Even though this article is called “sex life after divorce”, all of the ideas in it are applicable after separation, and after a break-up from a long-lasting relationship.
Here are some tips on how to get your sex life back on track
- Be open to life again. Allow yourself to have fun again. Don’t hold grudges. Don’t waste your energy on anger and hatred. Just move on. Believe that life can be fun. Because it is. Life is full of wonderful gifts you just need to reach out for. You ended and got out of a relationship that was clearly not working. You still have the rest of your life to enjoy sex and enjoy yourself.
- Start from the scratch, unlearn bad habits. Question everything! Whatever beliefs you have built around sex and pleasure, maybe it’s time to question them now. Sex is different for everybody and with any new partner. You might’ve been exposed to sex only lasting 5 minutes in the past 10 years. You might’ve not been able to achieve orgasm at all. You might’ve had problems staying hard. You might’ve been used to your partner constantly rejecting you sexually. You might’ve thought that you’re not desirable. You might’ve thought that you’re not interested in sex anymore. Whatever it is that you were used to: it was just a temporary state of affairs. You don’t have to carry these beliefs for the rest of your life. Sex and relationships can be different and so much better than you could imagine. Maybe you don’t even remember what it feels like to get aroused and want somebody. That doesn’t mean you’re incapable of it. You just went through a long period of not having it.
- Get tested. Make sure you’re literally not carrying something from your past. Check your HIV, Hep B and C, HSV 1 and 2, Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Trichomoniasis, HPV, and syphilis status. Even if you don’t have any symptoms, a lot of STIs can remain unnoticed and not express themselves for a really long time. For some of these STIs you can get tested even at the privacy of your own bedroom.
- Get used to using condoms again. You might’ve not seen or touched one in decades. Condoms evolved a lot. See what’s new on the market, try out new brands. Good places to start are: Glyde condoms, ONE condoms, or even the new Lelo Hex. Make sure you are properly fitted. If a condom is too loose or too tight, it might slip out or break. If you have a penis, try masturbating with a condom on. This way it won’t feel weird when you actually get to have sex with one. You’re most probably not going to lose your erection if you’re accustomed to putting on a condom. If you have a vagina, have you tried an internal condom? For both vagina and penis owners – practice putting a condom on. It’s a skill. You don’t wanna get all nervous in the middle of your first post-divorce date!
- Don’t overlook masturbation. Solo sex is sex and at the end of the day, orgasms count. You need those endorphins and oxytocin. Even if you think that partnered sex is the last thing you need right now, you can still have fun with yourself. You probably didn’t have enough privacy or time to get it going with yourself while you were married or in a relationship. Maybe you were even afraid to masturbate, because you thought that would upset your partner. Maybe you were afraid that you would get caught. Now is the time to pay your tribute to the temple that is your body. Keep the habit of masturbating even when you start dating and are in your next relationship. Pleasuring yourself doesn’t take anything away from your sex life. If you jerk off or if you touch yourself, that doesn’t mean that you are not going to want to have sex anymore that same day or in the next few days. On the contrary, the more you do it, the more you enjoy sex, the more you want it, and the more you know what feels good.
- Make time for solo sex. Having your way with yourself takes a little more than good intentions. You have to make time for dates with yourself. Take the night for yourself, put it in the calendar, set the atmosphere. Unless you schedule it, life will get in the way and you will end up doing some chores, procrastinating on the web, or catching up with work. Take time for pleasuring yourself seriously.
- Buy a ton of lube. Okay, a ton might’ve been an exaggeration. Get a good sized bottle of lube for your bedroom, and a smaller one for your purse or for travel. Put a few little lube samples or squares in your wallet or pocket, alongside your condoms. If you’ve never used lube before, now is the time to change this. Lube is the best friend of pleasure. It’s almost impossible to have enjoyable sex, solo or partnered, without a good amount of lubrication. No, your own lubrication is not enough, especially with condoms. Dry sex can be very painful or cause a lot of friction burn, and leave you incapable of having any for days. Not to mention that the lack of enough lubricant is the most common cause of condom breakage.
- Pamper yourself. Go to the salon and the spa. Women: get new sexy lingerie, guys: simply buy a few pairs of new underwear. Don’t go out in your old worn out boxers or undies. Don’t wear your old sweatpants at home. Change your wardrobe. Pick up working out again. Start grooming – even if you don’t have a partner at the moment. Looking good will make you feel good about yourself. You will feel datable and desirable again.
- Set up a dating profile. Or register at a hook-up site. Make sure to find the right website for you, so you don’t feel there’s nobody out there. For example some websites are predominately white and straight and are not very culturally diverse. If that’s what you’re looking for, great, but if it’s not – don’t lose hope, there are other options. Ask yourself what you want to get out of dating? Are you looking for a hook-up, something casual, or are you dating to find a long-lasting commitment? What are your needs, and what are you capable of giving? How much time are you willing to invest in dating, and how soon do you think you would like to start a new relationship? These are all great questions to start with. Take time to reflect upon your expectations and boundaries, in order to save yourself future disappointments or just wasting your time. Here are some examples of the most visited online dating services.
- Allow yourself to play the field. It’s okay if you want to steer clear of commitments in the foreseeable future! There’s nothing healthy about bouncing from one relationship to the next. So don’t beat yourself for not wanting anything serious for a while.
- Get comfortable with yourself. Enjoy not being married or in a relationship. Do all the things you’ve always wanted to do, but your ex-partner was against. Invest in yourself: personal development and growth are gonna bring you a lot of gratification and a sense of accomplishment. Start small and don’t set yourself for failure. Start a salsa class, or go on a trip.
Parenting and sex after divorce
- Get a reliable baby-sitter. It’s pretty self-explanatory.
- Meet other parents, make new friends. You need people who haven’t already been exposed to all the divorce drama, or been poisoned by your ex spouse. Other divorced parents are going to be your biggest ally when it comes to covering up for you, play-dates and sleepovers for the kids, and taking turns in child-sitting. As you will pretty soon see, you can’t only rely on baby-sitters.
- Start using Google Calendar. Or any planner that can be used under different platforms: have your schedule on the go, not only on your computer, but in your smart phone and all of your devices. Time management around dating and parenting can become challenging. Make most of your free time without stressing out too much. Going out should be fun and should come guilt-free. You deserve it and you’re not a horrible parent if you have a personal life. A happier you makes for a happier kid!
- Don’t stay home when the kiddos are not around. It will be very, very tempting to just stay in your PJ’s binge-watch Netflix and gobble all the unhealthy food you got at the convenience store. You might start having lots of unhealthy habits while your child(ren) are with their other parent. It’s understandable, everyone gets tired of being perfect, of being a role model. Don’t fall into this trap. It will be very strange at first and you will feel empty and lonely, when you’re home alone. Make sure to make plans, waaay in advance, for almost all of your free nights. It can be simply going out with friends for happy hour, or seeing a concert, but commit to something you can’t easily get out of or cancel. Otherwise the bucket of ice-cream and the couch will win. It will only make you spiral down, and will create a false feeling that life is only joyful when the kids are around because all of your gratification will be from them. This will put you off dating even more, because you will start feeling conflicted for “jeopardizing” your relationship with your kids over “some dude/chick”. Staying home is a trap!
And at the end of the day don’t forget to pat yourself on the back, because you are a freaking super-hero for bouncing back from your divorce. Even if you take just one or two of these suggestions, you’re already taking steps in the right direction. Give yourself credit for it and make sure to celebrate even the smallest victories.
Ready to step it up a notch? Read Part 2 of this article!
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