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A Simple Way For Couples To Get In The Mood For Sex (When You're Both Busy & Exhausted)

Kelly Gonsalves
Contributing Sex & Relationships Editor
By Kelly Gonsalves
Contributing Sex & Relationships Editor
Kelly Gonsalves is a sex educator, relationship coach, and journalist. She received her journalism degree from Northwestern University, and her writings on sex, relationships, identity, and wellness have appeared at The Cut, Vice, Teen Vogue, Cosmopolitan, and elsewhere.
Image by Evil Pixels Photography / Stocksy
January 19, 2019

We all have different personas that we take on in different contexts and different parts of our lives. In the context of your work, you might take on a powerful leadership role, where your presence commands a lot of respect. In the context of your family, you might take on a more caretaking role, where your partner or children look to you as a source of comfort, guidance, and support. In one space, you're hard-faced and unrelenting; in the next, you're soft to the touch.

We have our sexual personas as well, and perhaps more so than any of our others, this sexual persona can be a difficult one to tap into quickly. You automatically shift into your boss mindset as soon as you step into the office; you flip into your parental mindset at the sight of your kids; you might not be in the mood to go out, but as soon as you find yourself gathered with friends over drinks, out comes that inner gossip, jokester, or party person that you forgot you had inside you.

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But when it comes to sex, that transition into your sexual persona doesn't always come naturally. Sometimes the mood does just strike by chance, but especially when it comes to couples who've been together a while and who have busy lives with a lot of other concerns vying for their attention, it can sometimes take time, mental energy, and direct stimulation to shift into that sexy mindset. And at the end of a long day, that effort just seems exhausting and unnecessary.

Allow me to posit one possible way to get into that sexual mindset a little more seamlessly: sexting.

Wait, wait—don't roll your eyes just yet!

Don't underestimate the power of a sexually explicit message.

First of all, nobody's saying you have to start taking naked photos of yourself in the bathroom if that's not your cup of tea. But imagine receiving this text in the middle of the day while you're at work: I feel like spreading your legs and licking you until you shake.

The right message can be so jarring and suddenly pull you out of any headspace you're currently in. Relationship and well-being coach Shula Melamed, M.A., MPH, recommends sexting as a way to create erotic energy before you're even face-to-face—a kind of mental foreplay.

"Sexting can be healthy in that it can build anticipation for your next encounter. It can keep the pot at simmer so that when you reconnect IRL, you’ve already been flirting and turning each other on virtually," she explains. "As humans and erotic creatures, our brains are one of our biggest sex organs. Stimulating one another with words, scenarios, desires, images can help whet your appetite for what's to come."

It's a way to start building that desire before you're heading home, where you may have less time or energy. You're already starting to create anticipation beforehand so that when you do finally come face-to-face, there's already some sexual tension between you—no extra work needed. The idea is that, by exchanging a handful of flirtatious messages throughout the day, you're ready to just rip each other's clothes off as soon as you see each other. Persona shift complete.

A case for "adult" content.

We associate sexting with childish bad decisions, but in reality, sexting isn't just for horny teenagers who don't know better. In 2015, researchers with the American Psychological Association found 87 percent of adults between ages 18 and 82 have sent an X-rated text before, whether in the form of nude photos or just salaciously explicit messages, and 82 percent of them had done it in the last year. They also found a "robust relationship between sexting and sexual satisfaction" for couples. Other recent studies have also found adult couples who sent X-rated texts to each other were more pleased with their relationships than non-sexters, and it generally tended to have a positive effect on their sexual well-being. These findings all suggest that sexting is in fact a normal and even healthy part of adult sexuality.

A lot of the tsk-tsk around sexting (and most of the research about its dangers) is specific to young people. Yes, adolescents don't always have the wisdom and judgment yet to make smart decisions about when and whom to send explicit photos too, and of course, there's the issue of creating and disseminating child pornography. But those problems don't apply to adults. And if you're still worried about privacy concerns and leaks, you can always skip the images and just stick to naughty notes.

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A few ideas to get you started.

Haven't sent a dirty text in a while? Here are some ideas to help spark your imagination.

  • I can't stop thinking about…(a body part of theirs that excites you, like their hips or shoulders, or a specific sexual act like licking, biting, or grinding that you'd like to do them)
  • Remember when we…(a particularly toe-curling time you've had sex)
  • What do you think of the idea of…(some exciting sexual act or position that you haven't tried yet, like sex on the balcony, rimming, or being watched while having sex; you can even send an article about it!)
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Kelly Gonsalves
Kelly Gonsalves
Contributing Sex & Relationships Editor

Kelly Gonsalves is a multi-certified sex educator and relationship coach helping people figure out how to create dating and sex lives that actually feel good — more open, more optimistic, and more pleasurable. In addition to working with individuals in her private practice, Kelly serves as the Sex & Relationships Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a degree in journalism from Northwestern University, and she’s been trained and certified by leading sex and relationship institutions such as The Gottman Institute and Everyone Deserves Sex Ed, among others. Her work has been featured at The Cut, Vice, Teen Vogue, Cosmopolitan, and elsewhere.

With her warm, playful approach to coaching and facilitation, Kelly creates refreshingly candid spaces for processing and healing challenges around dating, sexuality, identity, body image, and relationships. She’s particularly enthusiastic about helping softhearted women get re-energized around the dating experience and find joy in the process of connecting with others. She believes relationships should be easy—and that, with room for self-reflection and the right toolkit, they can be.

You can stay in the loop about her latest programs, gatherings, and other projects through her newsletter: