: “It was before I took on this high-stressed job.”
Marina: The reality is you’ve always had obstacles in your life because before you got married and had kids, you were dealing with looking for a job and paying student loans and moving out of your parents’ house. You know, you’ve always had obstacles. You were just able to face them and cope with them in a different way. That was like sexy-preserving as opposed to sexy-destructive. So, it’s not about scapegoating onto “Well, we didn’t have kids, and now we do.” It’s "how did we deal with and look at these obstacles in a way that made us feel like partners and in a way that was really preserving to our in… to having that intimate environment in our relationship."
Meredith: Mmm. Did you approach it right from a place of sort of “It’s us against the world, and we’re a team, and we do things to support one another, and I know you have my back, and I have your back”, versus starting to feel like opponents or like you’re living parallel lives and just sort of doing your own thing.
Marina: Yeah. It’s, “How did we keep that partner dynamic?”, you know? And the other things like shifting more to even focusing on the sexy is, “What made us attracted to each other? What turned us on? What sexy stuff did we do? How did we prioritize sex? How did we prioritize intimacy? How did we prioritize touch? How did we prioritize complimenting each other? And what is taking that time up now?” Most of the people where the sexy is a little lacking, you’re not practicing tantra where it’s taking you five hours to have sex. Sex doesn’t take five hours. It’s enough to block out an hour once a week and I know you have that hour.
Meredith: We know it’s there and you can go back to our episode on the division of labor and start using Fresh Direct or Amazon, and you’ll get that hour back.
Marina: Yeah, exactly. So, what was the stuff that you really liked doing and how did you prioritize it then?
Marina: You know. What are you doing different now?
Meredith: You know what I hear a lot when we talk about that? I hear what’s… it’s so funny that you say that. So couples whereas they’ve gotten older, one partner has started to snore so they’re no longer going to bed together. They’re no longer sleeping in bed together, and then that has naturally created an impasse where they had a routine of having sex at night before they went to bed or in the morning when they woke up. That’s an impasse. I’m hearing that…
Marina: And also, the bigger message that sends when you’re no longer sharing a bed with your partner, there can be a lot of rejection and hurt feelings internalized even though it’s rationalized away by snoring.
Meredith: Yeah, or no longer going to bed at the same time. That’s something that a lot of couples used to have as a ritual and now either if it’s kids or “me” time or working late or exercising or whatever it is, some shift has happened where now, “We don’t go to bed at the same time. I come to bed, and he’s asleep, or I come to bed, and she’s asleep,” and that’s the same…
Marina: Which is almost the same thing.
Meredith: Yeah! It’s very similar. You’re losing the natural rituals that you had in place.
Marina: Yeah, and then another one is a lot of couples I know shower together but then that falls off, and I think naked time is sexy time even if it doesn’t lead to intercourse, it’s still something sexy you’re doing together. Cuddling or spooning when you’re on the couch. Again, and these things fall off and you scapegoat them to kids or this or that, when really it’s, you need to take some ownership and say “This fell off because we let it fall off.” And a big question to ask with that is, “Why is it important to make time for this again now? What feeling are we trying to chase here? Why is it important to bring sexy back in our relationship? And more importantly, what do we miss about the sexy?”.
Meredith: Yeah. Identifying those things that you have something very tangible that you’re working towards that you could sit and think of those feelings and those times in the past and say, “Yeah, we do wanna get back there.” So it’s gonna be worth it to put in these small changes.
Marina: Yeah. And I like how you said the word tangible because I always tell couples to break it down, “What is your smallest unit of sexy? How do you measure that in your relationship?”, because again, we talked about, a few times, when it comes to bringing the sexy back, you wanna do small things, small investments, big payoffs. So identify what is the smallest unit of sexy and what I mean by that is what’s the smallest thing that you do that makes you feel that feeling of attraction of desire, of lust, of sensuality, of sexuality. Is it an intimate hug? Is it the six-second kiss? Is it a certain kind of touch? Is it of romantic cuddle or maybe a naughty cuddle? All of these things are literally seconds to minutes. They’re not huge investments. They’re such small investments, but you’re compounding those units of sexy, right? The more you do them, the more sexy you’re bringing back into your relationship. It’s just important to identify, what is that smallest unit of sexy that is effective in your relationship?
Meredith: Yeah. That’s a good one to consider because again, these things don’t take hours and hours. This is something that in theory could take six seconds. You know, what can you not do for six seconds honestly?
Meredith: So, that’s a good one.
Marina: And there’s a quote that I really love. John Gottman, again. We shout him out a lot. He says, “Every positive thing you do in your relationship is foreplay,” and that’s a really good frame of mind to go into this with. What are those small, positive things you can do that bring the sexy back?
Meredith: Yeah, absolutely! So Marina, can you give us some practical tips for bringing the sexy back?
