23/01/2017 2:36 PM AEDT | Updated 23/01/2017 2:36 PM AEDT

What To Do If Your Sex Life Is Sheet

Make a goal that's worth getting out of (or into) bed for.

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It's not always going to be spontaneous, and that's okay.

January is the time of the year when I see more clients than usual, and this month was no exception. It seems a lot easier for people to make resolutions improving their health by trying to get fit, lose weight, drink less, quit smoking, or get their finances in better shape.

Bad habits seem to top the list, so what about adding a positive resolution this year? What about improving your sex life? Sex doesn't seem to be acknowledged in our society as being as important as health or money. But sex is a fundamental part of being human and a good sex life is crucial for better relationships.

Most of the clients I saw this month were couples who decided to finally look for help with what they call their 'bedroom issues'. When I take their history and ask them when they had sex the last time, they often can't remember. It's not unusual for couples to tell me they haven't had sex for at least six months or even longer. Sometimes they believe they have lost their sexual desire and libido, but often it turns out that the sex they are having lacks passion.

Unsatisfying sex is quite common in long-term relationships, and falling into a sexual rut can easily happen, especially when we take our partners for granted. We can also lose interest in sex with our partner when it has become predictable and boring, which creates a sense of disconnection and can leave us feeling inadequate or frustrated. Another factor is stress, which can create tension and can lead to arguments; when this happens, resentment can build up and the first things to suffer are intimacy and sex. Who wants to have sex with a partner they are angry with?

A good sex life takes time and effort to maintain. Couples need to try to make sex more playful and fun, to keep their relationships exciting. There is a myth that sex should be spontaneous. Well, it isn't. Sex doesn't just mysteriously happen; if you want to have good sex you have to create the time and space to get in the mood.

If we are waiting for our bodies to tell us we want sex, we may be waiting for quite a long time. Feeling sexual and wanting sex need anticipation and mental foreplay. This is especially the case for women, whose sexual desire starts more in the mind than in the crotch. Women tend to have to be more mentally ready for sex than men.

Another myth is: "If we both are not in the mood for sex, we shouldn't have any." Most couples have different levels of sexual desire, which results in one of you wanting sex more often. I can assure you that there is nothing worse for a relationship that constantly being rejected. A good sex life takes time and effort to maintain. Couples need to try to make sex more playful and adventurous to keep their relationships exciting and look for opportunities to have sex.

The best way to do that is planning or scheduling sex, which can be as romantic and enjoyable as other pleasurable planned activities. Setting time aside for sex and making a date with your partner may sound odd, but it's a really good idea. You have time to prepare and can devote your attention to each other; it's nice to dress up and have a romantic dinner, like you used to in the early years. You don't always need to go out either -- both of you can come up with some fun ideas to do at home.

Start foreplay early in the morning of the day you expect to have sex; do nice things such as texting or calling each other during the day, or send a sexy email. Sex is supposed to be fun, and the more fun you make it the more enjoyable it will be. Be more spontaneous; you can try new positions, use different toys, wear sexy lingerie or do anything that creates a special mood. Make the bedroom look more inviting by removing the clutter and getting some new sheets, dimmer lights and candles.

If you are not in the mood, you can express your feelings by kissing, holding or caressing your partner, instead of turning your back.

Clients often tell me they wish their partners were more affectionate; it's all about feeling desired. Just kissing, hugging, holding hands or cuddling up on the couch looking at TV is easy to do and physical affection is so important. You may find that increased intimacy can result in a more passionate and connected relationship.

What if you are not in the mood for sex? Most couples have different levels of desire, which is natural. But if you are not in the mood, you can express your feelings by kissing, holding or caressing your partner, instead of turning your back. If your partner's lovemaking doesn't excite you anymore and you have difficulties discussing the issue, you will both lose interest in sex eventually.

I believe that relationships can improve if people listen more to each other and give each other compliments instead of telling each other what is wrong. For example, when your partner gives you feedback about sex, saying they feel hurt or rejected, listen and don't be defensive, just think about it, and ask yourself if there is any truth in what's being said.

Laughter and humour are also useful in generating a closer connection with a partner. Both laughter and sex are relaxing and trigger the release of endorphins, the body's natural feel-good chemicals.

Keep in mind that sex should be fun.