The last few months have been rough. Soaring mortgage payments, rising food bills, not to mention politics . . .
No matter who you are or where you’re from, life has been something of a challenge recently — and one of the first places stress like this will present itself is in our most intimate spaces.
So it came as no surprise to me that a recent survey found that you Brits are having much less sex than just two years ago — 21 times a year fewer, in fact, down from 68 to 47. That’s a drop of 31 per cent.
It also found that Google searches for the term ‘dead bedroom’, referring to when a couple stop having sex or have very little, had increased by 223 per cent in the past year. Perhaps these numbers feel a little too close to home. Maybe it feels like a bucket of iced water has been dumped on the roaring fires of amour of late.
Well, I can assure you that you’re not alone, you’re not broken and that, with a little help from across the English Channel, better days and blazing nights are on their way.
French sex expert Maia Mazaurette, pictured, has shared her top tips for reviving your sex life amid a rough time
As a leading French sexpert who regularly appears on TV and radio, helping people to put the ooh-la-la back into their love lives, I’m here to explain exactly why you’re having less sex — and what you can do about it.
Whether it’s post-pandemic stresses, the pressure of making ends meet in tough economic times or the complex logistics and general exhaustion of parenting, many hurdles can stand in the way of good, fulfilling sex.
Then there’s the sad reality that most of us spend too much time scrolling through endless bad news stories on our phones in bed rather than indulging in more enjoyable activities. The fact that we’re cutting our streaming subscriptions to save money means that even the chances of a spot of ‘Netflix and chill’ on the sofa turning into something rather more risque are decreasing.
Whatever the reasons for a diminished sex life, the knock-on effects aren’t much fun. It can lead to a loss of libido, feelings of rejection and guilt between partners, and sensations of distance and detachment.
But the cost-of-living crisis doesn’t have to cost you your love life. Here are my tips to help bring your dead bedroom roaring back to life . . .
First things first, that little voice in your head telling you that something is wrong with you? You need to kill it, and fast.
Stop telling yourself you’re broken and start imagining the fun that could be had by spending more time between the sheets in future.
Focus on the positive. Remember how astonishing good sex without feelings of pressure can be and you’ve already taken the first step in the right direction.
First things first, that little voice in your head telling you that something is wrong with you? You need to kill it, and fast. Stock image used
It’s totally natural for couples to crave different amounts of sex. But sadly that often leaves the relationship pressure gauge firmly in the red.
To move forward in a healthy, respectful way, you both need to accept your differences in libido in the same way you would accept different appetites at the dinner table.
Rather than letting them become a source of simmering tensions, discuss them openly and honestly. When partners can speak freely about not being excited at the prospect of sex, then the door is ready to be opened to a whole new world of intimacy.
And don’t try to force your partner to come round to your way of thinking. Instead, treat your discrepancies as a chance to bring about a beautiful coming together of viewpoints.
Stop telling yourself you’re broken and start imagining the fun that could be had by spending more time between the sheets in future. Stock image used
You are not the person you were yesterday, or will be tomorrow, and neither is your sexuality. Accept it. The sexual triggers that saw you racing to jump into bed ten years ago probably won’t be the same today, and that’s as it should be. It doesn’t mean that your ‘fun days’ are over, just that a new kind of fun is waiting.
Schedule a nice, quiet, simple night to sit down with your partner and ask the real questions: what’s working? What’s changed? How are you feeling? Embrace the French willingness to speak frankly (even a tad bluntly!) and tell it like it is.
If problems have arisen, then tackling them could mean anything from taking a different approach to date nights to changing how you handle your finances. Every couple is different — what matters is the willingness to come together and speak.
Take a seat across from one another and ask what the future could look like. Sometimes that alone can reignite the passion in a relationship.
THINK: ‘WHAT IS SEX?’
You may think the answer to this is obvious, but it’s the things we think we know that often get us into the most trouble.
Engaging only in penetrative sex, the way a medieval priest might define it, is still much too common. If you’re worried about having a ‘dead bedroom’, perhaps it’s because the two of you have been repeating the same actions, with the same frequency, for years.
Try eating steak frites for two weeks straight, even in Paris, and you’ll soon be telling me how eager you are to order the bouillabaisse again. The beauty of our bodies is the myriad ways they offer to experience and share pleasure.
Now that we’ve established that there is nothing wrong with you, let’s focus on some tips to rev up both your engines . . .
If you’re worried about having a ‘dead bedroom’, perhaps it’s because the two of you have been repeating the same actions, with the same frequency, for years. Stock image used
15 MATCHES TO RELIGHT THE FIRE
REVIVE THE BEDROOM
Unplug those cables. Remove those screens. Declutter. Let the place where sex happens be a place where it looks like sex happens. Creating the right ‘bedroom energy’ will remind your body what that shared space is for.
