Before we get into the challenge, let us see how your relationship has naturally progressed. The initial stages of meeting a new person and getting to know them might feel exhilarating and over time this excitement settles down as you become more comfortable with the person.
Throughout your relationship, do you feel that ‘sexy time’ has gone down to a minimum? Do you feel like you have low libido? Don’t worry, because 75% of couples like you feel the same way. It is natural to fall into a certain rhythm when it comes to your relationships. But from time to time the romance needs a little bit of TLC.
The more intimate time you have with your significant other, the more you feel connected in the relationship. Having sex with your partner does not only improve your overall mood but it deeply affects relationship satisfaction and pair-bonding.
What is pair-bonding and how does it relate to the Sex challenge?
Pair bonding is a term used in Biology to describe a relationship between two mating partners with an enduring relationship. This term is usually used to describe mates in the animal kingdom but humans do display similar characteristics and we also fall under the animal kingdom.
Pair-bonding is promoted through feel-good chemicals like endorphins and oxytocin. Now why am I explaining so much about pair-bonding?
Pair-bonding is very similar to relationship satisfaction and how good you feel in a relationship. Research has proven that the release of oxytocin stimulates your mood by promoting:
- psychological stability
- reduction of stress and
Try to guess an activity that releases large amounts of oxytocin? It is SEX! Do you get where I’m going with this? Sex is an important part of building a healthy and most importantly happy relationship. Even science proves this, you can’t argue with science.
Having regular sex provides an emotional sense of safety that can be hard to find elsewhere. Sex with your partner opens up a whole new world of possibilities, literally. It can be your secret, something that you hold dear.
This intimacy is built on vulnerability and trust and a shared experience that you cannot feel anywhere else in the world. Sometimes your partner might feel distant and reluctant to engage in sex, this can occur if you are years into your relationship.
Talk to them and find out why they feel this way. No wonder people recommend sex to promote closeness in relationships.
To better understand the challenge let’s see the different stages of a relationship.
(0-1 year) The Honeymoon Phase
The most infamous and overly represented phase of a relationship is the Honeymoon Phase. The first few weeks can go by pretty quickly from pretty dates to always wanting to meet each other. You are learning things about each other, not the deeper stuff but at least you are getting to know them.
Every time you meet them you feel this rush, butterflies, a spark; whatever you want to call it. This is the phase that most people crave. It is rightfully called the Honeymoon Phase because in a new relationship people act like a newly-wedded couple. You try to please the other person by doing things their way and even trying to be nicer.
You get all gushy with your feelings, and you are pretty much obsessed with them, don’t lie!
During the Honeymoon Phase, things are all nice and rosy and new. This is an important part of the relationship and most people try to hate on this phase. This is because reality has not set in.
It’s not just the gushy feelings that are on the rise *wink wink. Sexual tensions are through the roof and you are always anticipating something. Within this time frame, most people get into the sexy stuff, this is because most couples are impulsive during the Honeymoon phase. It can start with a kiss or just holding hands. Initially, even this feels intense.
Later on, discussions of doing the “devil’s tango” might arise. Sex can be an integral part of a relationship. Some couples refrain from having sex early on, this is normal too. Over time, both your sex life and your relationship slowly fall into place.
(1-2 years) The pieces are falling into place
Ah, the fast-paced relationship slows down into a relaxed, more laid-back kind of feel. This is because you are more comfortable with each other and you know your separate routines and your combined routine.
Sometimes, the intense feelings from the Honeymoon phase can be nerve-wracking because you are nervous around the other person, you might even feel awkward sometimes.
But in contrast to that, this phase feels easier, a no-brainer. You start to feel at home with each other and you quite like each other’s company but you also appreciate alone time.
Oftentimes people are afraid of this phase because they feel like they have lost the spark or the electricity. But did you know that the ‘butterflies you felt in your stomach’ early on is a response to feeling nervous.
This does not mean that they are wrong for you; it just means that initially you are getting to know a stranger and your body reacts to this nervousness of being accepted by them. Hence, giving you butterflies.
(2-3 years) Conflict and Resolution
In this stage of a relationship, everything is out in the open. You’re familiar with each other’s traumas, flaws, difficult behavior, and deepest needs and concerns. It’s all out there: you’re completely naked in all senses.
If the relationship isn’t doing well, you might be having a tough time trying to figure out whether you want to stay in this relationship or leave. It feels even more terrible to lose someone after you’ve known them for so long and you have created a bond that is different from others.
You have memories together that you cherish where you have built your lives around each other. It will be a very hard transition if you choose to leave it behind.
However, this stage of the relationship is crucial for progress — and for many people, it depends on whether your lives are compatible, if you are able to make small changes to accommodate the other.
No relationship can progress without change. You are completely placing all your efforts around this special person, things change accordingly. But you have to decide if these are good changes in your life and do you feel that it is all worth it.
Having said that, relationships don’t have to be all about the other person. It also matters how you feel in the relationship. Relationships can be hard and you definitely put work into it but it shouldn’t feel like hard work.
