Dear Dr. Faizal,

My husband and I have been together for over 29 years. We met in high school, and have always had a very passionate relationship. Like most couples, we’ve had our commitment issues but it has only made our relationship stronger. Our sex life is very hot, and we are very happy. Should I be satisfied with the way things are or do you have any suggestions or tips on how we can make our relationship hot and spicy?

– Hot or Hot and Spicy

Dear Hot or Hot and Spicy,

As high school lovers, being together for over 29 years, being “very happy,” and still wanting a hotter and spicier relationship, you and your husband are an inspiration. As I say to the couples I counsel, “Be happy in your relationship but never be satisfied because once you’re satisfied, you stop trying.”

You can only achieve sexual spiciness through a deep sense of intimacy. It is imperative that you and your husband openly and non-judgmentally communicate your emotional and sexual needs with each other. In this way, you could try to seduce each other. Seducing a partner is work, and like work, you must schedule at least 15-30 minutes a day to talk to your husband about your day. Come home and immediately hug your husband and sit down and share the happy incidents and disappointments of your day. Encourage him to share the events of his day while listening attentively. This type of greeting would set the stage for the rest of the evening.

Bedtime stories are not just for kids. Before turning in each evening, share one thing about your husband that you appreciate that day. Your partner can have a turn after you finish. This would help you both to focus on the reasons you are with each other. Alternatively, you could tell each other the story of how you met and fell in love. This emotional foreplay could set the stage for later emotional, psychological and sexual intimacies.

You could try sensate focusing (massage with feedback). After a nice, warm, candlelit bath, take turns giving a relaxing massage. The person receiving the massage should verbalize the level of enjoyment through words (i.e., “That feels wonderful”) or sounds/moans. This validates the person giving the massage in pleasuring their partner. This exercise is beneficial on many levels, mostly by helping to increase the sexual intimacy and respect between couples.

One crucial feature of intimacy is self-disclosure or sharing core feelings between partners. I recommend taking turns telling each other what, or who, in your past gave you the most happiness, fear, anger, guilt, sadness, emptiness, passion, etc. For example, begin by asking your husband, “What is the one thing in your life that makes you, or made you, happy?” After he responds, ask him: “When was the last time you experienced this feeling?” You can apply the same two questions to the other feelings. For you both to “spice things up,” you must learn about, empathize with, and then accept the emotional experiences each of you has had.

Keep in mind that sharing your experiences and then discussing your feelings about them will help build more intimacy with each other, and intimacy will help maintain the passion and commitment in your marriage, resulting in hot and spicy sex for years to come.

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