We’re not machines, despite what our calendars would like us to believe. Repetition is the enemy of desire, so change things up. If Friday has long been your date night, make it Tuesday. If you usually wait until after dinner to get frisky, leave work early one day to grab some alone time in the afternoon before the children get back from school.
There are 237 reasons to have sex… write yours down in a diary
Take some time alone to ponder the mysteries of your own desire. Researchers have found 237 distinct reasons people have sex, and while some might not seem the most legitimate, such as ‘making my parents furious’, it’s true that there is much more to our desire than we usually credit.
Grab a journal and write about what excites you (you can always burn the pages later). Make a little room for that inner voice to be heard and there’s a chance you’ll make some unexpected, thrilling discoveries.
REFUSE TO ORGASM
Sex can become a chore, with the goal to finish as quickly as possible, leaving everyone unfulfilled. Instead, focus on everything but the climax. This might sound counterintuitive but this is about delayed gratification — as well as relieving the pressure of focusing on achieving orgasm.
Knowing each other so intimately is an incredible gift — enjoy and explore each other’s bodies, delaying the final destination. It’s a game you’ll love to lose.
The signals in our bodies activated by fear are similar to those sparked by desire. It can be a special privilege, with someone you trust, to lose control for a moment — and it doesn’t have to be in the bedroom. Watch a horror movie together, ride a roller coaster — or have a clinch in the garden at 2am. Remind yourselves how sexy it feels to let go.
These days, any sex aid you can imagine most probably exists. Wanting to introduce toys or tools in the bedroom doesn’t mean that either of you was doing something ‘wrong’ before, just that you’re open to exploring options that may make things even better.
Give yourself permission to bring a battery-operated friend into your life.
SWITCH IT UP
Not all of us can afford to dash off to exotic locations. Nonetheless, time spent together in unfamiliar territory can often trigger a return of our desire; data shows that people have more sex in hotels thanks to feeling free from the mental load of home life.
Even if only for a night in the next town, experience somewhere new together.
Rise early and watch the sunset. Take a long walk. You may just find you both regain some of your old lustre.
And if your budget doesn’t currently extend to hotel stays, then I’m sure there are plenty of places in your home other than your bedroom for you to have sex. Use your imagination . . .
LOOK AND FEEL GOOD
A new look can create a new perspective. If you’re stuck in a style rut, embrace the chance to ‘peacock’ for a hot second.
In France, data shows that men are most turned on by women in lingerie, and that women who feel beautiful tend to have higher sexual satisfaction.
So once in a while, treat your inner minx to some time in front of the mirror and practise France’s favourite sport: seduction.
POWER OF SURPRISE
Knowing what to expect from our partners keeps us feeling safe but it also takes away that early thrill of first lust.
Take the time to surprise your lover: write them a sexy note, leave a gift (or a pair of handcuffs!) under their pillow, text them the address for a rendezvous only an hour before.
Remind yourself and your partner that we never know what’s coming next, but the key thing is to take the leap together.
Knowing what to expect from our partners keeps us feeling safe but it also takes away that early thrill of first lust. Stock image used
There’s something incredibly sensual about new ideas.
Remind yourselves how wide the world is by both reading a great novel with a racy scene or two, or alternatively try reciting a romantic poem.
Share what you liked and listen closely to the parts your partner couldn’t put down.
TAKE A TEST
The internet is filled with short quizzes for couples in order to help them better understand each other, including my own to help you find your ‘Lust Language’, which you can take here.
Sometimes a little nudge is all that’s needed to get the ball rolling, and answering a series of questions designed to let new thoughts bloom — whether you do them together or alone — can open new pathways to creativity in the bedroom.
GIVE A MASSAGE
Whether it’s their neck, back or feet, take the opportunity to display the power of touch and make them feel good. Stock image used
Who doesn’t love receiving a massage? More importantly, when was the last time that you truly concentrated on your partner’s body without the expectation of receiving anything in return? Whether it’s their neck, back or feet, take the opportunity to display the power of touch and make them feel good. It won’t cost you a penny, but you’ll reap the rewards.
STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN
Many people report that sex can be a way to experience a closer relationship to the spiritual or divine. You may scoff, but why not embrace it?
Light some candles and open yourself up to the possibility that sharing pleasure might have something to do with the spirit. Trust me, lowering your electricity bills has never been so sensual . . .
FIND YOUR FANTASIES
Explore other avenues, without expectation of what you might discover. Try an erotic podcast or research erotic art. Get outside the mainstream. Stock image used
Many of us find it hard to know what we like; porn typically lacks nuance, with narrow, commercialised ideas of what’s beautiful, desirable or enjoyable.
Explore other avenues, without expectation of what you might discover. Try an erotic podcast or research erotic art. Get outside the mainstream.
Even if we know what we like, voicing our desires can feel nearly impossible. Give yourself permission to find it hard and start the conversation by admitting you have no idea what to say. But start it: once you get talking, you never know where it might lead . . .