Marina: Sure can. I sure can! One of my favorite things to have couples do and one of my favorite things to do with George is reminisce. Reminisce about the sexy, old days, and here, I have to have to have to make it super clear that you’re reminiscing and doing it in a positive way. You’re not shifting it to, “Well, you never do this, and you never do that.” This is a true sitting and reminiscing about dates you’ve had, what stood out, what was hot, what worked, what was sexy, what made you feel great, that vacation sex you had, the first vacation you took together or that date night you had three weeks ago or that first make out session you had in your car on your first date. What was so hot about that? When you replay that in your mind, what kind of feeling does it give you? How does it make you look at your partner in that situation? What’s really positive and awesome about that experience? I think reminiscing about that does a lot of positive things. One of the things that it does is, I think is extremely pertinent is it shows you that you already inherently have this scale in your relationship. You’ve already done it, so you know how to do it. This is not a new learning curve you have to go through. All it is is you’re saying, “These are things we’ve already done. They were awesome. We’re bringing back that sexy feeling. We’re talking about these sexy, positive interactions”, awesome! "We already have those skills. We already got it. We have it locked down. How do we build on them?"
Meredith: Yeah! That’s not overwhelming. You know, when you remind us that it’s not something new. This isn't something you haven’t done. It’s just, you know, again, prioritizing, investing the time and energy, keeping it top of mind and making a conscious decision every day to do these small things is all we’re talking about.
Marina: Mhmm. Another one is, make a little bit of time for sexy on a very frequent basis. This is going back to What’s the smallest unit of sexy”. You wanna identify that unit and you wanna identify like is it kissing? Is it cuddling? Is it a sensual hug? Is it like literally a butt-grab in the kitchen? Those things that are really little and sexy. Frequency, right? They’re really low stakes, so you can do them really frequently. So make time to do them frequently. Set the intention to do them frequently. If you haven’t already, download our “Just the Tips” sheet from episode three to see what some of these, to see some ideas what some of these could be or again, you’re reminiscing on your date night. What were some of those little sexy things that you used to do all the time? Figure those out and do them frequently. Frequency and consistency is really key here.
Meredith: Yeah! Small things often.
Marina: Yes! Small things often is the key to success.
Meredith: Mhmm! Definitely. And I mean, tapping into your own sexy. So, Marina, I know you had mentioned that. What did you mean by that exactly?
Marina: So, I know we talked about this in episode three a lot. So, if you haven’t listened to that, go back and listen to that. Connecting with your sexual self, exploring what feels good to you, understanding your desires, your needs, your fantasies, your intimate self better, allows you to be a better partner, allows you to verbalize that more, allows you to advocate for what you want more. Don’t hold your breath for your partner to figure it out because you’re setting your partner and your relationship for failure. Do your own work. Don’t be afraid to do your own work.
Meredith: Yeah! Absolutely! Another thing, re-evaluating the sexual roles in your relationship so that’s something that can change over time as well. So, are they working right now? You know, I know something I talk about, a lot of my couples is like, “How do you get to the point of having sex? Who initiates? How do you know when she’s trying to initiate? Oh, well I know because she, she gives me a look or she texts me during the day”. You know you’ll see signs and signals. But are you picking up on your partner’s signs and signals? Have you given up on initiating because you felt rejected too many times? Do we need to sort of reset the parameters of how we get to that point in order to help it happen more consistently and more successfully?
Marina: Yeah, and this is where I see a lot of couples come in. It’s just that misattunement in terms of like, “Well, for me, initiating is kissing but for him, initiating is when I put on a sexy lingerie,” you know? So if you’re saying, “Well, she never initiates” or “He never initiates,” are they really never initiating or are you just not attuned to their initiation style.
Marina: So that’s a really, really important conversation to have and you know, it’s okay to press the refresh button. It’s really okay. Have these conversations often. This is a really important thing. I tell my couples, I know a lot of my couples and I and you, we all have iPhones.
Marina: I always say, “Whenever there’s an iPhone update, have a relationship update.” You know? It’s like a little reminder. It’s a little mindful reminder.
Meredith: You know it’s coming.
Marina: You know it’s coming but there are certain things that you can evaluate really frequently, and your relationship was only better for it and I feel like they don’t do them super often but they do them often enough that it’s good to re-evaluate, you know, like a lot of the things we’ve talked about, and intimacy, at those times, division of labor, intimacy, do the deeper emotional check-ins. Do the bigger picture planning. Use that as a reminder.
Meredith: It’s a good tip.
Meredith: Also, being sure, even something like date night, right? So date night can look different ways. Date night can look like, “Okay, we only have the babysitter for two hours, so we’re gonna just run to Applebee's and grab a quick dinner and then run home” or date night can look like, “Okay, we’re gonna choose to go to a really romantic restaurant that we enjoy the ambience at and have a glass of wine and talk about, you know, not talk about work and not talk about the kids and not talk about these things but talk about each other and our relationship and maybe even using that time to reminisce about some of the sexy in the past.
