Breaking a Dry Spell with Chantelle Otten
on Oct 13, 2021
It may still be dry season in Australia but it doesn’t have to be for your sex life.
The well is empty and you’re not sure how to fill it up. It’s starting to get a little dusty and sandy down there... Does this sound familiar? If your sex life is coming to mind, I think it’s time we spoke about “the dry spell”.
Many people consider a dry spell to be happening when there is a lack of sex which is “distressing”. It’s having less sex than we would like to be having and it’s wigging us out. Because each person’s sex life and expectations of quantity of sex is different, your dry spell might be different to someone else’s dry spell so try not to compare.
In every person's sex life, there will be a dry spell at some point. Individuals and couples can both go through it and there are heaps of reasons behind it.
Sometimes it’s because you’re too busy or stressed, you don’t feel great, your mental health might be challenged, you’ve got little ones running around or you’re not sleeping much — it can also be so much more! Maybe it’s a pandemic and you’re not feeling very sexy because you’ve been stuck indoors for months on end.
I’m here to tell you, this is totally normal. There is no shame in these dry breaks, whether they are intentional or not. But if it’s bothering you, then maybe you need to think about why?
Why do you think you are going through a dry spell? Is it something you need to work out within yourself or within your relationship? If you’re thinking about it often, then it’s probably worth addressing.
Here are a few options to help you emerge from the well:
1. Accept that it might be a little bit awkward
The conversation might be awkward and the first time you touch each other again might be awkward. I'll be honest, chances are, this is going to be a tentative transition back to being intimate. Accept it for what it is and take the steps forward to change it.
2. Have a conversation (with yourself or with your partner)
You have to talk about the dry spell. It’s going to seem a little bit strange if you’re trying to initiate with your partner and then back off because you are unsure what to do next or if you are worried about performance. It’s worth addressing as there might be some anxiety or feelings of
resentment around the topic for both parties and it’s the first step to moving forward.
Be open with yourself and your sexual partner about the drop in activity, what your hesitations are and how you feel about your own sexuality at the moment. It will feel a little bit strange, but it will help develop an understanding and will allow you to start trying to change.
3. Don’t go crazy
When dry spells happen, people tend to think they need to go above and beyond in the bedroom to get things back on track. But what we actually need to do is strip it back to the basics.
I suggest starting with an activity such as sensate focus to allow you to learn how to be erotic with each other again, not just race to the finish line. For instructions on sensate focus, see this document from Cornell Health.
4. Feel confident in playing but not sure how to initiate?
Why don’t you try these fun scratch cards? They are there to take the awkward conversation out of play. Just scratch off a card to reveal what you’ll be doing, where you’ll be doing it and when (plus a bonus item). You’ll find actions like “ear nibbles” and “oral sex”. Both are great activities for building the intimacy which can help you break a dry spell.
5. Another game to break the drought… the fantastic foreplay board game
This is a game I use in my clinic often for partners who are not sure how to get back in the game. It helps sexual couples explore new sexual experiences together and have fun doing it.
6. Explore other ways to be intimate
I always say, sex is not necessarily about penetration and orgasm. Try taking intercourse off the table and do something like an intimate massage with a happy ending (if you’re both feeling up to it).
Alternatively, give mutual masturbation a go. It takes the pressure off feeling like you have to do the full sexual menu when you jump back in the sack. I suggest buying a penis masturbator or a clitoral suction toy to finish off your physical time with a bang.
7. Take it outside the bedroom
Here’s a reason why it might have gotten a little bit stale: are you having sex in the same way, in the same space, every. single. time? That’s not always very exciting, is it?
Take sex outside of the bedroom— maybe try it in the laundry or the shower and see what happens. Changing scenery can do wonders for our eroticism. You
8. Self pleasure
Yep, take things into your own hands (literally). Break your own dry spell. Self-pleasure is a really powerful way to become familiar with your body again, and understand you don’t have to wait for anyone to help get you to a sweeter place.
Buy yourself some sexy lingerie (check out Lovehoney’s new Fierce range) and a new sex toy to treat yourself. Orgasms decrease stress thanks to the release of oxytocin and a little self-pleasure is going to make you sleep better and feel good.
Remember, you can break a dry spell. It just takes filling up the well bit by bit. It's a very normal situation to be in. Be kind to yourself and your sexual partner, and start with what you know.