Question: What ruined my ‘year of sex’?
Article By Isiah McKimmie ~
At the beginning of 2020 it seemed like the perfect time to get curious about my sexuality. But fast-forward and I’m desperate to get my mojo back.
Welcome to Relationship Rehab, news.com.au’s weekly column solving all your romantic problems, no holds barred.
This week, our resident sexologist Isiah McKimmie tackles a woman who lost her sex mojo because of the pandemic, a couple whose relationship is suffering after they moved in together and a wife unsure of how to end her 25-year marriage.
IN 2020 I LOST MY SEX MOJO – HOW DO IT GET IT BACK?
QUESTION: At the beginning of 2020 I labelled it my “Year of sex”. I wanted to make my sex life more interesting and explore my sexuality. As a single 31-year-old living in exciting Melbourne, it seemed like the perfect time to get curious about my sexuality. Instead, 2020 turned into my “Year of sitting alone in my front room!” I’ve put on weight and feel like I’ve lost all of the social skills I had to go on dates with strangers, never mind have sex with them. How do I get my mojo back? I really want to make some headway with my sexual exploration but I’m not sure where to start.
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ANSWER: If only we could have known at the start of 2020 that all our grand plans would fall through.
Even for the (first) lockdown, most of us imagined this was our chance to learn a new language, read more and partake in various indoor fitness challenges. Some even saw it as an opportunity to get to know people better before meeting IRL. But 2020 wasn’t what any of us expected. It was a particularly difficult year for relationships all around.
You’re not alone in feeling like you’ve forgotten how to date or even socialise. And you’re not alone in carrying some extra ‘Covid kilos’. I’ve had many conversations with friends and clients about how weird we feel in social settings or dating after our period of isolation.
It takes time to feel comfortable dating when you’ve been out of the game for a while, so be gentle on yourself and know it takes time. Reconnect with your friends, say yes to social opportunities and start dating again – you’ll get your mojo back soon enough.
In terms of your sexual exploration, here are my recommendations:
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Examine your sexual history and sexual beliefs
A helpful place to begin sexual exploration is to think about the messages you received about sex growing up. These messages influence our beliefs about sex. Examining these can help us let go of any unhelpful beliefs or inhibitions.
Discover what you like first
A recent study showed that women who know how to pleasure themselves are more likely to reach orgasm with a partner. But many women are unsure of what they enjoy sexually. It can take some exploration to find out. Think about what you enjoyed in past sexual experiences and consider masturbation to help you find out what you like. There are great resources that can help you such as the audio erotica app Dipsea and Climax, an educational website that teaches women (and men) how women touch themselves to reach orgasm.
Get confident with sexual communication
Being able to ask for you what and set boundaries around what you don’t want increases your sexual enjoyment and helps you discover more of what you like.
Be gentle on yourself
Confidence isn’t about getting it right, it’s about feeling okay with yourself when you don’t.
Sex can be totally weird and awkward sometimes – don’t be hard on yourself if you don’t get the results you want. Approach sex with an attitude of playfulness and curiosity.
Be safe and have fun.
OUR RELATIONSHIP GOT STALE AS SOON AS WE MOVED IN
QUESTION: I’ve recently moved in with my girlfriend after six months of dating and it’s like she’s a different person. Before we moved in together she used to always wear makeup and nice clothes, now she just sits around in a tracksuit. Previously we used to flirt and have fun but it has got stale very quickly. How do I broach this with her without her getting angry with me?
ANSWER: There can be something really lovely about the transition to being more comfortable with each other in a relationship and there are things we can miss from those early, more exciting days too.
Keeping the fun and playfulness in your relationship is important to its long-term success. It takes some effort, as it’s easy to slip into the comfort of a routine together. Regular date nights are a great way to do this.
Frame what you’re wanting in a positive way, making it less likely your girlfriend will be offended.
Try something like: “I love the fun and excitement we used to have together. As great as it is that we’re feeling so comfortable living together, I want to make sure we keep that as we continue our relationship together. Can we talk about ways we can do that?”
HELP! I WANT A DIVORCE AFTER 25 YEARS
QUESTION: I love my husband but I’m not sure I want to be with him anymore. We’ve been together 25 years and I don’t feel like we’re compatible, we’ve grown apart and have nothing in common. How do I even start about ending a relationship that has taken up most of my adult life?
ANSWER: This is a tough decision and I feel for anyone in the process of making it.
While many people assume that it’s bad fights or affairs that lead to separation, the majority of separations are due to exactly what you describe; disconnection and growing apart.
The percentage of people married for 20+ years seeking divorce has increased in recent decades, so know you’re not alone.
Making this decision and subsequent transition won’t be easy – or fast. Make sure this is really what you want and that the relationship can’t be saved. If you’re not sure, talking with a therapist (on your own or together) could help you get clarity.
You’ll need to have many discussions with your husband about your decision and the arrangements you need to make together to do this.
Isiah McKimmie is a couples therapist, sex therapist and sexologist. For more expert advice follow her on Instagram.