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“Guess what, Laura?! I have a sex ‘bucket list’!”

“You do?” I replied enthusiastically.

“Well, my husband and I were just thinking we ought to have a bucket list of things we’d like to try or do someday.”

“That’s awesome!” Intrigued, I said, “Tell me more.”

“Well, so far we’ve been able to pull off the ‘under-the-moon-in-the-backyard’ bucket list item, and we’re working on adding more things to our list!”

“I love it!!” I said.

You can bet that I was pretty impressed with the progress and proactivity of such an idea for this client! She had been working on being more playful and spontaneous sexually, so this was a perfect next step for her.

Her story provides a great transition from our previous article about “Teasing” and sexual playfulness to this article about sexual “Treats” in marriage. The primary purpose of “Teasing” and playfulness is to encourage a more playful state of mind in the overall relationship and within the bedroom. In this article, the concept of “Treats” takes the teasing and playfulness more from a mindset to an action.

The idea behind the Treats “T” is to encourage novelty, creativity, and adventure in marriage and especially in the intimate relationship. The goal is long-term, mutually fun and fulfilling marriages. It’s a pretty safe bet that the single best treat a woman can give her husband is some good, passionate lovemaking.

A fun and flirty intimate relationship provides a protective layer for marriage that must be constantly nourished. God made sex the ultimate treat in marriage with no other natural substance or experience coming close to the pleasure and connection it can provide.

With boredom as its own brand of stress in marriage, the ideas here can help you ensure that a humdrum bedroom routine won’t become an Achilles Heel in your marriage.

Novelty, Familiarity and Connection

In the beginning of marriage, sex tends to be naturally novel and varied. But as time goes on, we get used to and adapt to things. Thus familiarity often overruns novelty and newness. Before we dig in to encourage more novelty, let me say a few words about the power of familiarity and connection as a means of novelty.

A good, solid, emotionally intimate relationship, in and of itself, can be a vital source of enduring excitement. Building on earlier discussions that address emotional connection, feeling safe and secure is what allows women, especially, to explore and be sexually adventurous. If she can trust that her partner is there for her, then she can relax and let go. Physical, mental, and emotional safety foster a willingness to experiment, because of the protective emotional bond.[i]

The strength of the attachment a couple has in their marriage affects their sexual behavior. Well connected couples, where the bonding hormone oxytocin flows freely, are less likely to experience habituation or boredom. Instead, their interactions remain vital and rewarding, because of the depth of the intimate bond.[ii]

If the focus of a couples’ sexual relationship is primarily physical instead of emotional, then novelty and variety will be much more needed. When couples are tuned in emotionally, sexual encounters are naturally unique and interesting. Emotionally “tuned-in” sex reduces the need for novelty and variety because of the feel-good hormone oxytocin that is readily present in each spouse. This comes from the abundant emotional and physical affection in the relationship.[iii]

A strong, bonded marital relationship has additional benefits, such as decreasing stress, easing depression, speeding healing, and helping to ward off addiction.[iv] The marital foundation of emotional connection is vital. Novelty simply adds some spice–making marriage even better!

Adding the seasoning of novelty into what’s familiar in our relationship requires us to stretch outside our comfort zone. In moderation, doing something new and different awakens your senses and changes your brain chemistry in good ways.

Ideas for Novelty and Creativity in the Bedroom

There are many ways to add the fun, intimate ingredients of novelty, newness and adventure to your bedroom activities. If you’re looking to add a little “shock and awe” to your intimate relationship, or some additional mystery and intrigue, the ideas here double as great ways to infuse a spark of fun and variety into lovemaking. Hopefully you’ll be inspired to create many grand new ideas of your own.

They are also quite useful in helping couples to get and stay emotionally present and mentally focused during sex. You don’t have to get all crazy, but by thinking outside the box you can even just do something a little different that awakens some sizzle in the mind and enlivens all the senses.

It doesn’t take much to add novelty and creativity to your lovemaking. Whatever you are currently doing, just doing something different can spice it up. It can be a fun novelty to “ban” a particular activity from your lovemaking for a time. Going without something you normally do creates a novel buzz in the brain as well.

You might be amazed at how something as small as a different touch in a different way at a different time can awaken the sexual senses and create a novel response in the mind and body.

