There’s no shortage of pointers about how to make sure your marriage doesn’t turn stagnant after kids come along. Communicate often. Prioritize your partner. Make date night a regular occurrence. Don’t neglect sex. While these are all useful, research-backed pieces of advice for making a marriage feel healthy and fresh, they’re also a bit abstract. So, we decided to ask real couples: How do you keep it sexy-ish? That is, what do you and your partner do to stay close, connected, and, well, just into one another? For Richard, 39, who lives in Hudson Massachusetts, the answer is by working out together. Lifting weights, he says, not only helps them stay in shape but also communicate better in the bedroom and beyond.
My wife and I do a lot of heavy weight lifting. It helps us keep things alive in the bedroom. I don’t know if it’s hormones that the weightlifting incites in the body, or if it’s just kind of the teamwork aspect of cheering for each other, but it carries over to sex. As we’re working out — or when we’re in bed — we’re looking out for what’s good for each other. We’re just trying to cheer each other on in that way.
We’ve always had a pretty healthy, active, and athletic sex life. We’re not slouches in the bedroom. But some of the workouts we do definitely help our stamina. We might be in a funny position for a little while when we’re having sex, and we’re no longer like, all of the sudden, “Oh my god I’m cramping up!” It leads to both of our satisfaction. It’s good that we’re able to do that.
In general, I like doing a lot of stuff with my wife. We work together. We both started a fire department at the same time and now we’re both paramedics on the same ambulance. I don’t mean we work separately together. We work together, in the ambulance, for 24 hours.
We do all our workouts at home. We have a lot of weights, and my wife is an at-home fitness coach. When my wife started doing the exercise stuff, it was something I was very much in favor of. I was cheering her on. She then turned that around on me and said, “Hey, come play with me. This will have benefits for you too! You can build muscle and be in better shape.”
But honestly, it took a little bit of motivation to get me to want to work out with her. We’re both almost 40, though, and she pointed out to me that I was not going to get any better looking from here unless I worked on it. She had the right motivation for me, which was: “Do you want to look good or not?” That was all I needed. Once I started working out, that support went both ways. We’re a team.
It’s also hot to see her working out. Just looking over there and knowing that my wife is in really good shape? It’s a lot of fun to be in the same exercise space that she’s in. And really, beyond just the aesthetic pleasure of that, it’s nice to know that by working out we’ll be around for another 40 plus years.
Knowing all this, somewhere in the recesses of my mind, helps our sex life. I almost want to say working out gives us structure for our time together. That makes our sex life sound like a mechanical thing, but it’s not. If we want to go in the bedroom and have fun? We make sure we’ve had our time to work out. It motivates us.
The bottom line is this. We have a very open and communicative relationship. Something that we’ve taken to heart pretty seriously is “use your words.” Using your words is to be open about how you’re feeling all the time. We practice it when we work out and it translates to the rest of our lives.