Married At First Sight UK‘s resident sex therapist, , is no stranger to relationship dramas and as a sexpert of 11 years has helped lots of couples on the show. Now she has revealed five things that all loved-up partners should know.
From investing in sex toys to talking about how often you would like to be having sex, Charlene has a stack of relationship advice she believes every couple must hear.
Investing in toys can save your sex life, and setting aside time to discuss the bad aspects of your relationship is vital, says Charlene.
“One of the most common misconceptions is that if you love your partner, a relationship shouldn’t require effort. For us to thrive in our jobs we attend training courses, learn from colleagues, and receive supervision from our managers. How do we expect our relationships to grow and continue to provide us with fulfilment if we don’t put in the effort to make them better?”
To help couples thrive, Ann Summers has teamed up with Charlene to throw back the duvet on the hints and tips every couple should hear.
Maintain a healthy sex life through communication and emotional intimacy
A common worry in relationships is sex – how often should you be doing it, and is your relationship ‘normal’? In fact, recent research shows only 55% of women and 43% of men report being sexually satisfied in relationships longer than three years. To combat this, Charlene says communication is key.
“Agree a suitable time when there are no distractions to have a discussion about your sex life. Have a think about what turns you on and off and share with each other. Commit to building emotional intimacy first by arranging fun date nights. In the bedroom, build up to exploring each other’s bodies through massage and try different ways to experience pleasure. For example, with sex toys or audio erotica.”
Compromise is a must for compatibility
You won’t see eye to eye on everything in relationships – what’s more important is how you handle your differences. Charlene explains that from her experience overseeing new couples on Married At First Sight, compromise is the most important thing.
“It’s important that couples have the same commitment to learning how to be a better lover and partner every day. A willingness to grow and compromise is vital.”
Resolving conflict in a healthy way is also essential. “No long silences or aggression, but instead learning how to apologise if a reaction to a partner was irrational or unreasonable, and being able to arrange a time to resolve conflict in a calm setting.”
Introduce sex toys to open up conversations about pleasure
Sex toys don’t just bring pleasure, they open up conversations about sex and what turns you on.
Charlene says: “For a relationship to thrive and not just survive, it’s important to regularly add something new. The same routine every day can become stale and boring. Toys add a little bit of spice to your sex life, creating different sensations that can enhance your sexual experience and make your sex life more exciting.”
Speak about issues sooner rather than later
Does laundry on the floor push you into a pit of anger? Charlene advises tackling it sooner rather than later. Addressing small problems early on means you can have a calm and rational conversation before the problems impact your relationship.
“Often, couples avoid discussing the challenges in their relationships, until it is at a desperate stage. To keep your relationship healthy, set aside time to discuss the good and bad elements of your relationship.”
Prioritise yourself and time outside your relationship
The healthiest relationships involve couples who are fulfilled in all areas of life. Relying constantly on your partner for all your socialising and emotional support can put strain on your relationship, explains Charlene.
“Couples can prioritise self-care whilst in a healthy relationship, by not neglecting other areas in their lives that require attention. As much as it’s important to spend time with your partner, it can be equally important and great for your emotional wellbeing to have a support network where you can share how you’re feeling and, of course, have fun.”
To begin spicing up your sex life, explore the Ann Summers range of sex toys for couples.