Worried that the romance is running out of your relationship? Looking to spice up your sex life but unsure where to start? We share 11 tips to help you rekindle that spark and put your wellbeing first

Everyone plateaus. No matter how much you love someone, how passionate your relationship has been, or how close you’ve felt, we all reach a lull at some point or another. And you know what? That isn’t a bad thing. Slow periods and problems alike in our romantic relationships can be an opportunity for growth and reflection, helping us to strengthen our bonds with our partner and ourselves.

Whether you’re worried that your sex life has taken a backseat, or you feel like the intimacy is starting to wane, there are things that you can do to rekindle that spark and feel closer than ever to the one you love. We share 11 tips to get you started.

A couple walk together outside, passing an 'adults only' sign

Have some quality solo-fun

When you’re struggling with an aspect of your relationship (be it intimacy, sex, or something else), masturbation probably isn’t high on your priority list. But as forms of self-care go, it really should be up there. Self-love and self-pleasure can help you to release tension when stress or worry are getting to you, not to mention naturally releasing happy hormones and giving you a period of time where what you want, and how you are feeling is your focus.

Masturbation can give you the space to rediscover what works for you. Focus on what you enjoy, experiment, and ditch any worries about getting things ‘wrong’. By having some quality, solo fun, you don’t have to think about what your partner needs or wants at that moment; this is all about you.

For women, it can help to relieve menstrual cramps and muscle tension, as well as to strengthen muscle tone in your pelvic area. If you find it difficult to reach climax with your partner, becoming more familiar with what turns you on means you can get hands-on and share all the right spots with them.

For men, masturbation can help you to last longer during sex and, according to one study, may even reduce your risk of prostate cancer.

It can help boost your immunity and mood, help you to fall asleep easier at night, and can even improve your heart health. What’s not to love?

Make intimacy your priority

Relationships are about more than just sex. Well, the good ones are at least! If you’re worried that the intimacy may be fizzling out of your relationship, sex and relationship expert Lohani Noor recommends taking sex talk out of the bedroom.

“Don’t talk about sex whilst having or attempting to have sex. Find a mutually safe place where you are both relaxed and won’t be interrupted. Schedule time together for the sole purpose of talking about sex and intimacy.”

Many couples worry that without intimacy, their relationship can’t survive. Yet as one Counselling Directory member explains, a strong relationship can survive on a sense of intimacy that may grow and change over time, thanks to our levels of trust and self-disclosure.

“Intimacy builds strong foundations for couples to survive through the toughest of times. Physical and emotional intimacy go hand in hand: for a long-standing relationship, you can’t create a physical connection without including intimacy. Lacking emotional intimacy whilst the physical connection is thriving can develop complications with trust, anger, frustration, and confusion.

“To form a strong, long-lasting bond, intimacy is required. If you feel that intimacy is lacking in your relationship, it’s important to try to be as open as possible and communicate with your partner.”

A couple hug together outside, smiling and laughing

If you’re unsure of where to start, try creating some dedicated time where you can be together without the distraction of phones, the tv, tablets, or other devices. Planning date nights, doing things outside of the bedroom, and practising open communication can all be a huge help.

If you’re worried that your mental health or wellbeing may be having an impact, check out these tips on how you can help improve your relationship (and sex life) whilst still looking after your mental health.

Say no to bedroom boredom

Making small changes to your environment can have a big impact. While one of the biggest passion killers is phubbing, having a disorganised bedroom can be a big distraction that not only affects how we sleep – but how we have fun in the bedroom.

Removing distractions and creating a calmer atmosphere can help you to set the mood and take control of your space. Once you feel more comfortable and in control, you may just start feeling more confident (and nothing’s sexier than confidence).

If your space isn’t the problem, take the time to talk with your partner to discover the best course of action for you as a couple. When we aren’t open and honest with each other, we can risk misunderstandings which may lead to discontent and problems further down the line.

Find out more about how you can tackle bedroom boredom and differing libidos.

Boost your confidence and self-esteem

Confidence is sexy. Being assertive, accepting ourselves, and showing that you know your worth aren’t only huge turn-ons for most people – they also do wonders for your self-esteem. If you struggle with low self-confidence, you may not trust your own judgement or abilities. Your self-confidence can affect all areas of your life, from work to friendships and romantic relationships alike.

A couple look at each other nervously, peeking out from under a duvet

If you struggle with finding your drive or direction, are a shy person, or struggle with feelings of uselessness, worthlessness, or finding a sense of purpose, these can all be signs that you may have low self-confidence. The good news is there are plenty of things you can try to help build up your confidence.

Counselling, hypnotherapy, and coaching are amongst the most common ways people try to improve their confidence. Working with an experienced therapist or coach can help you to set realistic goals, explore the roots of your negative self-esteem, and help teach you strategies to recognise your worth.

If you’re looking to make sustainable changes, looking at the link between what you eat and how you feel can be beneficial. Researchers have found links between what we eat, how we feel, and our overall mental health and wellbeing. Working with a nutritionist to make positive changes to your diet can help you to reduce stress and anxiety, improve your mood, and help you to feel more confident and in control.

As explained by Nutritionist Resource, “When you look at improving self-confidence and making lasting changes, it’s important to take a holistic approach. This means looking at your lifestyle as a whole to consider what may be affecting your confidence.”

Want to know more about how what you eat is affecting your sex life? Find a qualified nutritionist near you on Nutritionist Resource.

