Living Well

The relationship check-up – Tips for keeping the spark in your love life

The relationship check-up - Tips for keeping the spark in your love life


Many couples discover that being free from the responsibilities of raising a family, going to work and maintaining a large property puts the focus back onto their relationships, says sexologist and relationship therapist, Naomi Hutchings.

In the absence of these time-intensive activities, couples risk putting themselves under pressure to perform – particularly around Valentine’s Day, she said.

“My first piece of advice is, don’t be fazed by big events. If you don’t normally make a big deal out of Valentine’s Day, then you shouldn’t feel obliged to spend money on the day,” she said.

“The only people putting pressure on you are the florists and jewellers.

“However, if going all out for Valentine’s Day is something you always do together, and it is a special part of your relationship, then you should continue to do it and cherish it.”

The key is to regularly check in with one another – no matter how many years you’ve been in a relationship together.

“Use this wonderful time in life to rediscover who you are as an individual, and if you’re in a relationship, make sure you check in with your partner,” she said. “I recommend couples do this regularly in all areas of their lives to ensure they’re on the same page.

“For example, if you’re a cuddler and love to receive a lot of physical affection, it can be distressing not to receive that from your partner – especially if they’re not wired in the same way.

By the same token, if you check in with your partner, be open to what you need and if they’re responsive to that, you deepen your connection.”

The same holds true for your sex life too.

“As you change and your body changes, what you need in a sexual relationship changes too,” she said.

“It’s important to get away from thinking that sex is only about what I call, ‘the P in the V’. I don’t like the term foreplay either because it is all sexual play. A healthy and active sex life doesn’t have to be all about penetration. Just lying down and touching one another is also very satisfying.

“Let go of all the ‘shoulds’ and do what works for both of you.”

Naomi says don’t be afraid to spice things up a bit, not only in the bedroom but in other areas of your life too.

“Our brain loves making new connections,”

she said. “We get a lot of enjoyment out of a little diversity and novelty, so try something new together. It can be as simple as going to a different restaurant instead of the one you always end up at.

“And when I’m speaking of doing something different, I don’t mean that you have to spend a lot of money doing it, because that connection isn’t found in buying more, it’s about being together in a way which is satisfying for you both.”

Last year, Naomi was one of the guest presenters at GemLife’s Over-50s Lifestyle Forum. Naomi has a Masters of Health Science in Sexual Health, a Bachelors majoring in gender studies and politics, and is currently completing a post graduate degree in counselling. She is available for online consultations.

You can reach her via her website: