Vanderpump Rules took a deeper look into Tom Sandoval and Ariana Madix’s sex life this week, with Ariana admitting the reason the couple hasn’t been having that much sex lately is because she’s still recovering from an emotionally abusive past relationship. The two clearly love each other, and everyone (except Kristen Doute) loves them together, so we asked a sex therapist what they can do to get their sex life back — and her answer was pretty interesting.
Just forget about the sex part of it.
Brooklyn based sex therapist Carolanne Marcantonio, LMSW, says that most couples actually go through this and that it’s very normal to lose touch with a regular sex life, especially if you are in a long-term relationship and live together, like Tom and Ariana.
“This is very common, most couples go through this,” Marcantonio explains to Personal Space. “I would say that sometimes we really expect sex to be spontaneous and we think that’s normal and what we are aiming for, but the reality is we all have busy lives and if we don’t have or make time for sex, that means sometimes it just won’t happen.”
She says couples have to be really honest with themselves — and each other — about the lack of bedroom activity, but it doesn’t have to be a pressure filled conversation that leads to weird intercourse.
“Sit down with your partner, plan a date night, put oomph into it, no sweatpants and Netflix,” she says. “Putting on an outfit, hair and makeup, if that’s what that means to you, go out, eat in, but injecting some sort of oomph into it can help. Really put time in outside the bedroom to connect and talk and be romantic and talk about what it is you want to see happen. Explain what are you looking for.”
Marcantonio says that after discussing it outside the bedroom, the next time you’re in the bedroom, it can be baby steps.
“It doesn’t have to be sex, you don’t have to lunge for the crotch, say, OK we’re in the bedroom, let’s spend time together, turn on music, light a candle, it doesn’t have to end in an orgasm,” she says. “Reconnect and enjoy each other, if you’re not feeling that comfortable, keep some clothing on. Enjoy each others bodies and togetherness.”
So start with a date night once a week, be romantic and connect outside the bedroom. Decide what and what kind of romance you want in bedroom, and be together, while not being so concerned about penetrative sex, is what she advises.
And know that it’s all very normal.
“In a long term relationship, know that sex will eventually decrease and that is normal, that is just part of a long term relationship- normalizing and accepting that is good,” she adds. “In order to have sex happen, you have to get creative and sometimes you have to build it up, just waiting for it, you may be waiting forever. Just know there’s not something broken, it’s normal, know it will happen and it’s the creativity of it that you figure out what to do.”
And, she adds, if you’ve tried above and every other option in your mind, individual and couples therapy can always help. So can certain books, like The Erotic Mind,
“Once you get in ‘we’re using the bathroom with the door open,’ mode, you need to reignite that romantic feeling. If there is something more going on, maybe around self worth or trauma it is worth going to therapy to get through that. But this is a normal part of life, we’re all messy people and all very busy,” Marcantonio says.
“To really drive the point home, separate intimacy from sex. The goal of this is intimacy building, that can mean sex or a massage or holding one another or making out. There’s a lot of pressure put on sex an that pushes people away from it, if you take sex off the table, it can bring the couple to it naturally. The goal is intimacy and connection.”
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