Dear GPhilly: Answering Reader Questions

You ask. We tell.

My girlfriend and I have been in a relationship for many years. We both love each other very much, but we don’t exactly enjoy the same fun we used to in the bedroom. I fear we’re more like best friends than lovers. I’ve heard all the horror stories about lesbian bed death, but is there any way to rekindle the spark? I’d like to get back what we had – it was hot! – and make it even better. Any advice?

A lot of couples go through dry spells. It can sometimes happen when you’ve been with the same person for an extended length of time (for better or worse, right?). The good news is that there are definitely ways to spice things up again. It just takes a little imagination, your mutual dedication and finding ways to woo each other again.

First, consider how you spend your time together – specifically in the bedroom. How do you use the bedroom? Do you go to bed affectionately or do you tend to discuss less-than-sexual things there (like how bad your boss is behaving or the fact that taxes are due soon)? One idea is to turn your bedroom into a retreat from the rest of your problems. Make it a special place. Don’t be distracted by TV or cell phones there. Once you establish a relaxing and comforting place, start exploring options with each other – like massages. By reacquainting yourselves with each other’s bodies, a massage could lead to a lot more.

Another idea is to plan actual date nights. Chances are you enjoyed exciting sex together when you were dating. Why not recreate that? Rather than talking about the kids, the dog or work problems, try meeting each other for some fun. Impress each other and be a bit more creative. Go somewhere you’ve never been or plan a weekend away somewhere new. The little things can inspire much bigger overtures of love when the feelings are right. The key is not letting the real-world problems interfere with your time together. Don’t be distracted.

Therapy is another option. Sex therapists in Philly can offer erotic ideas of how to get back in touch with sex. Often they provide useful exercises for couples who may have reached a barrier in the bedroom. And while therapy may be a turn off to some people, others may find it inspiring.

Still not turned on? You may need a more obvious push in the right direction. Why not visit a sex shop or watch a naughty movie together? Do something you never would have thought to do. And surprise her with your imagination.

I’m in a long-term relationship and have a tendency to get really jealous when people come on to my girlfriend. I’m trying to deal with the problem by not overreacting when other women (and men!) flirt with her. To make matters worse, a mutual friend often makes passes at her – right in front of me. My girlfriend assures me that it’s nothing serious, but I can’t help but worry when they are together. I don’t trust this other woman at all. How can I share my feelings with my partner without seeming like a jealous jerk?

Has your partner given you any reason to be concerned? If not, then I would find a way to deal with your jealousy on your own first. It sounds like this is a serious issue in your relationship. Is there a reason why? Did you have a bad experience in the past? Or has your current partner ever been unfaithful?

It’s not unusual to feel jealous when others show interest in a loved one, but unless she’s reciprocating, it really does sound harmless. One way of looking at it is that your partner is sexy and attractive. You find her attractive so it stands to reason others might also feel the spark. You could try reminding yourself of this and use the attention she’s getting to heat up your own relationship rather than making her feel that she’s somehow doing something wrong.

As for this friend who makes passes – what does your partner say about it? Have they been friends for a long time? How do they spend time together? Someone who makes repeated overtures to someone in a relationship may, indeed, be out to cause trouble (especially if she’s doing it right in front of you). The real question is whether your girlfriend ever gives into them.

In this case, it really makes sense to share your feelings, perhaps letting your partner know that it hurts you and that you feel disrespected when this woman flirts with her so openly. One hopes your girlfriend will understand and confront the friend. On one hand, you could be reading into something that isn’t there. On the other, you deserve respect. If your girlfriend cares about you, she’ll make sure you get it. But just remember not to punish her for having admirers.