Marina: Yeah! And I always tell people like, “Date night doesn’t always have to be dinner. Date night doesn’t always have to be a production. Literally, if you have a backyard, like sitting in your backyard, away from your kids if your kids are playing in the house, if they’re old enough to be left unsupervised, that can be a date night. It’s still time that you’re really focused on yourself”. My number one rule for date night, cellphones away.
Meredith: Mmm yeah. Definitely.
Marina: Because I think that really gets in the way of, you know, nothing feels more horrible than when your partner’s talking about, you know, “And that time, we went on a date, and you looked so beautiful, and I felt really attuned” and this…
Marina: Exactly! It makes you wanna strangle them, not hug them. So, that’s my biggest rule for date night is cell phones away.
Meredith: Yeah! And I always recommend trying to plan ahead because I think by planning ahead, whether it’s scheduling it on the calendar or at the very least, agreeing on an activity you’re gonna do, it’s more likely to happen. So that’s really important.
Marina: Yeah. Definitely agreed. My last tip, I really love this one because I used to work with teenagers a lot. I don’t as much anymore. However, I feel like I’ve learned a lot from them. I feel like teenagers are really quite a wealth of knowledge, tips, information when you can really internalize it from them. Act like teenagers, and what I mean by that is think about two teenagers that are horny and in love. In love. They will jump over sky-high hurdles to get to each other. They are really in this mindset of by any means necessary. They are the gold medal winners of prioritizing intimacy and sexy and having sex, right? And how are they able to do that? One, it’s real, really important to them. So they make time for it kind of by any means necessary. They really say like, “This is what I want and this is my goal-directed behavior.” So, they’re really able to say, “It’s Thursday, I finished my homework, I did this. That’s it. Now, my goal-directed behavior”. They also are really good at broadening their sexual repertoire. They go through their bases. Really important. They don’t say, “This narrow little thing is what sex looks like.” Sex looks like a big repertoire for them.
Marina: They are also really good at being sneaky, and not saying like sex is something that happens in the bedroom on a Saturday night. Right? Or sex is something that happens in the shower on a Sunday morning. Sex is really something that happens wherever and whenever it can happen. So they’re sneaky, they’re opportunistic because it’s really important for them. Another thing they do is they S.E.X.T.
Meredith: Yes. They do S.E.X.T.
Marina: Love to S.E.X.T. And that’s a really important way of communicating sex is important, flirting is important, this is important. If adults bring all of these concepts into their relationship, the sexy is back. The sexy is back and stronger than ever!
Marina: So it’s like taking a lesson from the teens and sending your partner that sexy text in the middle of the day and broadening that sexual repertoire, maybe bringing back some things you haven’t done in a while, not confining sex to the bedroom and really prioritizing it really helps bring that sexy back.
Meredith: Yeah! Definitely. That’s a great tip. That’s a new one! That’s a new one guys! So look, as always, we don’t want you to just listen to this and then go on your merry way. We want you to integrate it into your relationship right now! So we’ve created a really good guide for you for how to have a sexy reminiscing conversation on date night, and you can get it on our website at www.simplygreatrelationships.com/010download. This is great because you can grab it, you can download it, you just keep it on your phone and pop it open during date night. That would be a one exception to having your phone on date night. It’s only if you look at the sheet.
Marina: Airplane mode.
Meredith: Airplane mode.
Marina: On airplane mode.
Meredith: On airplane mode, so there’s no risk of distraction. But, you know, take a look at it. It can be really helpful in getting things going especially in the beginning.
Meredith: So I think that’s a good one as well.
Marina: Mhmm! Takeaways. Let’s talk about them. What’s your big takeaway from today?
Meredith: I think my takeaway is sort of the small things often thing even though I know that just hearing it again like what’s the smallest unit of sexy and how can you build that into your relationship on a consistent basis, and then that is a powerful action. I think it’s my takeaway.
Marina: Mhmm. I’d say my takeaway is to re-evaluate sexual roles and sexual narratives and see if they’re working. Because if there is this sexual script, but it’s not really feeling sexy. It’s redundant.
Marina: Right? Like you’re allowed to press refresh and say like, “What’s not working here? What do we need to re-evaluate?”.
Marina: Use the iOS reminders as your reminder to re-evaluate.
Meredith: That’s a good one, for sure. So, we’ve thrown a lot at you. Our resident “sexpert,” Marina, has given you many a tip. So that’s it for today. I think that’s plenty to go home and work on. We hope that you take them and start using them right away. We’d love for you to continue the conversation with us in our Facebook group where we’re gonna share even more tips, tricks and live streams exclusively for our group members. So be sure to get in there. You can join us at www.facebook.com/groups/simplygreatrelationships, or you can just click the link on our website www.simplygreatrelationships.com and be sure to pop in there. Marina will be in there answering your questions around sex and intimacy, anything relationship. We’ll be sure to get back to you. So, definitely join us there.
Meredith: And we will see you next week! Alright?
Marina & Meredith: Bye!