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You’ve probably heard about a million and one stale solutions to a fizzled-out sex life, but a set of fluffy handcuffs isn’t a real answer to something that truly takes time and effort to maintain. (Remember the whole “’til death do us part” thing?) Here, eight practical ways married couples keep up a healthy sex life.  

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good sex couple flirting
Twenty20

They Flirt
You may be thinking, How can I possibly flirt with a person who’s witnessed me eat an entire pizza by myself? But here’s the thing: Couples in it for the long haul have all seen each other at their worst. That’s why bringing flirting back into your repertoire keeps things exciting, fresh and new (yeah, even if you can't remember life before you were married). Send a workday sext (they’re not just for millennials); or keep it analogue and place your hand on his thigh, for a little too long…at dinner with your in-laws. Wow, look at you, you sex fiend. 

They Pencil It In
Sure, it feels awkward to have “sexy time” scribbled in at 10:45 p.m. But life gets crazy-busy, and just like we need to make time for exercise or watching Real Housewives, we need to make time for our sex lives. There’s no shame in looking beyond spontaneity. Permission granted to put it in your Google Cal.

good sex couple on couch
Twenty20

They Don’t Anchor It to Bedtime
Too tired after a ten-hour workday? You heard it here first: Sex doesn’t need to happen before bed. The key is to find pockets of the day that work best for you. Both early birds? Perfect. 7:00 a.m. it is. Or maybe you press snooze until you actually have to leave the house, but he feels gross after eating dinner—how about right after work? Great. See you there.

They Take Turns Initiating
Again: Beware of falling into patterns. Just because your husband is usually the one who initiates things doesn’t mean he always has to captain the ship. Share the load. Break the cycle of monotony. 

good sex bed sheets
Twenty20

They Tidy the Bedroom on the Reg
Who knew changing the sheets could be such a turn-on? But seriously, keeping your personal space clean and fresh makes it all the more inviting for you to be intimate. Better yet, if you share the chore (and you should), you’re both in on a little secret.   

They—Gasp!— Explicitly Talk About It
Take off those earmuffs—talking about sex with your spouse isn’t taboo; it’s healthy. New to the convo? Grab some paper and pens and sit down. Now, jot down two to three “big idea” things you each want more from the other during sex (e.g., being more talkative, more seductive, more instructive, etc.). Share what you wrote and ask each other questions. Time for your homework assignment: Try out what your partner wrote down. The more comfortable you two get communicating about sex, the better your sex lives can be.  

They Keep a Tally
No, they don’t have it on their kitchen chalkboard (at least, we hope not), but they’re cognizant of how much sex they’re having, since it’s such an indicator of other things going on in a relationship. Down a bit this month? Let’s talk about it.  

They Do It Even If They’re Not in the Mood
Here’s the thing: Sex begets sex. As The New York Times writes, “Many couples discover that if they force themselves to have sex, soon it doesn’t become work and they remember that they like sex. The body responds with a flood of brain chemicals and other changes that can help.” So, it’s kinda like the natural Viagra for your sex life is just…more sex. We love a simple solution. 

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