When things are getting a little stale in the bedroom—or worse, forced—then maybe it’s time to consider a sex cleanse. Like most cleanses, it involves a little deprivation, but for the overall strength of the individual. In this case? Two.
Basically, it involves abstaining from knocking boots for a little while. A few weeks is good, but a month is great. This does not mean abstaining from affection; touch and words of affirmation are crucial parts of a loving relationship that convey tenderness, love, and attraction. After all, cleanses and fasts aren’t about starvation; we aren’t recommending you and your lover bring your relationship to the brink of death. We are talking about a consensual plan between two people to ultimately strengthen the intimacy between them.
Sometimes, the expectation of regular sex with a long-term partner can actually have the opposite effect on desire, and come more from a place of obligatory maintenance than passionate connection. Sometimes, habitual sex becomes the norm. Habitual sex is different than a hot, steamy session. It’s formulaic, predictable, and can become a little dispassionate. And just like cleansing from a junk food rut that leaves you feeling low on energy and uninspired, a little fast can do you well.
In fact, when it comes to men, studies show that abstaining from ejaculation for a period of time can actually raise testosterone levels—a hormone that plays a major role in sexual desire. Healthy testosterone levels are also correlated with elevated mood and energy. It’s all starting to add up for better intimacy.
This isn’t about less sex for the sake of avoidance, but for building sexual tension—tension that may have become lost in the tedium of routine—so that we can stop having soulless intercourse and start treasuring those intimate moments together. It’s a time to talk about sex; talk about what we’d like to explore, what our partners do that we like, what we don’t like, new positions, better times for arousal for each party, and creating more favorable compromises around all of that.
Abstaining from the deed is about rekindling curiosity about one another. It’s in those moments of deprivation that we discover how to be more intentional about sexual moments so that they feel like sources of power and connection. In this time of conscious chastity, feelings may come up. Feelings and programming we’ve experienced around not just sex, but love and dating, self-esteem, confidence, the power that our lover has over us, the ways in which they know us, and the ways they could know us better, both physically and emotionally.
When you leave the rut and consciously decide to try abstinence together, your desire may just soar. Take the time to embrace each other, gaze at each other, and remove expectations. You may find that all other excuses get lost along the way too. It’s a way to view the intimate parts of your relationship in a new light—it’s not just about love and sex, but it’s about reigniting genuine lust again.