If you want to strengthen intimacy with your partner, the new year is a great time to re-evaluate old habits and start some new ones. You resolve to do so much for yourself, so why not make this year a joint effort toward pleasure? It might seem a little awkward, but it’s actually a great way to start the new year off with a bang.
Talking to your partner about resolutions
First, you’ll need to set aside some time to chat with your partner about what worked in the bedroom this year—and what didn’t. Before you structure the resolutions themselves, it’s important to assess both your needs. Set aside some time to do this together, maybe after dinner or while you’re making your plans for New Year’s Eve. Go into the conversation prepared to say what you need, but also prepared to listen to what they need.
“I encourage couples to lean into the hopefulness of the new year,” says Dr. Lori Davis, a certified clinical sexologist in New York. That’s a positive place to start. Instead of looking at joint resolutions as a way to address grievances, be positive about all the great sexual experiences and intimacy you could find in the new year. As Davis says, “You can make changes to your sex life and find more pleasure, ease, and intimacy.”
She recommends resolving to become “an erotic team who are intentionally engaged in creating a sex life that works for both of you,” so ask yourself and your partner what that looks like and how you’re already doing it in other parts of your life.
Dr. Donna Oriowo, a sex therapist who focuses on “planning for pleasure on purpose,” adds that you both need to get specific and define what you mean by sexual intimacy before planning any resolutions around it: “Make sure you know what counts to you both so that it doesn’t get lost in the count. Defining terms means you both understand what is meant when you use a word and it gives more space for intimate success.”
Common sexual resolutions to inspire you
Oriowo says she sees couples make resolutions to increase their sexual intimacy, but also to add some more variety. Davis agrees, noting she sees couples make plans to have more sex, which is a good thing, since it “shows how much both partners value their sex lives together.”
Obviously, wanting to have more sex is a common theme, but to accomplish that, Davis suggests exploring why you aren’t already. Is it time commitments? A lack of energy? A lack of attraction? Getting to the root causes and adjusting your resolutions around them will be more beneficial than just throwing out a blanket statement to “have more sex.” Oriowo says this should be done very specifically: Quantify your wants. Instead of saying you want to have more sex, suggest a number of times per week you’d like to aim for. Having a more structured resolution in place will keep you on track.
Consider some resolutions like these:
- Resolve to explore a new fantasy for each partner once per month
- Resolve to visit a sex toy shop quarterly and both make a purchase you’re interested in
- Resolve to have sex in a new place (even just around the house) twice per month
Remember though, sex is supposed to be fun. It’s okay if you deviate from this list a bit as you go. It’s most important to have fun with it.
Additionally, if you’re stuck, try what Davis calls a “yes/no/maybe list,” or a list “of possible intimate activities where you can consider what you might want to do, might never consider, and what could be nice in the right context.” Find a mutual “yes” or “maybe” and go from there.
Sticking with sexual resolutions
To make sure these resolutions don’t fall by the wayside, Oriowo suggests writing down your resolutions and checking in on your progress. The journal can be completed together—or separately, then shared—but it should go over how you feel, what you want more of, what you want less of, and how you’re moving forward in the goal of having more intimacy and connection.
“Remember that getting off track in your resolutions is actually totally expected,” says Davis. “Give yourself and your partner a little grace and compassion. Working on your sex life can bring up lots of feelings and, of course, life always wants to get in the way of our need for rest and connection.”
Most importantly, if you’re not in the mood to have sex, don’t force it. It’s totally normal for libidos to change and alternate for any number of reasons. Both doctors say to set reminders in your calendar to check in with one another. This is key. Oriwo suggests trying to do this weekly, while Davis says you could even try to do it once a month. No matter how often you check in, make sure you’re referring back to the original list of resolutions and your intimacy journal, reflecting on what has and hasn’t worked, and tweaking the plan as necessary.
“If you get off track, acknowledge it,” says Oriowo. “Talk about what got in the way and how you want it to get back on track.”
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