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I speak to women all the time who are facing a major dilemma about how they’ve set up their lives: they have chosen a relationship that makes them feel safe, cared for, stable, and is a good place to raise their children. They have the consistency and show-up-ness of a steady, committed partner that makes for the secure home life they want for themselves and their children.

Can I have it all?

Yet, they realize that somewhere along the way, they gave up something really important in order to have that. They gave up sexual juiciness and excitement, sexy fun times, sexual creativity, and exploration. They want a dynamic sex life. They want to have sexual fulfillment AND have a family. They want to have their partner be stable and supportive, but they also want the sexual romance and unpredictability of a hot sex life where quickies and the pull towards swept-away or up-against-the-wall passion are central to what continues to make it exciting.

They want equality as women (who doesn’t really?) yet, they have fantasies of being submissive, of being taken. They want to take the risk of dressing in their Sexy Dom best, bringing out their wild woman, or stepping into their flirty Femme Fatale where they can play, manipulate and star in their own sexy show with their lover. But they get nervous. What will this mean about me? Can I do this with my husband or long-term partner? Will this mean I give up equality? Respect? Honor?

It’s not always easy to create all of this in the same relationship. I witness so many women who come through my programs seeking to find the sweet spot where they can show up in all their sexual glory and not worry about how they will be judged. They are afraid it’s not “safe” to be sexy. They are afraid they won’t have equality if they play with sexual power.

It’s absolutely possible to have all of this with the same person if you are on the same page and make it a priority. What I usually see is that people get into relationships where the sexual part isn’t quite there and they approach it as if it will grow over time. If there is not a desire in both people to grow it in the beginning, it’s unlikely it will happen later. It doesn’t mean it has to be a perfect match from the get-go, since often we have to get to know one another sexually before we find the sweet spot of mutual sexual satisfaction. But more often, because culturally we don’t talk about sex enough, people suffer silently, hoping it “will just happen,” believing the myth that “love is all you need.”

Love is a really good start. But you need way more than that to make a satisfying relationship.

And then we downplay sex. We act like it’s just not that important and then wonder why the infidelity rate is so high in monogamous relationships.

Juicy Couplehood

You always have a choice to make. You are building a relationship that you want to last, so you better include the whole package, and that means sex too. If you want to raise children with your best friend in a sexless relationship, then you might be in the perfect spot. But if you really want to maintain your own sexual juiciness and keep your couplehood as an important component of happy family, you’ve got to talk about sex and make sure you are both on track for having the sexual life you really want.

Women are deeply afraid of how they will be judged for their out-of-the-box fantasies. And your partners are often afraid to bring up something new they’d like to try because what if you don’t like it, or what if you wonder where it came from, or what if…? There is so much mitigation of sexual fantasy and desire because of what you think others will think that it dulls your sexuality and renders your fantasies unattainable.

If you let go of what others think and decided that your sexual desires are a worthy pursuit, how might that change your approach? If you believed you could have both the secure best friend and the hot passion, what would you do differently?

You will never arrive. It’s like anything else: it requires attention and focus to maintain a vibrant sexual life in a long-term partnership, especially once you introduce children into the picture. Your sexual needs and desires will likely change over time, and if you are in a relationship built to last, trust that the relationship can handle it. Trust that you can express new desires and have them be taken seriously, even if you don’t get to play them all out. Sometimes it’s more about the idea than the reality. And sometimes, well, sometimes, you want to make that sexy thing happen! But you’ve got to share it and let your partner know.

Sexuality is a priority—if you make it one.