Categories of Creativity

Below are just a few of the many different categories of ideas with which you could begin to experiment. They will help you break free of boredom and routine, enhance the ambiance, and add a little variety and excitement to your intimate encounters:

Locations. Try having sex in different locations, like your walk-in closet, the bathroom counter, the shower, a hot tub or bath, your swimming pool, a tent in your backyard, your car (in the garage or at a remote location), a hotel, or you could even try skinny dipping if you can find a good secluded spot. You may also be fulfilling a fantasy for your husband with some of these ideas.

Durations. Time spent making love can be a few minutes to a few hours. Go for a quickie when time is short, or take time and plan an hour or more for some luxurious lovemaking. Whatever you do most often, vary it by utilizing different durations.

Time. Testosterone peaks between 6 and 8 a.m., so morning sex is a favorite time for a lot of men. It’s nature’s way of saying, “Gentlemen start your engines.” Morning sex can balance hormone surges because vaginal intercourse provides a “hormone exchange” – men absorb estrogen and women absorb testosterone.[v]

Whatever your regular fare, adding in some early morning sex, a “nooner,” or waking him up in the middle of the night could add some welcome variety to your lovemaking schedule. One husband told his wife he was more than happy to have her wake him up anytime–even in the middle of the night. She shook her head, and rolled her eyes then said, “Okay, but if you ever do that to me you’re in big trouble!”

For another angle on the “Time” concept, think back to your early days together. What did you do then that you don’t do much of anymore? Did you make out more then, and don’t much now? Did you have a wider variety of fun date nights than you do now? Role playing earlier times or scenarios is a great way to intensify erotic emotions and command your attention to the lovemaking experience as well.

If we add an “s” to the word “Time,” we might consider how many “times” we have sex in a given period. As a fun idea for your 7th anniversary, for instance, have sex seven times in a day, week or during an anniversary weekend getaway. If you’ve been married for 24 years, rather than trying to have sex 24 times you could utilize a little creativity and have sex 2 + 4 times in a day or week to celebrate your 24th anniversary. Ten days of sex might be a fun 10th anniversary gift for your sweetheart. The ideas are limitless.

Much more could be suggested as additional ways to add novelty, variety and adventure into your marriage and bedroom relationship. Hopefully this information has at least started you brainstorming ways you can incorporate more creativity and newness into your sexual relationship moving you toward a “Sextraordinary Marriage.”

Self-Evaluation – “Treats”

To give yourself a guide as to how you are doing in this dimension, how would you currently rate yourself, and your spouse overall in the area of “Treats”? — I strive to keep myself learning and developing to stay challenged and interesting to myself and my spouse. I am excited about adding more novelty, creativity and adventure into our lovemaking. I know it’s a great way to keep our relationship fresh and new for the long haul.

RATING (0 – disagree to 10 – agree):   You ______ Your Spouse ______

For help with improving this aspect of marital intimacy and the other 12 “T’s” read Knowing HER Intimately: 12 Keys for Creating a Sextraordinary Marriage by Laura M. Brotherson. This article was excerpted from Chapter 11 — “TREATS” of Laura’s NEW book — Knowing HER Intimately: 12 Keys for Creating a Sextraordinary Marriage. Get your copy here for a fabulously discounted price…especially for Meridian readers!

Other articles in this series:


BIO — Laura M. Brotherson, LMFT, CST, CFLE

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) and Certified Sex Therapist (CST), Laura M. Brotherson, is the author of the best-selling book, And They Were Not Ashamed: Strengthening Marriage through Sexual Fulfillment, and her latest book Knowing HER Intimately: 12 Keys for Creating a Sextraordinary Marriage. She counsels with individuals, couples and families in private practice (and online), and is the host of “The Marital Intimacy Show” podcast.

As a Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE), Laura is actively engaged in providing marriage education through Couples Cruises, articles, newsletters, radio and television broadcasts, and presenting at conferences and workshops. Laura is passionate about helping couples navigate the intricacies of intimacy to help build stronger marriages and families. She and her husband, Kevin, of 26 years are the founders of—your trusted resource for education, products and services to strengthen marriages… intimately!

Connect with Laura:

Instagram: @StrengtheningMarriage


[i] Johnson, Dr. Sue, Love Sense: The Revolutionary New Science of Romantic Relationships. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2013.

[ii] Ibid.

[iii] Ibid.

[iv] Robinson, Marina, and Wilson, Gary, “Pair Bonding 101: Beware Novelty-As-Aphrodisiac,” accessed April 26, 2016.

[v] Dr. Gregory Olson of The Nevada Clinic, personal communications with author, April 7, 2016.