When I was newly single, post-divorce after over 20 years of marriage, my self-esteem and confidence was pretty low. When dating men, I was always anxious to avoid that bad angle of my neck, tummy or thighs. I thought about getting a boob job practically every single day. It took a while, but some wonderful and patient lovers made me feel that none of those things mattered. C-section scar, loose tummy skin, small tits, muffin top thighs… none of those things were what they saw. They saw me as the sexy and sensual woman that I didn’t even see myself. The more I felt desired, the more desirable I felt. It’s a virtuous circle, and it starts with doing things (and wearing things) that remind you of your sensuality. Writing a dating profile is a great exercise in thinking about how you want to move through the world as a sexual being (after all, the point is to get laid). You have an opportunity to think about how you want to present yourself in a uniquely personal and sexual way. The rounds of messaging and flirtation and dates that follow are exciting and you start to feel desired and attractive. Is it possible to sustain this heady feeling after we settle down with a partner in a long term relationship? The answer is no. As Esther Perel writes in her book, Mating in Captivity, the twin desires for adventure and security are part of human nature but are diametrically opposed. In a LTR, the best you can hope for is to be aware of and manage this paradox.
My advice, for what it’s worth, is that we should reclaim risky outdoor sex, dirty talk, nude selfies and fantasy boudoir lingerie for ANY stage of a relationship. Somehow, after you get all grown up and stuck in a long-term coupling, all risk, romance and eroticism becomes buried in a form of puritanism. You both stop seeing each other as the sex fiends you once were. How can we remind ourselves that we are still sexual beings? Converse and communicate about this, and make sure you both make clear that you want to hear about each other’s deepest, filthiest desires. Don’t forget, they may have changed over the years! How about sending filthy text messages to your husband that are not just about domestic timetabling. If you’ve never done it before, he may think you’re not quite well so again, communication is key! Dress to feel desirable – remember that virtuous circle, and resist the onesie or sweatpants! My best tip is to start planning your erotic encounters in advance. The best sex is usually not the spontaneous kind. The more scheming and detailed forethought that both of you put into your… let’s call them…dates, sessions, encounters, the hotter and better your sex life will be.