Written by therapist Brianna Moreland
The topic of sex either makes people uncomfortable, or they love it. Sex should not be a topic to shy away from or to be ashamed of talking about. God has created us as sexual beings with desires and needs. Now how we steward our sexuality is a topic for another day, but today we are discussing playfulness and intimacy. Anyone who is in a committed intimate relationship knows what it is like for that spark to go away. The spark that keeps sex fun and sensual. When couples enter a stage where sex feels like a chore, the desire to want to be intimate diminishes.
Why So Serious?
Life is hard and stressful. It is easy to go day by day in your relationship without letting yourself loose. When was the last time you laughed with your partner? Research has shown that when humans are looking for possible mates, they are attracted to playfulness and humor. Playfulness gives an invitation to your partner that you welcome their quirks and playfulness. Think about one of your favorite memories with your partner…I bet it involves laughing in some way. Laughing not only decreases stress, but it helps create bonds with the people you laugh with. Before I move on to discuss what playfulness can look like, I want to address my fellow introverts – I know you are saying, “I’m not fun,” or “I’m too shy,” or “I’m not funny”, but I want to remind you that playfulness and humor come in different shapes and sizes. You do not have to be an extrovert to be playful. Maybe you are an extrovert and married to an introvert, great! You two will be able to achieve playfulness together. Everyone has humor and everyone can learn to play.
Playfulness with your Partner
Before we dive into sex, let us be reminded that intimacy isn’t limited to sex; it can be emotional and/or physical. Playfulness outside of the bedroom can lead to heightened feelings of sensuality. Remember when I talked about sex feeling like a chore? Well, playfulness can help increase an actual desire for one another. When you approach sex like a chore, I can guarantee one or both people will be unsatisfied. Research has shown that people have used playfulness to seduce their partners and that it’s made sex more enjoyable. So, how do you have the kind of playfulness that leads to great sex? Here are some examples, just to name a few:
- Secret language for sex
- Nicknames or secret jokes
- Sending flirty texts while at work
- Taking showers or baths together
Do not be afraid to be creative! A candlelit dinner with some chocolate-covered strawberries is a great way to spice up intimacy, but so is dancing naked with each other around the house.
It is important to be aware of your boundaries and your partner’s when it comes to sex in general. Some people may not be comfortable roleplaying, but love the idea of having a secret language for sex. Boundaries can come in three categories: yes I would love that, no I would never, and I would try it. Discussing which categories your boundaries fit into will help navigate what type of playfulness will be best for your relationship. Communication should not just happen before the activity, but also after. Discuss with each other what you enjoyed and maybe what you did not. Nonetheless, both partners need to respect each other’s boundaries.
Playfulness not only can lead to spicier sex life, but it can also lead to a stronger relationship. We have all been around someone who is an “all business, no play,” person and it is not enjoyable. Approaching someone that is always serious can be intimidating when dealing with conflict. When you and your partner can loosen up and be goofy around each other, you both are creating an atmosphere of acceptance. When we are out in society, we rarely let our silly child-like side come out. Marital therapist R. William Betcher wrote, “It is through playing that we learn how to approach someone’s more intimate self”. With that being said, go be silly with your partner! You will not regret it.
Talking about intimacy can be scary especially if there is shame around sexuality. If you want to discover more about how to spice up your marriage or simply explore your boundaries, please do not hesitate to reach out to myself or another therapist here at Optimum Joy!