In today’s hectic world, the demands of life can end up dictating your relationship rather than the other way around. Sexual intimacy is often one of the casualties. Time, stress, and busy schedules make it difficult for couples to find time when both partners are interested and available for sex.
If you and your partner would like to have more or better sex, the first step is to prioritize it like you do other important things in your life. One way to kick start this new approach is to have a sexcation with your partner.
A sexcation is a vacation that is solely dedicated to connecting intimately with your partner. Sexcations work well over a long weekend where you will have 3-4 days together away from the stress of your normal life. Let’s discuss how to plan your sexcation in order to maximize the chances that it will be a success.
Step 1: Overcoming Obstacles
You may be thinking, “I don’t have the (time, money, childcare, energy, etc.) for a sexcation with my partner.” It’s entirely possible that now is not the right time for you to have a sexcation. But before jumping to that conclusion, I encourage you to consider your options with an open mind.
Remember that a sexcation is not about extravagance. Rather, the main focus is creating a space for quality time together.Let’s start with time. How do you currently spend your time? Are you busy with kids, family visits, work, or projects? These are all important, but where does your relationship fit into that? Having a vibrant romantic relationship is something most people want, yet many of us do not give ourselves permission to truly prioritize it. If you are unable to coordinate consecutive days off together, start with one day and see how that goes.
Let’s consider the financial aspect. Remember that a sexcation is not about extravagance. Rather, the main focus is creating a space for quality time together. You could even plan a sexcation at your house if you are unable to travel.
If childcare is an issue, I encourage you to think creatively about how to solve that problem. If you have a baby, you may be able to structure your time together around when the baby is sleeping. If you have toddlers or older children, perhaps they can stay with a friend or family member for the weekend.
I know it won’t be easy to navigate all these obstacles, but I have seen couples do it with persistence. The following instructions are designed to help you connect, or reconnect if you’ve been distant from each other.
Step 2: Creating Your Oasis
Once you have blocked out the time on your calendars and picked the location of your sex-cation, it’s time to create your oasis. To do this, you may need to plan a buffer between the stress of normal life and your intimate time together. It may be best to plan for the first full day of your sexcation as a buffer day. If you only have one or two days total, you may need to shorten that period.
During the buffer day, consider what you need to do to feel present with your partner. If you need to wrap up loose ends from the week, you can do so, but limit your work to no more than 1 hour, then set it aside for the rest of the time. You and your partner may also have unresolved conflicts from the week. *If* you feel you can discuss it in a calm and respectful manner, spend no more than 1 hour discussing the issue to come to a resolution or stopping point. If you cannot discuss it in a calm manner, make a contract with each other to set the issue aside while on your sexcation. This is not the time for bickering and fighting; it’s time to reconnect and focus on the things you like about each other.
Once you have wrapped up loose ends, each partner should engage in self-care activities for the rest of the buffer day. One good recipe for self-care includes:
- Sleep or rest.
- The use of mindfulness to tune into your thoughts, feelings, and sensations.
- Journaling or other forms of self-expression to release pent up emotions and stress.
- Self-soothing activities to calm and pamper yourself.
Everyone is different, so I encourage you to think ahead about what works best for you and create a self-care plan. Some people may want to go on a long bike ride, while others want a hot bath. Some people use meditation, while others use movement or dance. Some people are soothed by rock music, while others respond to classical. There is no right or wrong way to engage in self-care.
Step 3: Intellectual and Emotional Foreplay
Once you and your partner conclude your buffer phase, you can now enter your oasis together. From here through the rest of your sexcation, you will be in foreplay with each other. Foreplay starts long before the clothes come off. It also involves connecting with each other mentally and emotionally.
Consider using the following prompts:
- Each partner share your memory of the first time you met, including what drew you to each other and how you felt in the early stages of dating.
- Each partner share 10 things you like about the other person.
- Separately create a bucket list, then share with each other and discuss.
- Each partner share your top 5 favorite moments of your relationship together.
- Watch a thought-provoking or humorous movie together and discuss it afterwards. You could also discuss a passage from a book.
Step Four: Getting Sexy
Once you are feeling intellectually stimulated and emotionally connected, you can begin to incorporate traditional foreplay involving sensual touch. Think ahead about what type of lovemaking you’d like. Do you enjoy feeling seductive and sultry? Sweet and sensual? Fun and flirty? Or some combination of these?
It’s important to cultivate an environment in which both of you feel safe in sharing your desires. Judgment and criticism have no place in your oasis. Also remember your sexcation is not a time to push each other’s boundaries. Instead, focus on activities you both will enjoy.
Consider creating a sensual menu of things you like, such as:
- Oral sex.
- Mutual masturbation.
- Sensate focus.
- Extended kissing.
- Exploring each other’s erogenous zones.
- Kink play.
Think about using music, scents such as candles or lotion, or sensual fabrics such as satin or leather. You can also use erotic stories or art to set the mood. Bring any sex toys, sexy games, lingerie, or outfits that you might like to use. Be sure to stay well hydrated, well fed, and well rested. Remember that, regardless of anything else, your goal is connection and enjoyment as a couple.
If you need help restoring intimacy in your relationship, you may wish to contact a sex therapist or couples counselor. With support from the right therapist, you and your partner can reconnect both physically and emotionally.
- Gottman, J. & DeClaire, J. (2002). The relationship cure: A 5 step guide to strengthening your marriage, family, and friendships. New York, NY: Three Rivers Press.
- Gottman, J. & Silver, N. (2015). The seven principles for making marriage work: A practical guide from the country’s foremost relationship expert. New York, NY: Harmony Books.
- McCarthy, B & McCarthy, E. (2014). Rekindling desire, 2nd Ed. New York, NY: Routledge.
- McCarthy, B & McCarthy, E. (2012). Sexual awareness: Your guide to a healthy couple sexuality, 5th Ed. New York, NY: Routledge.
- McCarthy, B & McCarthy, E. (2009). Discovering your couple sexual style. New York, NY: Routledge.
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