We all have our morning routines: wake up, shower, eat. At work we do pretty much the same thing each day. Often, our sex lives become routine as well — one more item on our to-do list.

We have to remember, though: Sex is not a job. It’s a pleasure. That’s what makes it such a unique feature of our lives, and what makes it such a joy to share with a partner or partners.

In order to keep our sex lives spontaneous and pleasure-filled, I’m dishing my best tips for getting the sizzle back in a long-term relationship.

1. Love your body.

You can’t take pleasure in your partner’s body if you don’t first take pleasure in your own. Yes, we all have body issues — things we wish we could change. But those things should not affect our sexuality, which has nothing to do with the way we look.

Just as eating a healthy food makes us feel stronger and more energetic, feeding our minds with positive thoughts about our bodies makes us feel stronger and more confident. Don’t lose your sense of self in physical insecurities. Instead, make it your goal to cultivate a harmonious, mutually beneficial relationship between your physical health and wellness and your sexual health and wellness.

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2. Facilitate emotional intimacy outside the bedroom.

There’s a reason they call it “make-up” sex. Resolving conflict with compassion and empathy creates an environment for sparks to fly. There is nothing sexier than someone who really pays attention. So, make it a priority to enhance your emotional and physical intimacy outside the bedroom by listening to your partner.

Respond to conflict; don’t react to it or feed it. By listening with an open mind and offering solutions instead of opposition you show your partner you care enough to put your ego aside. In so doing, you deepen trust and leave the door open for greater intimacy.

3. Let the compliments fly.

We can become complacent with those we love, taking all their lovable features for granted. Instead, celebrate their achievements, their strengths, and their unique qualities — even their cute butt. Remind them (and yourself) why you’re together in the first place.

4. Make good sex a priority.

Bedroom boredom is natural, but it doesn’t have to be permanent. Stop reflecting on your lack of libido. Shift your focus and energy into creating an environment, or state of mind, that will allow you and your partner(s) to have fun with sex and sexual intimacy again. Fantasize about what that could mean and think of a playful way to get your partner on board with those new ideas.

5. Touch, touch, touch.

Remember how it felt the first time your partner touched the small of your back? Or reached for your hand in a darkened movie theater?

There is nothing more powerfully stimulating than touch, especially after an affection drought. Reignite that flame by giving your partner a sensual massage every week — no orgasms allowed.

Instead of going into full sexual contact, spend time exploring each other’s bodies and taking it slowly, without the pressure of climaxing. The point is to allow the tension to build between the erotic massage until the time of your next intimate encounter.

6. Do your Kegels.

Kegel exercises aren’t just for women. Studies suggest that both men and women enjoy benefits to sexual health when they strengthen their pelvic floors. There’s some evidence to suggest that they can actually help in the treatment of several different types of sexual dysfunction.

7. Share fantasies and details on what actually does it for you.

Reflect on your sexual response cycle and fantasies. Plan a monthly romantic date outside the bedroom to explore your wants and needs, in a safe and open way, through intimate communication.

8. Get loud.

People who make the most noise during sex tend to be the most satisfied. Why? Moaning and groaning helps your partner understand what you like, and it also signals appreciation for your partner’s efforts, which increases their enjoyment.

9. Go heavy on foreplay.

Kissing, petting, nibbling, squeezing, stroking, caressing, compassion, generosity, and kindness — it’s all good. Foreplay keeps the wheels greased, so to speak, and prevents rust in a sexual relationship.

Keep your partner(s) well-oiled by maintaining consistent and desire-heavy affection, emotional intimacy, and physical contact. Ask them what they like best and give them what they want. Remember, if you want things to get hotter in bed, the first step is turning up the heat outside the bedroom first.

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