It was about 15 years into my marriage.
Hard work, financial effort, child-rearing in central London, the deep gnawing loneliness of late stage capitalism – all of these things meant my marriage to my beloved husband felt empty. We both agreed – we were nothing more than partners steering a ship through the constant storm, both tethered to opposite ends of the boat so we could manage the magnitude of the task at hand. Both crawling into bed at the end of the day so bone deep exhausted that maybe we managed either 10 minutes on social media or a quick mutual hand job before sleep.
Not exactly what you want from your primary partner or what you expected from your life long romance. Nothing like the first flutters of sexual attraction. Or the wide open seas of falling into the bliss of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual love that you experienced in the first few years.
The truth is, that a lot of couples who coach with me find themselves in the same position. And, due to the fact that the time constraints and pressures of modern partnerships are generally pretty stretched thin, they are always clear about what they want too:
“How can we bring our pleasure back?”
And what they don’t want:
“Please don’t ask us to devote ourselves to years of tantric practice, ‘cos, whilst it’s interesting and all, we don’t live up a mountain or in a monastery, and we have maybe 30 minutes a day, tops, for sacred sex.”
They want shortcuts to ecstasy.
Quick fire ways to bring back the electric.
So here’s a list of the top five most powerful coaching practices I give them. Think of these as like a treasure chest of relationship possibilities, even for the most time-scarce of couples in today’s modern world. Get these right, and your relationship will regain its long lost spark.
1. Trust and Safety
We are told that safety is an antidote to pleasure and excitement in a marriage. And it’s true – if familiarity is the only thing we have going down between us – then there will likely not be any other type of going down going on. Ever.
On the other hand, long term couples can find themselves bereft of trust over time. From little discrepancies to big lies. Breaking our word to one another, even in the tiniest of ways, will erode trust eventually. And without trust, it is very difficult for a human nervous system to let go and receive pleasure.
It’s important to be honest about how you do this with your partner.
Commonly, we say we will do something and then we don’t do it. This can be as irksome as saying we’ll text and then we don’t, or as relationship shattering as committing to monogamy and then breaking it with a one night stand. The point here is, the trust in your relationship can be shattered overnight, or it can be broken down consistently. This type of relational behavior hurts. And nobody has good sex with someone if their heart feels broken or feeling abandoned.
If you think the trust has eroded in your relationship, or even if abandonment wounds are showing up due to an individual’s wounding, you can help by making an effort to create a promise to one another every day – could be as simple as “I will hang the washing up”. Could be as elaborate as “I am going into a 12 steps programme.” And then make sure you do it. And then make sure you follow up on it. No excuses. Over time, your reliability will allow your partner to trust you enough to allow you the best kind of intimate proximity.
2. Feelgood – don’t strangle the muse.
Once upon a time you felt delight in one another, and this spread out to feeling delight in life itself.
There are so many things that squash this kind of pleasure out of a relationship. But, take heart. It is really quite simple to bring this kind of feelgood back. We simply need to make sure we don’t forget to occasionally give the “muse” of our partnership some attention.
A great practice – to lead your relationship by its heart’s desires. (One person can lead on this or you can co-lead.)
Firstly – what even are the heart’s desires of your partnership? Take the time to write them down. You can both write out what you’d like to happen, and most importantly, how you’d like the relationship to feel. Or, you can take on the vantage point of the relationship itself. If you WERE the relationship, what do you want and how would you like to feel on a daily basis?
Once you know what these are, it can be very easy to start to create more of what you want. Think of this exercise like setting the mood. Do you want some romance? Some freedom to breathe? Some physical touch? Sensual pleasures shared? Do you want to connect in an intellectual way and feel challenged and inspired by one another?
When we know what we want for the relationship, generally speaking ideas about how to create it come forth very easily. And these ideas are often simple. “We vow to spend 5 minutes a day on the sofa without any distraction holding and stroking one another’s faces/hands/bodies etc because we want to FEEL connected beyond words.”
Go ahead and try. Then make it happen. Remember, to go for the feeling before the strategy and to get very clear on this first. Then, even 5 minutes a day will allow the muse to rise and dance between you once more. A relationship in flow is a beautiful thing and sexual longing often arises from this practice.
One of the most well-known and powerful books out there on relationships and keeping the fire alive is Esther PErel’s “Mating in Captivity”.
In it, she describes how the curation of distance and separation in your long term partnership is one very reliable way to generate turn on and excitement within it.
This bears out in my own experience too. And for many of my clients.
Because codependency is quite natural and, I would argue, even healthy in the right dose. Far too many of us try to “make it alone” and I don’t think that is a good way for a human to live. But when codependence truly sets in? Like the twin flame idea that two people are one half each of the same soul? Ew. I have to admit even the idea of that makes me want to throw up in my mouth just a little bit.
I have a life. I love and adore my husband. But I love him even more when I can spend the occasional weekend alone binge reading the Booker Prize shortlist. Or clothes shopping in London and maybe getting an eyebrow wax. Or… you get my point. When I have my own life, I automatically circle back to closeness with my partner. And we both feel sexier when we live like this.
As I mentioned, my clients often feel the same. I remember one woman in particular who talked about how she went to watch her husband address an audience in his professional capacity. It wasn’t a particularly sexy profession. No great performance necessary. Just the very act of seeing him as a separate entity to her. Up there giving a speech as a completely separate person. Afterwards, they had some of the best sex of their lives.
So give it a try. Let your partner go feral for a couple of days. Go see them as they work. Put your phone down and pay attention – observe them as they fix the car or put the children to bed.
Your moments of distance will add fuel to the coming together.
Could there be a more widely misunderstood (or more often abused) concept than that of polarity?
I’ll be honest. I get truly sick of it too. All that “codes to feminine energy” and “standing in masculine power” stuff can make me roll my eyes at the best of times. It’s like – do we WANT to return to the dark ages or create family dynamics along the lines of the Church of the Latter Day Saints? I mean – is that what all this feminism was FOR?!
The truth is though – I write and work within these terms of “Masculine and Feminine” a lot. And the reason is pretty simple. There is nothing, literally nothing, that brings the fire in so intensely, or so immediately, as when my husband and I get the polarity dialed between us.
Perhaps the best way to illustrate this is by describing its opposite for a moment.
Picture the scene – my husband is exhausted after a long day’s work. He gets in, takes a shower and collapses on the bed.
He’s ready for some loving.
I am feeling stressed. Like I’m holding everything together and like I haven’t spoken to anyone outside the family except the barista all day. I’ve just fought with my teenager and “banished his phone” for the 5th time that night. I’ve cooked and fed everyone. I have an article to write but it’s 8pm already. I catch a couple of cameo videos on Facebook of people addicted to Oxycontin in Arizona and I cry ‘cos that’s somebody’s kiddo out there. Then I too collapse on the bed.
I am ready for some loving.
My point is – who takes the reins from this place? Who puts the attention on the other first? Who decides to lead?
We understand that the feminine loves to receive. But in our hyper-masculinised world, often couples come together so exhausted that they both want to let go and surrender to the loving strokes of the other with equal fervor. And I see this all the time in couple clients too. It is extremely common to end up fighting about who gets to stand in the feminine/receptive pole first.
My point is – if we both stand there together? What happens? Generally speaking we both fall asleep. There is literally no electricity generated. It’s like the couple I coached who’s husband frequently fell asleep as soon as he mounted her. Nobody was taking control of the moment. And FOR THE LOVE OF GOD SOMEBODY NEEDS TO TAKE CONTROL OF THE MOMENT.
The same is true the other way round (though typically I don’t come across this as often, I’ll admit.)
When both partners want to be in the driving seat? When both want to lead the experience? Well we’re not having fun in this dynamic are we? It’s like both partners are looking around for the point of entry. And neither gets to let go into the experience.
When the polarity is “just right” between my husband and I though? It is literal fire. And also, a great thing for two busy working parents, it is easy and quick fire.
I remember the first time we tried a polarity exercise from one of my trainings. The recording asked the feminine partner to go into feeling and movement only. To tune into sounds and to expressing delight. To showing that delight through the body. Luckily for me (yay!) I got to be the feminine partner that time. I set about showing my husband how I felt about him through my body alone – sound, breath, movement. The classic tantric pillars.
The effect was powerful.
It inspired my husband to find the masculine pole straight away. There was something about the love and sheer beauty of my feminine expression in that moment, that drew out his power, his attention, his confidence, his energy.
He proceeded to take me like a God in human form.
We both said, afterwards, in unison.
“Not had sex like that since we were 17.”
Praise the Lord.
Thanking the angels.
Highly recommended – get your polarity game strong.
5. Ongoing Sexual Practice
I have often said to clients this one thing – that when my husband of 25 years and I share a sex practice, then we are basically having sex. And if we do not share a sex practice – then we are basically not having much sex.
This is a truth not many people want to hear, because it sounds like work. But it is true nevertheless.
One of the reasons for this is that the more we actually use our genitals and fire up our physical sex hormones, the more they will fire up of their own accord. So there’s nothing like having sex regularly to ensure that you continue wanting to have sex regularly. We literally turn on our physiology by spending some time every day in these kinds of practices.
One of the joys of having a whole bag of sex practices up my sleeve, is that I get to teach people what works in this arena. And believe me it works. I recently heard from a client, post-menopausal, whose sex life was really nonexistent. The amazing thing is, she didn’t even bring her partner in to coach with me. She simply got herself a self-pleasure practice and went really deep with it over several months. And the result was that she was able to let me know that her and her husband ended up having such incredible sex as a result of this, that they ended up staying overnight at a house party and she struggled not to scream the place down when they retired to their room for the night.
This was so moving and so incredible to me.
Because, the truth is that there is a lot wrong with our world right now.
There is so much pain and disenfranchisement. Relationships are expected to thrive within circumstances that are so innately unconducive to their thriving. Debt. Work loss. Wars. Pandemics. Mental health issues. All of it.
So to think that we can, in a few simple ways like I outline above, take our sex from zero to hero. From nothing to sex so loud it would offend polite society. In our 60s?
It gives me hope in humanity, it really does.
We are born wild. May we be wild and hungry remain.
Julia is a trauma-informed coach for men, women and couples who want to harness their sexual power and improve their relationships. She’s an expert in all things sex, orgasms and relationships, helping men and women embrace a more profound capacity for pleasure. Julia views life as innately erotic and believes that your outlook on sex has the potential to open your mind. Through her expert teachings, you will learn how to surrender and tap into your wildest and deepest being in order to live a more fulfilling life inside (and outside) of the bedroom.
SUPER POWER: Being a sex magician by helping you identify, source, and reclaim your life through the power of thriving sexuality & sensuality.
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