Interview with Marriage Quest founder Dr. Israel Helfand – Top Sure-fire Ways to Keep Things Hot in the Bedroom

Interview with Marriage Quest founder Dr. Israel Helfand – Top Sure-fire Ways to Keep Things Hot in the Bedroom. This interview is one in a series of expert interviews on the blog. We add new interviews on a regular basis. Please see our complete list of insightful interviews.

1. How often do sexual issues “sneak up” on once-fulfilled couples? What might be some reasons these issues suddenly arise?

It is common that sexual issues arise for couples who were once fulfilled in their sexual relationship together. It is important to note that for couples whose history reflects a positive sexual connection their prognosis for rekindling is much better than for couples who started as just friends. Reasons for sexual issues “sneaking up” are numerous, so let me address the healing more than the pathology. Couples need to learn how to put their marriage first, in other words couple-centered vs. child centered or work centered.

As partners in a marriage mature their sexual culture changes, exploring fantasy (for example) and having fun becomes more important than when they were younger. There is often a conflict between that “loving feeling” and feeling sexual erotic that couples benefit from talking about and exploring.

2. What are some simple tricks sexually-disconnected couples can use to reconnect on both an emotionally intimate level and a sexually intimate level?

Discuss some times in their life that were sexually “hot”. Explore what about it was hot. Talk to each other about their sexual fantasies and find some common ground. Remember that fantasy and reality are not the same, and being turned on by an idea does not mean that you should do it in reality. Browse through an “adult” store together for some ideas and/or toys, books etc. See a sex therapist for improving and exploring your sexual relationship. There does not need to be anything wrong to explore and learn. Get naked and shower together. Exchange body massages.

3. How can couples that are at different sexual peaks deal with their differing levels of desire?

Research shows that individuals who pleasure their partner receive pleasure themselves. Happy hormones like cortisol are a benefit to the giver, too. Differences in libido are made worse through judgment, pressure and performance anxiety. Often times when couples relax their expectations and increase the “fun” factor, decrease the goal of orgasm, problems such as power struggles subside. Sometimes the problem lies in limited techniques in which case couples need to discuss and explore new skills and techniques. For many people there is a connection between the sense of desirability in and out of the bedroom, in other words “does my spouse like me, treat me with respect, value my opinions, etc?” This is a piece of foreplay that most people miss.

4. How can a couple that has been mostly sexually inhibited break out of their rut and try new things without being embarrassed or self-conscious?

They might not be able to do that, so… feel the fear and do it anyway. Work on personal self-soothing, such as relaxation techniques until they can do that. Create a role play (a fun alter ego) so that it is “someone else” taking the risks. Acknowledge that feeling vulnerable feeds the excitement and sense of intimacy. If none of the above works then give more voice to the embarrassment and self-consciousness, such as “Discuss when was the first time was that embarrassment and self-consciousness got in the way of your pleasure?” If you can’t do this on your own, maybe it is time to see a sex therapist.

5. What are your top sure-fire ways to keep things hot in the bedroom?

Feel good about your own personal goals (health, weight, eating habits, lifestyle, career, etc). Address any unfinished business in the relationship. Connect on a daily basis in a meaningful way, even for only 5-10 minutes. Create a weekly ritual to connect sexually as a couple. Learn more about each others fantasy and pleasure, and work on exploring that. Avoid over eating and over drinking before sex. Come join us for a Sexploration Retreat.

About Dr. Helfand:

Dr. Israel Helfand is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and a Certified Sex Therapist. He works with his wife, Cathie, with all retreat programs. They work out of their home office on their 1850’s homestead in Cabot Vermont. Checkout their retreat work at

Read more of our expert interviews:
Betty Dodson, Renowned Sexologist, Author, Feminist, Educator
Dean Osborne, Human Nature of Cheating
Dr. MP Wylie, Relationship Advisor

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