Novelty is just experiencing something new
Think about the last time you experienced something new. Maybe you tried out a new restaurant, you ventured to a new city, or tried out a new sport or hobby. That’s all novelty, and as they say, novelty is often the spice of life.
It’s completely normal and natural for people to want to seek out new experiences, and it’s also normal and natural to feel a little intimidated by new experiences. That’s true in every part of life, so it’s certainly true when it comes to sex. Novelty can be just the ingredient we need to bring back some excitement or spark some new energy to keep that flame burning.
Feeling a little unsure about the idea?
You don’t have to make any big changes to introduce a little novelty into your relationship. There’s novelty in new positions, new toys, different temperatures, a new outfit, a new role, new locations, new games… Really, there’s novelty wherever you can imagine it.
And remember, if the idea of trying something new feels especially intimidating that might be a sign you’re still getting comfortable with your boundaries. When you and your partner understand the boundaries in your relationship you’ll probably feel safe enough to step into something new and unknown – and I’ve seen that pay off for so many people! For more info on enhancing connection with your partner through boundaries and agreements, jump over the our Day 6 landing page.
I love this quote from Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer:
“Make a radical change in your lifestyle and begin to boldly do things which you may previously never have thought of doing, or been too hesitant to attempt. So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservation, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man's living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun. If you want to get more out of life, you must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life that will at first appear to you to be crazy. But once you become accustomed to such a life you will see its full meaning and its incredible beauty.”
Simple ways to introduce novelty
TRADE THOSE COMFY PANTS FOR SOMETHING A BIT MORE DARING!
You probably just looked down at your comfy pants. Who ISN’T wearing comfy pants this year, anyway? But think of this suggestion as an analogy: At times we all get stuck in the sweatpants of our relationship, doing only what’s already comfortable. If you want to stretch your relationship and bring in some new energy, adding a little risk can be just what you need. Sneak in a kiss where you’re not supposed to. Flirt where you might get caught. Send a saucy sext in the middle of a work meeting. If it feels new and just a little unexpected you’ll feel a little boost in that new relationship energy and you’ll know you’re on the right track.
STUCK IN A SEX RUT? YOU’RE PROBABLY STUCK IN A ROUTINE.
A friend once told me it felt like there were three kinds of sexual encounters in his marriage. “It’s so predictable I think I could create one of those if/then flow charts,” he said. They weren’t unhappy, they were just a little bored.
People are creatures of habit. Habits and routines are great for life – I even recommend scheduling sex – but when you’re looking to add spice to your sex life you’ll want to think outside your normal flow chart. If sex tends to be at the same time of day, in the same bedroom, with the same toys, in the same positions, and under the same circumstances, it’s time to break out of your sex rut. Even when your routine is good enough to satisfy you both, you’ll be floored by what a little change can do!
TRY OUT A NEW TOY OR TOOL.
Remember that expensive toy your child just had to have last year? Chances are, it’s in a bin or under a bed, gathering dust. Sound familiar? It’s human nature to get a little bored with what we’ve already explored, whether we’re talking Legos or lingerie.
Getting a new toy will expand your imagination and ramp up pleasure. So much of our sexual experience is mental, and it can be a lot of fun for partners to shop for new toys together. Pay attention to your partner’s reactions – it’s a great chance to learn more about things that might intrigue them, turn them off, and discover what you're both interested in.
If you don’t have new toys in the budget, even “window shopping” can be a great way to spark playful new thoughts and conversations. You can always try my free playful conversation prompts download – and stay tuned for Day 10 and Day 11 coming up next right here. 12 Days of Sexmas wouldn’t be complete without discussion about my favorite toys!
EXPERIMENT WITH TEMPERATURE
A cheap and easy way to bring the heat into your relationship or put your passion on ice is to play with temperature changes. Ice cubes from your freezer or the heat from a massage candle are both great ways to create your own fire and ice.