This simply means that with the right person and the right attitude you will feel like things can be worked through. But when there is constant bickering and it seems like there is no end, you tend to feel that everything in the relationship is more work. It can sometimes feel like only one person is putting in all the effort to make it work, while the other does not seem to bother.
At this point, it’s either choose to get through it together or part ways.
3+ years settling down
A relationship grows and blossoms into this nurturing stage. For navigating the world together, the couple is likely to have created their own language. Of course, this time period will not always be a bed of roses, but because of the years of trained communication, and understanding each other’s behavior and thought processes, it will be a lot easier to manage tough conversations, situations, and flaws.
This stage, regardless of how long you’ve been together, allows the partners to totally immerse themselves in being their most true selves while knowing that their partner is doing their best to be attentive, caring, loving, and open with them.
This stage provides a great deal of security and a sense of belonging, which is especially crucial for those who seek it, and it also permits you to do things that you normally wouldn’t be able to do. The other person becomes your comfort zone, your home and so, you feel completely free to be your true self.
Your love for each other and the strong connection you have built over the years will only grow stronger. Over time you may feel like your partner is becoming more of a companion which is a good thing but along with that, you may feel your sex drive is not as high as it used to be.
Life can take over everything sometimes. You are swept up by all of the responsibilities; daily stressors can only add to this effect. It slowly becomes difficult to find time with your significant other. Maybe you can’t find time to sit in each other’s presence and hopefully that leads to something more.
To feel the same kind of passion you once felt, you need to put in effort and time. Find time to have sex with each other. Yes, you heard me right! No matter what stage of your relationship you are in, it is always good to be physically intimate with each other. This physical act can bring you a lot closer than you think.
A lot of people have explored intimacy in sex but have you heard of sex as a gateway to intimacy. Let’s try to understand this better.
Sex as a gateway to intimacy
These are the benefits of frequent sex in a relationship:
1. You feel an emotional high afterward
Similar to exercise, any kind of physical activity gets the blood pumping. This goes well for sex but with the added bonus of having a partner to join you. You feel good immediately after sex because your body produces hormones like dopamine that help you feel a certain kind of high.
This is a more natural route to pleasure-seeking. Most movies have also definitely outlined the afterglow people experience after sex. This afterglow is a result of breaking a sweat in bed and also because the feel-good hormones in your body can give a lasting effect. This effect can last for up to 24 hours after the deed!
You feel energized and rejuvenated after a bonding session that is helping to improve your mood. Sex also produces another type of neurotransmitter known as endorphins. These chemicals can significantly improve your mood.
Endorphins are known as pain relievers but they are also excellent in promoting positive feelings like pleasure, happiness, and even love.
These positive feelings can create a conducive environment for bonding and strengthening your relationship.
2. Sex can help relieve stress
Sex can be intense and filled with emotions but afterward, you feel calm, relaxed, and completely free. This is an effect of the hormone oxytocin.
Oxytocin is known to relieve stress and promote relaxation. Oxytocin is not just limited to helping with relationship-related stress but other stressors in life like work pressure, financial stress, family-related problems, and others.
Alongside calming effects, Oxytocin is especially crucial to foster feelings of bondedness. You develop a deeper connection with your partner as these hormones are on the rise. When you feel more relaxed you are able to have deeper, more meaningful moments with your partner.
3. Sex can boost your confidence
Did you know that sleeping naked can boost your confidence? It is quite a segue from sex to sleeping naked but one thing that is common between the two is being naked. During sex, you are physically and emotionally being naked with another person, this requires a level of confidence where you feel completely empowered and happy with your body.
Having sex can be a very empowering and body-positive moment. So, own it! It is natural to feel insecure about your body sometimes. But realizing that your partner appreciates your body can feel amazing and even validating at times.
Frequently having sex can help you associate a positive self-image with your body and hence this translates into everyday confidence. You also associate a positive feeling towards having sex with your partner and hence, this increases intimacy.
4. You’ll get a better night’s sleep
A 30-minute session with your partner can burn about 100 calories. It is obvious that after a few rounds you feel exhausted in a good way. Similar to workouts, after exerting your body you tend to have better sleep. This is just one of the reasons why you sleep better after sex.
With all the hormones released during sex, there is another special hormone called prolactin. This chemical promotes sleep in the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) stage.
Having good sleep is essential for a healthy mind and body and this translates into your lifestyle, mindset, and even your relationship. Your body repairs itself during sleep and therefore, it is essential to have peaceful sleep. This also helps clear your mind for the next day, helping you feel more ready to give love.
5. Cuddling brings the couple closer
Sex is always the topic of discussion but nobody talks about aftercare. What is aftercare?
Aftercare is what happens after sex, do you stay in bed and cuddle or do you talk about something personal, or do you go your separate ways. Aftercare is often an afterthought and often a missed opportunity to increase intimacy.
