Sex and the Married Man

Attention, wives-to-be: Here's what guys think you need to know about sex after marriage.

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Twelve years after his wedding, John Testa, from Houston, Texas , is thrilled with his still-wild sex life. “My wife, Lisa, and I try to keep the spontaneity we had when we first got together,” he says. “In fact, once Lisa threw out her back while we were doing it on a lawn chair, on our balcony. We told our friends that she slipped and fell, but no one really believed us. They still think of us as newlyweds.”

Even if your love life isn’t as adventurous as John and Lisa’s, finding ways to keep it fun is crucial in a marriage. “If a couple experiences sexual boredom, that usually means there’s relationship boredom, which often leads to detachment and resentment—all of which can diminish the quality of a marriage over time,” explains Gerald R. Weeks, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and board certified sexologist based in Las Vegas, Nevada.

So how do you keep married sex hot? For this story, we decided to get the male point of view. We asked husbands what they think, and boy, did they open up (especially when we promised to use their first names only)! Read on to learn what sex “rules” these guys think every wife should follow.

Rule #1

“Be creative, uninhibited and willing to try new things.”

Remember when you were a teenager and sex was a thrill (and perhaps a bit illicit)? Relive those times by doing things like getting down and dirty in the backseat of your car, suggests Chris, from Millville, New Jersey , who has been married for 19 years. “Stuff we did way back when becomes exciting again eight or nine years into the marriage,” he says. Peter, from Columbus, Ohio , has been married for a little over a year. He finds it thrilling to make love with his wife while staying at their parents’ homes because “there’s this feeling you’re going to get caught,” he says.

Sometimes all it takes to spice things up is a change of scenery. If you usually make love in bed, suggest a shag under a blanket at the beach or a vertical rendezvous in the shower. Says Daniel, from Arlington, Virginia , who has been married for seven years: "There are many rooms in a house—use them all."

Creativity is key as well, says Adam, from New York City , who's been married for two years. "The best thing my wife ever did for me was to cover her chest in chocolate sauce and greet me at the door when I came home from work," he recalls. "All of the normal excuses—‘I'm tired,' ‘Let's do it tomorrow,' et cetera—flew right out the window."

David, from Cranford, New Jersey , who has been married for about six years, encourages women to liberate themselves from the idea that sex toys are somehow ‘wrong.' "Toys really heat things up because they add variety and spice to your normal routine," he says. If you think your fiancé would be offended if you brought one home, David has this to say: "Some guys think a vibrator is going to take their place. To those men, I say: ‘If you don't pay attention to your woman, maybe a vibrator will take your place, and maybe it should. But if you are an attentive partner, using toys your wife will go crazy over will only enhance the intimacy you share.' "

Rule #2

"Don't be afraid to share all your sexual desires and fantasies."

Stephen, from Potomac Falls, Virginia , says that he's grateful his wife of almost seven years is as open about sex as he is. "We've been talking about our sexual likes and dislikes since our first date, and it has really kept us in sync," he says. "We know exactly how to drive each other wild in bed, and we use that knowledge to our advantage often."

Indeed, if there's something that you're interested in trying—like a new position or foreplay technique—by all means speak up, say our guys. When David and his wife went to Las Vegas for their five-year anniversary, she surprised him by suggesting that they visit an all-female strip club. "My wife is straight, but I bought a lap dance for her, and it was a major turn-on for us both," he says. "Later, we went back to the hotel and had amazing sex. My feeling is that if a woman is comfortable with that kind of stuff, she needs to bring it up. Guys are good at fixing things, but we can't read minds!"

Sometimes you have to be persistent, adds Peter. "My wife once tried getting me to open up about my sexual fantasies, but I was pretty cagey," he says. "So one day she brought home an adult movie and hinted that, if I wanted, she'd fulfill what was happening on screen. And I certainly wanted."

Rule #3

"Woo us as often as possible—it makes us feel manly."

Stephen says one thing that has definitely helped keep the spark lit in his marriage is that he and his wife have never stopped trying to win each other's heart. They e-mail each other throughout the day just to say "I'm thinking about you" or "I can't wait to see you," and when they go out with friends they'll shoot playful glances at each other over the dinner table. "Always try to court each other the way you would if you were still dating and trying to impress your partner," he advises. "Think about it: Would you come to bed in a flannel nightgown with cream on your face, or would you slip on something sexy? Of course you'd do the latter. The minute you stop paying attention to these kinds of details, you've given up, and intimacy can easily evaporate."

David adds that even an innocent touch from his wife during the day can get his juices flowing. "She may reach over and scratch the back of my head or touch my arm while I'm driving, and she's also really good at giving foot rubs," he says. "If you have that physical contact throughout the day, by the time you're ready for bed you're anxious for more."

Chris and his wife have weekly "date nights," something they've done every week since exchanging "I dos" almost two decades ago. They also regularly go away for romantic weekends without their two teenage daughters, buy each other little ‘just because' gifts and cards, and leave love notes for each other around the house. "If you regularly do nice, maybe unexpected, things for your partner, good sex will always follow," he says.

Perhaps what men like most is when their wives tell them how sexy they are. "I love it when my wife slaps my butt while I'm wearing her favorite jeans or tells me that my ‘almost-six pack' is really shaping up," says Adam. "Just knowing that she finds me attractive is a big turn-on." Adds John, "I used to be very self-conscious about my sexual performance—about my size, how long I lasted, you name it. But Lisa tells me all the time how great I am in bed and how well-endowed she thinks I am. She's got me thinking that I know everything and that I'm the biggest guy in the world, and that makes me want to prove it to her again and again."

Rule #4

"Look hot and feel good about your body—it's a huge turn-on."

Men are visual creatures, so capitalize on that. "I love it when my wife wears sexy clothes, especially when she wears a low-cut blouse without a bra," says Chris. "When we go out, I see other guys checking her out, and while I wouldn't say that turns me on, it definitely motivates me to want to be a better man for her." And don't underestimate the power of lingerie. "Show me a guy who doesn't enjoy sexy underwear and I'll show you a guy who's dead," says David.

Stephen adds that it's also important for both partners to take care of themselves physically—by eating healthfully and exercising. "I work just as hard to try to stay in shape and to look as attractive to my wife now as I did when we were dating, and she does the same for me," he says.

But perhaps being comfortable in your own skin—no matter how you look or dress—is the most important step in keeping sex hot over the long term, says John. "Between the time Lisa and I met and got married, she'd gained about 60 pounds," he says. "Now her weight is way back down again, but during that time she was never ashamed of her body—and that made her even sexier to me."

All in all, finding happily-ever-after in bed requires some effort—from both partners. But while you're "working" away, just think of all the fun you'll be having.