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High levels of passionate love that is experienced in the initial stage of the relationship are not likely to be maintained throughout the marriage. Sometimes, our spouse’s habits, are the reminder that marriage is not always rainbows and sunshine. But the reality is, you can get through this together, through thick and thin, annoyance and love, and for better or worse. Always remind yourself, WHY and WHAT made you fall in love in the first place.

Dr Angela Tan, an intimacy coach, the founder of Academy of Relationship & Sex and a family physician, shares her tips and advice to help couples reignite the passion in their marriage.

 

1. Identify intimacy needs

Dr Angela shares, by stereotype, men prefer action, penetration and ejaculation, while women desire connection and more physical touches. But, this is not for all couples and also, not the same case all the time, because, there are times where hot sex or slow sex is desired. The best way to know what your spouse likes? Simply ask what would turn him/her on and their preferences in the bedroom.

Let’s hear what some couples have to say:

“I am shy with my intimate wants; my husband is the explorer who explores what turns me on. His efforts paid off because he helped discover my G-spot.” ~ Bryana (32) & Samuel (36), married for 8 years, parents to a 7-year-old and a 3-year-old.

 

“It’s good that our “love languages” correspond with each other, so we connect quite easily.” ~ Disha (31) & Ruben (31), married for a year.

 

“Women think differently from men because they have more emotional needs.” ~ Gillian (23) & Mark (33), married for a year, parents to 7-month-old, Eli.

 

2. Enjoy the moment

The trying to conceive journey can be daunting when both couples are just focused on the “job”. The advice from Dr Angela is, whether you are trying to conceive or want to keep the romance alive, having frequent connections like daily cuddles and regular heart to heart talks will keep the intimacy factor. And when you are trying to conceive, don’t focus on the conceiving bit, but take the time to explore each other’s bodies and enjoy the moment.

“I would give him massages to keep the romance alive in our marriage.” ~ Gillian

 

What else can couples do to keep the romance alive?  

“Keep things fun, being parents doesn’t mean the fun and romancing has to stop. While the kids are busy with TV, I would run my cold fingers down my husband’s spine because I know it turns him on but he can’t do anything till the kids are sleeping, and when the kids are finally asleep, the long-awaited anticipation kicks in.” ~ Bryana

 

“Remember and make plans for important dates. Occasional flowers and random words of affirmation keeps the romance going. Even doing household chores together is considered fun! It’s not what you are doing but who you are doing it with. ~ Faith (35) & Wee Ee (36), married 6 years, parents to a 4-year-old and a 10-month-old.

 

3. Make these bedroom essentials available

When we say bedroom essentials, we meant the essentials for intimacy. Dr Angela says, besides lubricants, you can include music, lighting, candles, but the most important essential is the couple, to be present with each other. That means no handphones, NETFLIX and the likes.

“We used sperm-friendly lubricants during our trying to conceive days.” ~ Samuel

 

4. Tease each other (romantically)

“Intimacy is the key for connection for us, and not just the physical intimacy, but also the emotional intimacy. It is a fairly good indicator of trust in our marriage.” ~ Disha & Ruben

Sometimes, we tend to forget how it is like to be intimate with each other. Dr Angela shares some ways you could tease your spouse to keep things exciting, you could leave a note on the laptop or even put sexy lingerie on the table as a hint. Wouldn’t this be fun even for couples who are working from home?

“When I am in the mood for sex while my wife is asleep, I don’t scare her awake just to please my desires, but I tease her with gentle touches, and most of the time, I don’t get rejected.” ~ Samuel

 

5. Avoid these mood killers

Behold! Dr Angela says, while building up the mood, avoid surprising your partner with new ideas that she/he may feel offended/ uncomfortable about. Avoid sharing need-to-improve type feedback about the previous sexual experience during the mood-building phase or during sex. And most importantly, don’t talk about your ex before, during or after sex.

 

6. Schedule intimate time if necessary

As unsexy as scheduling sounds, Dr Angela says, intimate time should be scheduled especially when your schedule is packed and there is hardly time for couple time. For frequency, it depends on the couple. Communicate to find out what works for both of you. And intimate time is not always about having intercourse, it can be a session of sensual massage, cuddling or simple heart to heart talk.

 

7. Resolve misunderstandings

“Sometimes, instructions get lost in translation. And I guess we assume that we understood each other.” ~ Faith and Wee Ee.

Let’s be honest, misunderstandings do happen, so how do couples resolve misunderstandings in their marriage? Communication and of course, bribery:

“If I am the cause of my husband’s anger or stress, I would try to do something to make him feel better, like bribe him with delicious food (laughs).” ~ Gillian

“If it is a heated argument, we would give each other space to cool down before communicating.” ~ Disha & Ruben

 

8. Manage expectations, before and after marriage

“We expected roles and responsibilities to be split equally between us. But, we’ve learnt that 50-50 might not always be the best solution.” ~ Faith & Wee Ee

Having an expectation means having a strong belief that something will happen, but it can also lead to disappointments, so instead of having expectations, shift it to being more aware of each other’s needs: 

“I truly appreciate my husband for compromising and becoming more responsible after marriage.” ~ Gillian

So be prepared for squabbles, it’s not always bad. Resolving conflict positively makes the marriage stronger! Remember to laugh more together instead of criticising each other’s behaviours.

 

9. Grow together

“Get a separate blanket - she’ll steal yours.” ~ Ruben

There is always something new to discover as you grow in the relationship, sometimes, it’s about trusting your guts:

“I trusted my gut feeling when I asked my wife to be my girlfriend just two days after meeting her in person (smiles).” ~ Mark

“I was afraid of being in a relationship until I met Samuel, and when we became parents, he provided the boost of confidence I needed to get through motherhood.” ~ Bryana

“I find it interesting to discover my wife’s habits, it is like a “challenge accepted” mission where I adapt to her habits and make it work.” ~ Samuel

“We learn to enjoy the journey together, the highs, lows and everything in between.” ~ Faith & Wee Ee

 

FAQ answered by Dr Angela Tan

How do we increase libido for women with low sex drive?

There are plenty of reasons for low sex drive, these reasons include stress, being overwhelmed with household chores and work, the tension between spouse or even medical conditions like thyroid and hormone disorder. You need to identify the reason and once that is settled, your libido will increase naturally.

Is it common/normal for women to be nauseous after sex?

It is not common but it is normal because your body goes through hormonal changes after sex which can trigger nausea.

What should we do if we got caught in the act by our child?

It is good to introduce boundaries and privacy to your child to prevent this from happening. But if your child does catch both of you in the act, it is important to watch your reaction, don’t traumatise your child by shouting or scolding, don’t feel ashamed about being caught in the act. Depending on your child’s age, it is a good opportunity to share age-appropriate sex education with your child. 

 

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