Guest post by Sexologist Caroline D’Arcy
So, you’ve ventured to the pub, maybe even had a slightly chilly, alfresco meal. The world is waking up… but has your love life?
The impact this year has had on us is no joke, and the last leg was particularly hard. The lack of sunlight, the impending doom of not knowing when it’ll end and the sheer tediousness of the days have been a libido killer for so many. 2021 has likely left your relationship (or lack of) and sex life (or lack of) under scrutiny.
Whether you’ve been staring at the same person thinking “Is this really it?!”, or craving human touch like never before, Sexuality Expert Caroline D’Arcy shares 10 ways to get your love life back on track after lockdown:
1. Date yourself first
You are not the person you were a year ago, it’s time to explore this version of you. What food turns you on? What music do you love? If you had ten grand landing in your bank every day for the rest of your life, what would you do, and why? What flavor of sex are you yearning for? What kind of touch will make your body melt?
Stress will block your ability to feel turned on, and it’s been a stressful year – at one point even getting groceries got my anxiety levels up. The good news is that you can learn to alleviate the impact on your body by completing the stress cycle, bringing your body to a place of safety, even when your stressors (work, kids, the bills, a global pandemic) are still going on.
Things like running, working out, punching a pillow, watching an emotional movie (Lion does it for me), yoga, masturbation and journaling are some of my favorites. Check out Emily Nagoski’s book Burn Out if you want to learn more.
3. Take responsibility for your orgasm
If you’ve spent the last 12 months with your favourite vibrator, your body and your brain will become used to orgasming in the same way. Transitioning to a human can feel a little less effective - mix up different sex positions with your sex toy, teach your whole body to respond to different types of touch and introduce sex toys to your playtime to take the pressure off your partner's tongue.
4. Lead with your sexual energy
You’ve been taught that it’s your partner’s job to turn you on. My rule is to get dialed up, hot and juicy before you go there. Whether it’s a first date, downloading an app or your 50th wedding anniversary, arriving in a place of ‘turned on’ sets the tone of the date deliciously.
5. Take it slowly
Your nervous system has become accustomed to a low-level of stimulus - same walls, same people, same faces on Zoom. While booking up your diary to be filled with dates, catch-ups and pub lunches feels exciting, allow yourself more recovery time afterward. It’s okay for it to feel a little daunting and exhausting, make space for it.
6. Clear out your closet
Do your clothes turn you on? Are your fave jeans a little tight? Or, like me, do you only seem to oscillate between outside yoga pants and inside, slightly more dilapidated, yoga pants?
Your clothes can have a huge impact on how you feel, a delicious exercise is to throw away anything that doesn’t feel good to wear. This is Marie Kondo with a sensual edge, ask “Does this item turn me on?” If not, chuck it.
7. Ask for what you desire the most
Tell your partner what really turns you on. Conditioning and experiences make it easy to freeze in these moments, shut down and just get on with it. This is extremely normal for a lot of women, including myself. Practice by writing it down first, texting them or writing it in a letter. Discover more ways to ask for what you want in bed here.
8. Think batteries
Desires come from a place of polarity, like the positive and negative ends of the batteries in your vibe. If you’re feeling a little more like flatmates than lovers, or don’t seem to get past the friendzone/fuck buddy stage it’s time to explore a little about masculine and feminine energy. Don’t be confused by the gendered terms, we all have masculine ‘doing’ energy and feminine ‘being’ energy.
Working from home can mean we are all in our masculine ‘doing’ energy. Learn how to switch between the two to create that spark again.
9. Date prep like a Tantric goddess
Tantric’s across the globe know how to create the most beautiful, sensual experiences and it all starts in the preparation.
- De-stress by completing your stress cycle (see no.2)
- Activate your desired energy with embodiment practices such as dancing, breast massage for more feminine energy or push-ups, breathwork or running for more masculine energy.
- Dial-up your energy with some self-touch, even edging yourself (bring yourself close to an orgasm but don’t tip over)
- Adorn yourself in clothes, scents, jewelry that turn you on.
Then show up without expectation. Setting goals or focusing on whether the other person approves of you will squash the turn on.
10. Variety is the spice of your (sex) life
Contrary to everything we have learned and been told, female bodies crave variety and novelty in sexual experiences more than men, and it's key to understanding why our interest dies down in long-term relationships.
Now, this doesn’t mean you have to jump into swinging or a poly relationship if you don’t want to, but it does mean you need variety and why your libido might have taken a hit in the recent monotony. Now is the perfect time to introduce new sex toys, new environments and new practices to kickstart your love life as doors are opening up. Here’s 10 signs you need to spice things up in the bedroom and how to love sex with your partner all over again.
Caroline D’Arcy is a sexologist, writer and women’s coach in London. Sign up for her free embodiment practices on her website inti-mate.co.