5 tips for sex and intimacy in marriage

5 min
Emma Waring
Psychosexual specialist and author

5 tips for sex and intimacy in marriage

Emma Waring is a specialist nurse, sex and relationship therapist. The author of Seasons of Sex & Intimacy (2018), she features on our Marriage Course and Pre-Marriage Course sessions on sex, connection and intimacy. Here, she offers five tips on how couples can improve sex and intimacy in marriage.

Tip 1. Change up your routine

Familiarity produces complacency and so a good sex life needs creativity, thought and variety. You could try varying the place you make love. It doesn’t always have to be in the bedroom. What about on the sofa, in the shower or in front of an open fire? Planning a night or two away in a different setting can also be a great antidote to boredom and over-familiarity. Another option is to vary the routine and vary which of you initiates things.

Even if you have a good sexual relationship, this can change at different times in a marriage. Any life changes or changes to your normal routine might change how you feel about sex, so it’s a good idea to talk about this.

Tip 2. Share a massage

Some people find that sex is a great way to relieve stress. For others, when they feel stressed, sex is the last thing they want to do so check in with your partner to ensure that expectations are aligned. If one person is struggling to get in the mood for sex, then you could start with a sensual massage.

Remain open to where this might lead. It may help to alleviate stress and lead to sex or it may simply be enjoyed for the physical closeness it creates.

Tip 3. If you work from home; don’t work from your bedroom

One of the difficulties of working from home is that this can take over every space and there is no differentiation between work life and home life. Lots of my clients say they can’t get into the mood for sex if the house is messy. Try and zone areas of your house, for work, for eating together and for relaxing. If this is not possible, then tidy all your work things away into a box when you are enjoying a meal or relaxation time so that it doesn’t intrude on these times. Where possible, don’t work from your bedroom but if you do ever have to, make sure that you clear anything work related away at the end of the day and make an extra effort to create a relaxing, sensual space.

Tip 4. Let’s talk about sex (but prepare for it)

Sex can be difficult to talk about so be kind to each other. If you anticipate that a conversation is going to be hard, then prepare for it. Avoid bringing up the subject in the bedroom or last thing at night. If you are struggling with a physical aspect of sex, such as dyspareunia (painful sex) or erectile difficulties then I always advise couples to go and see their family doctor. You may be able to have a telephone consultation rather than face-to-face and for many couples this may feel less daunting.

Tip 5. Don’t be afraid to try therapy

When sex becomes difficult, many couples bury their heads in the sand and they hide behind the busy-ness of everyday life with the promise that they will address this when life settles down. But often this time never comes! If you feel that you need professional help, lots of therapists are available and many now offer online video sessions. Couples can benefit from accessing therapy from the comfort of their own home.

Emma regularly speaks to healthcare professionals and in churches about how to nurture good sexual intimacy and how to manage sexual problems which are common but rarely discussed. Emma has contributed to articles in Woman & Home, Top Santé, The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail and writes a column for Liberti and Sorted magazines. She is also an ambassador for The Marriage Foundation.