Quick PSA because, hey, I am a sex therapist: Store-bought fire and ice lubrications are often really uncomfortable for bodies because they have chemicals like lidocaine (think icy hot). I’m a big fan of experimenting with temperature naturally.
If an ice cube directly on sensitive body parts seems like an intense first move, how about using an ice cube to numb your lips before you kiss – on the lips, nipples, or wherever your imagination takes you! Contrasting sensations can be a lot of fun – hot breath on cold skin might be just the thing. If you’d feel more comfortable exploring with a simple guide, my Body Part Activity Deck is a great way to explore with temperature.
TURN ON THE LIGHTS
If you typically have sex with the lights off, try turning the lights on. Did your body just tense up? You are not alone! Women identify negative body image as one of the biggest disruptors to their sexual pleasure and confidence.
Play with this idea for a minute: What if you think of sex-with-the-lights-on the same way you think of your nipples? If you’re just getting warmed up, with your mind still nagging to be sure you started the dishwasher or paid that bill, too much attention on your nipples is likely to take you out of the moment. Give it another 10 minutes, though, and the same touch could become the best part of your week. You’ve learned not to start with the most sensitive parts of your body – maybe start with the lights off and stay open to the thought that being seen (and seeing your partner!) could add some welcome excitement just a few minutes later.
TURN OFF THE LIGHTS BY COVERING YOUR EYES
Use a scarf, bandana, or an actual mask to explore without one of the five senses--sight! Closing our eyes can create novelty by simply creating a different context for us to experience familiar sensations. It creates a little space for us to step into mindful pleasure, moving out of our heads and into our bodies. Introducing a blindfold – a physical prop to set the mood – adds excitement and novelty to your experience.
KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN
Eye contact is a surprisingly intimate thing, and Dr. David Schnarch was known for recommending that partners try making love with their eyes wide open. For a lot of people this creates a deeply erotic and intimate experience, but it can also be SUPER intimidating at first. You may be able to keep your eyes open for a while then want them closed to focus on sensation. Eye contact during conversation can help you feel understood, but too much eye contact leaves you feeling nervous. Sex can work the same way, so stay curious and discover what adds excitement and what doesn’t.
MOVE OVER MISSIONARIES! LET’S TALK POSITIONS.
People can get stuck in a rut simply because they are stuck in a position. Different positions don’t just create a new point of view (though they definitely do that!) They can create new points of pleasure. When you switch up positions, you stimulate the body differently. Being on top, with a toy or with hands, can create access to the clitoris. Laying on your side can access the G spot. New positions are great.
So how do you discover new positions without having to see things you might want to un-see? There’s no shortage of sexually explicit imagery out there, but porn tends to be a terrible teacher. If you’re hesitant to let Google be your guide, here are a few alternatives:
Head into your local bookstore or check them out online. You may be surprised at the selection they have, and the covers are tasteful. Enter “sex positions” into the search bar and voila! Lots of options to choose from.
Grab a curated sex deck with different positions. A deck like this will tell you the pleasure points for each position, give you a tasteful illustration, and offer a few tips. The other fun thing about a deck of cards is they can allow you to create your own game such as shuffling the deck, fanning them out and having your partner choose the position for the night! If you have a position in mind, hide that card inside a pocket, on their dashboard, or with their toothbrush. Use the cards to flirt, to start a conversation, to laugh, and to bring some fun into sex.
Check out reputable sites like BuzzFeed, Women’s Health, Healthline, CafeMom and SheKnows. These sites offer new ideas without the graphic images you may want to avoid.
DON’T FORGET THE CONVERSATION.
If you’re looking for something new and novel, include your partner out of the conversation. You probably wouldn’t plan a trip to a new city without talking about it, and figuring out what you want to add to your sexual relationship will take some exploration.
If you’re not sure how to start the conversation, download my free WANT/WILL/WON’T exercise and approach it with a focus on new experiences you want to consider together.