Rediscover the benefits of sex

Sex really is scientifically good for us. Studies have suggested that loving, physical touch and sex can have a multitude of health benefits. According to the NHS, sex is good for our hearts, stress levels, and fending off illness, whilst hugs can help lower blood pressure.

Sex and sexual arousal raises your heart rate. Some studies have shown that orgasm can have similar benefits to light exercise (though getting busy in the bedroom isn’t enough to avoid your recommended 150 minutes of moderate activity each week). Another study suggested that those who regularly have sex feel that their general health is higher than those who don’t.

Assess your stress

We all feel stressed from time to time, but do you know just how much of an impact stress can have on you? Stress can affect us both emotionally and physically, with symptoms including:

  • feelings of agitation, frustration, or a shorter temper
  • feeling anxious, overwhelmed, or teary
  • having a lower sense of self-esteem
  • avoiding socialising
  • difficulty sleeping
  • turning to drugs, alcohol, or food for comfort
  • feeling dizzy, excessive sweating, experiencing digestive problems or an upset stomach
  • having chest pains or palpitations
  • a loss or decreased libido

With our hectic schedules and a multitude of pressures we face in our day-to-day lives, it can be easy to dismiss stress as something ‘normal’ or to be expected. Stress can take a huge emotional and physical toll on you – and your relationships. Being busy and successful doesn’t have to equate to feeling stressed or overwhelmed.

If you’re feeling stressed but aren’t sure where to start, check out these 10 ways to tackle stress right now.

Boost your libido the natural way

If you find yourself struggling to get in the mood, or you and your partner have vastly different libidos, it could be worth trying natural ways to give your sex drive a little boost.

Try a holistic approach and regain balance with herbalism. Natural supplements such as Siberian Ginseng can help you to recover from stress whilst providing hormonal restoration. Increasing your physical activity whilst decreasing your levels of stress and anxiety can help you to feel more relaxed. Try yoga to help improve your circulation and flexibility, whilst releasing tension.

Increasing your physical activity can also help to improve your stamina, clear your mind, and boost your body confidence.

Focus on what you do want

It may sound obvious but try to focus on the positive changes you want to see in your relationship – not on the negatives you want to avoid. While wanting to see your relationship continue to flourish and grow even stronger is great, when we frame our thoughts onto the negative, it can be harder to focus on the end results that we do want to see.

Counsellor Anita explains, “Most people find it easier to say ‘I don’t want … in my relationship.’ Never focus on what you do not want; otherwise, you will get what you do not want.

“We seem to find it easier to focus on the negative rather than the positive. It is imperative we turn our thoughts to the good things we want.”

By instead focusing on developing a positive mindset, we can help to stop automatic negative thoughts, catastrophising, negative self-talk, and a whole host of other ways we criticise ourselves and our relationships. Try experimenting with positive affirmations. Life coach and NLP practitioner Nicola explains how affirmations work, and what they can do for you.

Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass... it's about learning how to dance in the rain.

Look after your mental health

With one in four of us experiencing ill mental health each year and one in six of us reporting common mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression each week, it’s no wonder that it’s starting to have an impact on our sex lives.

If you’re worried about your mental health and wellbeing, it’s important to address the issues before they have the chance to develop. Admitting you need help is the first step, and can have a lasting impact across all areas of your life. Needing help is never a weakness.

If you are worried about a loved one’s health and wellbeing, letting them know that you are there for them, whenever they need to talk, can be a big help. Find out more about how you can support your partner with their mental health.

Couples counselling isn’t just a ‘last resort’

Few relationships exist without some form of conflict or discontent. It’s when we allow these bad feelings or upset to fester over time that we risk undermining our relationships. Working with a couples counsellor can provide a safe, neutral space where you can work towards improving your communication and resolving any issues.

Speaking with an outside party can help you to work through any underlying problems without worrying that a close friend or family member may ‘take sides’ or try to ‘fix’ things for you. A therapist isn’t there to give you the answers – but they are there to help you develop the tools and confidence to help strengthen your communication and relationship. They can help you to better understand why your arguments may escalate, discover more constructive ways you can communicate, understand how external factors such as lifestyle, culture, or family values may be affecting your relationship, and help you to resolve conflicts in a healthy way between you.

Psychosexual therapy (commonly known as sex therapy) can be an option for couples or individuals who are experiencing sexual problems.

Interested in couples counselling? Learn more about couples therapy and find a therapist near you on Counselling Directory.

Think outside of the box

At the end of the day, no two situations are exactly alike. What may work for another couple may not be the best fit for you – and that’s OK. There are many different ways you can work towards putting your relationship first, strengthen feelings of intimacy, and give yourself a confidence boost.

Hypnotherapy can help you to discover the root of any conflict or bad behaviour patterns that may be affecting your relationship. Helping you to learn to cope with conflict and manage difficult emotions more easily, working with a hypnotherapist can also help you to improve your confidence and start asking for what you need from your relationship.

Acupressure and acupuncture can help with a variety of sexual issues. Focusing on treating the whole person, rather than the symptoms, acupuncture and acupressure can help boost your circulation, sex drive, stamina, and enhance sensitivity. For some people, it can also help with erectile dysfunction, symptoms of menopause, and premature ejaculation.

If stress or anxiety are affecting you, holistic therapies such as reiki may be able to help. A type of non-invasive complementary therapy that focuses on healing energy and the disruption of our natural energies, reiki can help improve your mood, reduce symptoms of stress, and can even enhance your emotional clarity.