10 Mistakes Couples Make When Trying to Rekindle Their Sex Lives (And What To Do About It…)

Are you making these often-overlooked mistakes when trying to rekindle passion in your relationship?

Read below to learn about the top 10 mistakes couples make before they work with me on their sex and love lives.

trying to read your partners mind

We’ve all heard the common phrase “Women expect men to be mind readers!” Right? But as women become more sexually empowered and empowered in general, we are discovering that what we want and like is as diverse among us as the cosmos itself.

So, falling into the trap of trying to read your partner’s mind (man or woman) when it comes to sex and intimacy is one of the most common and deadly things we do when trying to maintain or rekindle the passion in our sex lives. And by deadly, I mean it can kill a person’s libido if we consistently use the same angle or maneuver for seduction.

Especially because our sexual palettes are so diverse and because our intimate desires, needs and capabilities fluctuate and change throughout our lives, it’s simply not possible to predict what is going to work for their partner at any given moment.

Often what happens to the person who expects their partner to be a mind reader is that they don’t feel loved, appreciated, understood or considered. This kind of suffering could be avoided with a simple yet effective approach to communication about sex.

being a People Pleaser

Have you ever been the person who felt like they were not doing enough in a relationship to please their partner so you interjected to offer help  at every opportunity, or maybe you spend so much time trying to read your partner’s cues for fear of displeasing them that you’re not even enjoying the moment yourself.

Buzzkill, right? Right.

This kind of behavior can be explained in a myriad of ways. Maybe your parents were highly critical so you felt you could never do enough to earn their praise and now you’re with a partner who is great at criticizing but not so helpful when it comes to creative solutions.

What happens when this dynamic begins to take hold in the relationship is that the couple begins to deconstruct what is commonly called “polarity,” or the type of tension that helps keep our sex life on the edge of its seat. One person may feel that the empowered, confident person they fell in love with no longer fills their shoes quite the same way.

A people pleaser may also experience anxiety or create stories to rationalize that it must be something about their behavior that is “wrong,” when really it could be anything from a lack of proper communication skills in both individuals, fear and anxiety from past relationships coloring the way we see our current one, the effects of major life events on libido, and so much more…

Criticizing your partner or yourself

Let’s talk a bit more about criticism though, because it’s kind of a huge deal when it comes to the health of our relationships.

The truth is, criticism kills what John Gottman, relationship therapist with over forty years in the field, calls “Positive Sentiment Override.” Positive Sentiment Override is a crucial element for any relationship and sex life to thrive. It essentially means that in general, a couple should cultivate and focus on creating more appreciation and fondness in a relationship in order to reap the rewards of the desire to be close to one another. 

Criticism can lead to defensiveness which is the opposite of the culture we want to create in a healthy marriage or relationship. Instead of being open and trusting, we begin to close ourselves off to our partners when criticism plays too big a role in our relationship, and who wants to have sex when they don’t feel they can fully open up?

Very few people, and if they do, it’s likely that they’re bringing all sorts of negativity into the bedroom which is going to prevent the free flow of creativity, pleasure and enthusiasm between partners. We also criticize ourselves in many ways, some of which are mentioned below. That brings me to the next item on the list..

Bringing Anxiety Into the Bedroom

Here’s a BIG ONE. With chronic levels of anxiety at an all time high in the American population, you can bet that most people are bringing some level of anxiety into the bedroom.

What does anxiety in the bedroom look like, though? It could take one or multiple of the following forms:

  • Mental chatter distracting you from being focused and enjoying the present moments. For example, thoughts like “Am I going to orgasm this time” or “Do I look attractive” or “Am I going to last longer before ejaculating than last week,” etc. The mental chatter could also include thoughts unrelated to the experience, such as thoughts about chores, an important client account, an argument with a relative and the like.

  • The lack of steady breathing. Women who struggle with orgasm in particular often hold their breath at even the most subtle sign of pleasure and men are often focusing more on performance than regulating their breath. Steady breath is an important factor in becoming fully present during sex.

  • Always wanting to have sex with the lights off for fear of the way one looks. Many people suffer from a negative relationship to their body image and are uncomfortable getting naked in front of their partner. This happens even after years of marriage and it can be overcome.

  • Inability or fear of speaking up. Women who experience pain during sex go without mention for fear of making their partner feel bad or taking away their pleasure. Many people carry shame around their fantasies, kinks and generally anything they like that might be commonly referred to as taboo.

Are you experiencing anything from this list? If so, you are likely suffering from anxiety.

Having Sex Even When it’s Painful

Women who are experiencing pain during sex come to me all the time. More often than not, their first thought is that something must be wrong with them physically but the reality is that they, their partner, or both don’t have a complete understanding of the female anatomy and how it works. Sometimes there are other issues, but usually it’s the sequencing or speed of sexual intercourse, or lack of foreplay causing the problems.