Getting skin-to-skin contact in a relationship is important and you can achieve this in aftercare. You also tend to be the most vulnerable after sex. So, don’t pull away from your partner, be in their warmth and presence. Try cuddling or taking naps. If you feel too tired to talk, taking naps can be an excellent method to bond.
Cuddling leads to a more satisfied relationship.
Now that you understand how sex promotes intimacy in relationships, how do we go about this? The 7-day sex challenge is precisely what you need to try out to reboot your intimacy. You can try something new every day, for 7-days. This challenge was created for couples with busy schedules.
For the next 7 days, you have planned out creative ways to spice up your sex life. We have seen the natural progression of a relationship and we know that couples have less sex over time. This challenge helps you find a deeper connection with your partner as well as enjoy your new and revived sex life.
Why Do You Need the 7-Day Sex Challenge?
- You are looking to spice up your sexual intimacy
- You want a guide to keep you on track
- You desire a deeper connection to your partner
- You want to have sex for 7 days straight
- You think there can be more to sexual intimacy than you currently experience
Tony and Alisa DiLorenzo are writers of the book ‘7 Days of Sex Challenge: How to Rock Your Sex Life and Your Marriage’. They intended this book to be for anyone who feels like their relationship could use a little care, whether it is lack of time, communication, or intimacy.
Let’s get into the ‘7-day Challenge’ or as I like to call it, the 7-days of straight sex.
Day 1: Give each other a massage
Massages can be incredibly sensual and you can use this sensuality to your liking. Put on some sensual music, get in the zone and try to relax your bodies. This massage can slowly lead to something more slow-paced but definitely more intense.
Massaging your body slowly releases your tense muscles and makes you feel completely relaxed. This removes any stress from your mind that you have accumulated throughout the day.
The massage creates this anticipation towards sex, a sort of build-up to the main course.
But it is important to have a mutual understanding that there is no obligation for the massage to lead to sexual activity.
Day 2: Explore a fantasy, try role play
Now, this is where you can finally explore all your inner fantasies. But it is important to have a serious conversation before you get into it. You have to have some ground rules! Talk about what you are comfortable with and what you aren’t. Set boundaries so that you don’t overstep your partner’s limits. You can even decide on a safe word to stop the sexual act.
It is important to find something in common so that you can both enjoy it. Try role-playing as your partner’s favorite character whom they find sexually attractive. This is can elicit evocative feelings of passion.
Day 3: Be spontaneous, maybe even try oral sex
Unfortunately, oral sex is not common in relationships. People have missed out on a gold mine opportunity to find a higher level of pleasure. This is because oral sex is completely about giving.
It is about understanding your partner’s body, this shows that you are truly invested in your partner’s pleasure. When the genitals are directly stimulated, the sensations passing through the body become more intense. This helps to reach a stronger orgasm.
Now for spontaneity, your partner should know beforehand that you will initiate sex at any time throughout the day. This keeps you on your toes and ready for action. You can even be spontaneous by trying out new things in bed and experimenting with your partner.
This leads us to the next day of the challenge.
Day 4: Switch up positions
Switching up positions in bed can be very exciting. You can search for different positions online. This helps you explore more with pleasure, sometimes some positions can provide more pleasure than others and some can make you feel different emotions.
Switching positions also calls for a lot of coordination and physical agility, so you definitely learn how to communicate better with your partner. The novelty of trying new positions can feel like a whole new adventure.
Day 5: A place outside the bedroom, add foreplay to the mix
To make things feel out of the norm, you can start in bed and work your way to other parts of your house. It is always important to start with foreplay. Foreplay properly stimulates your body and prepares it for sexual activity. This makes the whole process a lot easier.
Foreplay can be very passionate and it stimulates and arouses sexual tension. things outside your room, like in your car or somewhere else but make sure you do it in a safe and private place.
Day 6: Date night and morning sex
This feels like the perfect way to have some quality time. The date night can feel very romantic, special, and awaited. This builds space for romance in the relationship. You can go for a candlelight dinner and admire each other’s features in the soft-focus light or you could go for a movie and dinner afterwards.
Make it a special day where you dress up and treat this date to be a special time for you as a couple. Hopefully, this romantic date will set the mood for what’s about to come later. Have passionate sex that feels like an extension of the passionate date you just had.
When you wake up in the morning take in all the warm and lovely feelings and put that towards making love to your partner. Afterward, you can enjoy breakfast together and just sit in the afterglow that we talked about.
Day 7: Do it and talk about it
If you have not tried this before then have sex and talk about it. Talking about your experience can help your partner understand the parts that you liked and the parts that need a little more work.
Sex is a shared private experience where you are vulnerable in all senses. You bare it all; it takes a lot of courage to do that and so talking about it can feel liberating. It takes your relationship to a whole new level. So, make sure you realize that it is important to talk.
Talking helps you build open space for you to truly unlock your sexual potential. Remember that effort is always sexy. So put more effort into having better sex.
The challenge does not end with these 7 days, you can always incorporate these elements from the challenge into your revived sex life.