You recently got married and the honeymoon has come to an end. Reality strikes when you have to live with more than one person and share your house with several other family members. Your private life is no longer as private as you want it to be, with in-laws or relatives lurking in the house and you are having trouble maintaining your marital life with your partner. Sounds familiar? Well, in India, it isn’t uncommon for people to live in joint families even after marriage. While it may be a good thing in other aspects, it takes away something from your sex life as you need to be a bit more cautious and discreet about it. In order to keep the relationship going Dr Vijayasarathi Ramanathan, a Medical Sex Therapist and Consultant, shares five ways which can help keep the romance and sex alive.
Communicate with each other
The foundation of a good relationship is clear communication with your partner which does not leave any room for misunderstanding. Since in a joint family there are other members as well, it can at times lead to confusion or fights between couples. Says Dr Vijayasarathi, ‘For couples, the first and foremost in such situations is to share their views about lack of privacy between them. Avoiding private moments due to lack of privacy could be misconceived for so many other reasons.
‘When I mean communication it is not just talking but also listening. Men have a tendency not to listen but rather make a quick conclusion and move on. On the other hand, women prefer to be listened to and not necessarily appreciate any advice or judgement given by men.’
Have a talk with family members
It is not just the couple who is responsible for their privacy; family members too play a role in keeping their distance. It isn’t a bad idea to have a talk with other members about the situation. ‘Couples need to be assertive, not aggressive, when communicating their likes/dislikes, views and opinions to their family members. Respecting others and feeling respected by others is vital. Setting some mutually agreeable ground rules can also be helpful. For example, if anyone in the family tells/gossips about your partner, it is wise to qualify that information in private and deal with that as a couple and not immediately jump to a conclusion and get worked up. Demonstrating healthy bonding in a couple will automatically stop others from interfering,’ advises Dr Vijayasarathi.
Take a vacation
It is essential for couples to spend quality time together without the interference of others. And if it is becoming increasingly impossible to do at home, why not take a vacation. It will be a change of scene from your routine life and offer more time to the two. Making it an annual or half-yearly tradition will keep the romance alive and give the couple time to make-up for the lost time.
Utilise small windows of opportunity
Even if you live in a joint family, you will get small windows of opportunity to rekindle the romance. Don’t miss out on these and make it a point look for them from time to time. Dr Vijayasarathi shares a few tips:
- Start foreplay in the bathroom (in the shower) in the morning.
- Play background music during intercourse which can mask your voices from being heard by others but be sure to lock the door.
- Pick a time for sex when most family members have already gone to sleep and there are no disturbances or interruptions from them.
- Don’t use the bedroom or the time before sex to discuss controversial family matters. You can go out on the terrace or for a nice walk to discuss such things.
Friends to the rescue
If you are not comfortable talking to your family members about your situation and they too are not taking the hint, your friends can come to your rescue as the last resort. Friends who live alone or just with their partner can let you spend time at their place when they go for a holiday. This will give the couple some uninterrupted alone time away from family members.
Why spending time together is important for a happy married life
‘It is no doubt important to spend time together but how you use that time and what you do together is even more important. I see working couples and many are in general shift and get time to spend together. Yet, they don’t spend that time in a quality way. Few years into the relationship, they lose motivation to spend quality time together. There are so many things that are as good as or more satisfying than sex. Don’t be lazy lovers, enjoy your married life to bond well with each other on every level,’ concludes Dr Vijayasarathi.
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