How to Increase Sexual Spontaneity

A common complaint of couples who have been together for a while is a lack of spontaneity in their sex life. Many believe it's a function of monogamy, that sex will always get boring after a while, particularly if you're engaging in the same sexual behaviors, in the same way, over long periods of time.

On the one hand, if being spontaneous means never planning for sex, I think this is a misguided belief.

We all plan for sex to varying degrees. And so I don't know that there is such a thing as a completely spontaneous sexual activity. On the other hand sexual ideas, feelings, and desires can just "pop up" or appear without warning, and that what many of us want is to be on the receiving end of such intense desire that it takes precedent over everything else that is happening such that a sexual encounter seems out of the blue, or at a bad time, or spontaneous.

And this is something you can develop. Being sexually spontaneous won't be the same for any two people, but if there is sexual desire then there are options for having more sex that seems spontaneous. Here are some tips on where to start:

Is It Desire or Initiation?
What makes us spontaneously decide to initiate sex in a relationship? It's desire. What we call spontaneity is often just desire that gets expressed as sexual initiation. If you feel as if your relationship lacks this, the first question to ask yourself is: am I missing the sexual drive or is it the act of initiating sex that I don't like?

If the desire isn't there, then the kind of help you need is quite different. But if you want to have sex and just aren't sure how to translate that into something that feels spontaneous, read on.

Check Your Thoughts
How often and how deeply do you think about sex? Are you aware of when you're having sexual thoughts?

These thoughts might not be explicitly sexual, as in "I want to go sexually wild right this second".  They  might be more about love or lust, as in "I'm feeling flushed and thrilled that I have someone in my life I want to be sexual with or who I love or who I feel safe with". Don't expect your sexual thoughts to look/sound/feel like porn or Hollywood movies.

Do you find yourself wanting to be sexual or having the desire to reach out and touch your partner or thinking sexy thoughts about you and/or your partner, at times that seem "unexpected"?  Have you ever been sitting having lunch say, or in the middle of dinner maybe with a friend of family member, and had the thought pop in your mind like "jeez, my partner really turns me on" or "I wish we were naked and writhing around on a bed right now" or something along those lines?  You might never think things like this. But you might be having thoughts that are similar but you edit them before you ever speak them or even recognize them for yourself as sexual thoughts. This may be true particularly for those of us who were raised with negative messages about sexual desire. Identifying and acknowledging that we have sexual thoughts, and that it's okay, is an important start toward greater sexual spontaneity in a relationship.

Do You Know What Desire Feels Like?
Just as some of us edit or filter out sexual thoughts because we aren't comfortable with them or have always been told that they aren't "proper" some of us are unaware of what desire feels like in our own bodies and minds. So the next step is to become more aware of when you are feeling desire, or sexual interest. For some it begins with a thought or a day dream. For others they may feel desire first in their bodies before a thought forms about who or what is the object of said desire.

This raises an interesting question; do you know what sexual desire feels like in your body before you act on it? This isn't the same as asking what partnered sex feels like. And it doesn't necessarily mean what it feels like to be erect or engorged or wet (because that doesn't always happen with desire, let alone arousal).

No, the question is, do you know what the earliest stirrings of sexual desire feel like in your body. If the answer is no, start paying attention and see if you can discover it. It might help to reacquaint yourself with your sexual anatomy.

Stop Editing Yourself
Before you start sharing your thoughts and body in a more spontaneous way with others, start at least sharing it with yourself. If you become aware that you are thinking or feeling something sexual and then ignoring it, setting it aside, or actively denying it, just take note. Or if it feels okay, you can give yourself permission to keep thinking that thought or feeling what you are feeling. The problem with editing yourself all the time is that you don't give yourself permission to "go there" and also your partner never knows that you are in fact feeling desire of one sort or another.

Over time, expanding your awareness of when you feel or think about sex may help you tune into those feelings and thoughts more often and more fully. If you're like most people, you weren't raised to carefully develop your own sexual desires.  Instead you were fed whatever version of mainstream sexuality was available to you.  Just as we can develop a taste for food that is finely tuned and able to discern small points of pleasure, we can also develop a desire that is particular and aroused by both the small and the large things in our lives. In order to act on your desire with comfort and confidence you need to know a bit about it. That's what this task is all about.

Start Sharing
Which brings us to the next task, which is to actually share what you're feeling or thinking with your partner. There are lots of reasons we don't do this. As mentioned above, we might not even be aware of our feelings and thoughts. Sexual shame can also get in the way of us being able share, in the moment, a sexual thought or feeling with a partner. It's possible that we don't feel safe to share. Sharing a sexual thought or making a sexual advance always includes an element of risk.

If we've been rejected before (by a current partner or in the past) this can make us wary of putting ourselves out there again. But we have to start somewhere. One way to foster greater spontaneity in terms of sexual activities is to start with sexual thoughts and feelings. Being able to say "wow I really love that soft spot on the back of your neck" or "you have very sexy hands" or whatever it is, is a good place to start.

Be More Spontaneous with Yourself
If you're trying to become someone who takes more sexual initiative or acts more on your immediate feelings of desire, you might want to start with yourself. I'm not advocating anything that would get you arrested or fired but what would happen if the next time you were feeling turned on you found your way to somewhere private and safe and indulged in a little self love? Even though it's the most common sexual activity, masturbation still gets a bad rap. But it might be a good way to practice increasing spontaneity in your partnered sex life, by starting with yourself. One barrier for some people to being more spontaneous is the feeling that it's not appropriate to drop other things in order to have a sexual or sensual moment. Giving yourself permission to do this on your own may help you do it with a partner.

Just saying that you want sex to be more spontaneous isn't enough to make a change. If spontaneity is an issue in your relationship it can help to get a better sense of what exactly your partner wants more of. Do they want you to initiate sex more often? Is it about where and when you have sex? And if they'd like you to be more spontaneous, do they take half of the responsibility for your sex life? The myth that sex is just supposed to happen can lead us to believe that we shouldn't have to explain ourselves. But in order to get what you want, usually you need to ask for it. So if you're in the position of being asked to be more spontaneous, make sure you know what is expected of you before you start worrying about meeting those expectations.

Try It Out
Finally you'll have to just give it a try. Things that are new can feel uncomfortable or awkward at first, and having a sense of humor can help. While you shouldn't be having sex you don't want, or that feels unsafe, it's not unrealistic to expect some awkwardness. Don't expect it to be like porn or Hollywood movies, and it may not even go very well the first few times you try. But if your efforts come from a place of desire, the effort itself will probably be appreciated. Becoming more spontaneous has to to fit who you are.  Lots of us will never be the tearing-clothes-off-sex-in-the-elevator types.  That's okay.  Great sex is different for each of us and simply playing out the fantasies that are reflected in porn and mainstream media don't make for great sex anyway.  Nothing against elevators of course!

Remember, Pressure Isn't an Aphrodisiac
If you're feeling pressure, if you're pressuring your partner, or if your partner is pressuring you, it's a good bet that this isn't going to achieve the desired results. Few things are as big a turn off as being pressured to want or have sex. If that's what you feel is going on, talking with your partner and/or with a counselor about your relationship may be a better move than following a series of tips, as the issues behind why sex isn't what you both want may be bigger than a lack of sexual imagination.