What many people commonly fail to realize is that continuing to have sex when it’s painful for a woman is a sure fire way to negatively impact her libido and it can cause medical conditions such as vaginismus and anorgasmia. The good thing is all of these things can be eliminated with the right education and healing practices.

Not Carving Out Enough Time for sex and intimacy (or even fun!)

America in particular is a culture that considers productivity virtuous which makes it almost impossible for some people to slow down and dive into the pleasures of life, sex included. Do you pile on the home improvement projects like weekend warriors but fail to sex aside an hour or two for sex on Saturday and Sunday?

Maybe you’re the type who keeps a full calendar because “maintaining a social life takes time,” or maybe because you’re afraid of getting intimate with yourself or your partner. You could be experiencing this fear as a result from one of the above mentioned mistakes when trying to repair your sex life and you’re not alone.

It’s also common for new parents to feel simply overwhelmed by the new routine of raising a newborn. This can happen to such a degree that you’d benefit from taking thirty minutes to contemplate which tasks on your life admin list can be outsourced or delegated to another professional or personal assistant.

Giving Logic All the Power

In the Age of Information, it is quite possible that our minds are more like supercomputers than ever before. With the amount of information we absorb every hour and the many tabs left open of tasks, ideas, inspirations and more left to simmer, it’s safe to say many of us are more present with our mental activity than anything else.

The challenge here is that the conscious mind does not always have all the answers to our mood swings, our old pains, our emotional needs or even our physical needs. Dropping into the heart or intuition and out of the mind has proven quite challenging for a number of my clients. Just imagine how much unresolved subconscious activity might have a role in the current status of your sex life.

There’s a reason for the uptick in yoga and meditation practices across the planet and it’s not just because they keep you physically fit.

Watching Too Much Porn

How much porn is too much?

Well, it depends on whether you actually want to have a thriving sex life that feels deeply satisfying or not. Neuroscientists believe that porn may not only shrink the brain, but it also affects a person’s nervous system, specifically the part that governs our “reward system” through dopamine hits in the brain, which is what we experience when receiving pleasurable stimulation.

In order to actually derive pleasure from that good old, everyday kind of sex, a brain on porn needs to experience greater intensity than the average person in order to provide that satisfactory rush of dopamine. This commonly leaves partners feeling that sex has to be a performance every time.

Studies also link regular consumption of porn to the tendency of valuing immediate payoffs over delayed gratification. I have found that when a partner is experiencing compulsive behavior or impatience when it comes to sex, related to short term mentalities, it can come off as insensitive towards their partner and one-sided when it comes to pleasure. Simply put, refraining from watching porn can help restore the a more organic sexual rhythm between two partners.

Avoiding the Topic of Sex Altogether

I have seen clients who’ve suffered months, sometimes years, of sexual dysfunction or lack of sex in their marriage or relationship. As expected, they’ve also experienced their share of conflicted conversations or arguments about their sex life or lack thereof.

Because learning how to resolve conflict is not commonly taught in grade school or universities (outside of psychology and related programs), most people don’t come with an instructional manual on how to fight fair and prevent further emotional distress.

A person can only handle so much conflict and sometimes it feels like the arguments always bring up the same sore points as previous fights. Because of these and many other reasons, a partner may resolve to avoid the painful conversations altogether. It’s a rational choice for maintaining a certain level of civility and peace in the household, but it can lead to a total dead end when it comes to sex or conversations about sex.

Focusing on the Negatives

Even the best problem solvers can get stuck in a negative or fear based mindset when it comes to their marital sex life, because sex is a sensitive topic and when there are challenges, we’re often trying to save one another from hurt feelings.

What happens in the case where pains around your sex life fester for too long is that they can begin to completely takeover all aspects of sex-focused conversations. Instead of positive reinforcement and sex talks made easy, couples often find themselves trapped in identifying with their problems and ill equipped to find the creative solutions necessary to climb their way out.

Going back to that fundamental Positive Sentiment Override, we know now that in order to transform our sex lives from painful to pleasurable, we need to change our approach.

how to revive your sex life?

Well, if you’ve read this far and identified any of the issues above as some you’re currently facing, then I recommend you reach out to me for help.

My retreats and coaching programs have helped couples who’ve been in sexless marriages for years rediscover their desire and passion for one another again in just two days.

They’ve helped multiple marriages that have gone through divorce and back restore the spark in their sex life.

Are you ready for a better sex life, too? You’re not alone.

Read more about my couples retreats or fill out the couples enrichment questionnaire to begin your journey towards reviving your sex life!