Yes, we all know that you must work at a relationship! Everyone deserves to feel loved, valued, and appreciated. To get those blessings, you must first give them. But how exactly?

You want your partner to have your back and vice versa, right? Well, oftentimes, partnerships are more one-sided than mutually-supportive. A lop-sided union is destined to fail.

Acknowledge five (5) reasons why many relationships don't last. Your efforts make a difference! 

Reason #1:  No clear mutual plans & goals
Let's begin at the starting place, shall we? When you go out with someone for the first time, what's your goal? To kill some time? To have sex? Companionship? To find a mate? To get out of the house? To be seen in public? To have a good time?

Decide what you really want and then communicate those ideas to the person you're dating for more than two-three weeks. At that point, it's usually an easy breakup, by explaining that you want to move forward. Say, "I think you're ________(fun & smart). I'm just looking for something different." 

Reason #2:  Insecurity & immaturity
When I read threads on Reddit, I see many many immature comments. Of course, some great advice is given. Everyone has an opinion if you post a question & frequently they aren't nice about it. Grow up first. Wait before diving into a serious relationship. If random sex is your thing, at least practice safe sex after swiping left or right on Tinder. There is a price to pay for sex addiction, however. Usually, there's a complicated underlying emotional issue that needs to be resolved professionally. 

Not surprisingly, I find that so many men & women are just insecure. You've got to get a life. Learn some competencies. Get a hobby. Try new interests. Read. Travel. Learn a language. Volunteer. Work out. Help others. Paint. Find a better job. Dance.

Reason #3:  Procrastination or unwise use of time

I know a few really smart and interesting people who never had a long-term relationship (over 1.5 years) or never got married, although they wanted to cohabitate with someone special. Now they feel very lonely and tell me, I don't know where the time went. In my 20's I thought I could just screw around. When I turned 30, my career was taking off; by the time I was in my 40's, I was very set in my ways. Now I'm almost 53 and I'm still single. Where did my life go?  Looking back, I know exactly what they mean as far as time flashes. Everyone has regrets. 

Create the life you want. Don't wait too long. Keep active. Meet-up groups are a great way to meet like-minded people in your local area. Give people a chance. 

Reason #4:  Lack of understanding & listening skills
I don't know why listening skills aren't taught in elementary school. Many parents are good role-models in this area; but what about other children who aren't as lucky?  Each student should be required to role-play and/or discuss ways to improve socialization & communication skills, such as conflict resolution, eye-contact, making I-statements, listening, rephrasing, suspend judgment before disagreeing etc.

How to give and receive feedback should be mandatory. I'm afraid we've encountered a whole new generation of children who feel slighted any time a teacher or friend criticizes them. On college campuses, the students want to be coddled, which doesn't appear age-appropriate. I hear so much about "microaggressions," which, of course, are often real. Sometimes, though, it's much ado about nothing. If schools taught the same competency-based progressive communication curriculum nationwide, then students would be on the same page by the time they attend a university. Maybe more students would get clarification before jumping to conclusions. 

Reason #5:  Failure to prepare
You can't just watch sit-coms all day and expect to learn how to get along with the opposite sex (or whomever you're attracted to). Well, yes, I'm being somewhat facetious, but my point is valid. I suppose this fifth reason harkens back to #4 above.

How do you prepare for a long-term relationship? Think about it. What skills do you really need to be a loving, supportive, appreciative partner? Think how you want to be treated. Decide. Act. Make wise choices. Be the best person you can be as often as you can. Nobody's perfect. Most good things in life take practice. Practice the skills above. Go to a workshop. Learn online. Join Toastmasters. Volunteer. Ask the person you are dating if they can give you tips on how to be a better boyfriend or girlfriend. 

I recommend a simple partnering exercise. When done just twice (2x) a month for 10 minutes, it teaches you a way to stay on the same page. See my earlier blog.

Your partner is NOT responsible for your pleasure. You are! Yep, this may be 180 degrees different from what you've heard most of your life. 

Be the grown-up! 

Explore and know your own pleasure triggers first before telling your partner. Own your satisfaction. 

Don't expect your partner to read your mind! 

Listen up, ladies!  Don't just lay back & ask, What's my partner going to do to please me tonight?  That's a lazy approach to sex. It's not a spectator sport, so don't sit on the sidelines.

On the flip side, don't stay in your head & ask, What should I do next to please my partner?
Sex is a dynamic process, like a stir-fry recipe. Things happen differently every time. 

Remember, your spouse or partner or mate isn't always looking for a friend to listen to him although I believe that’s important for the long haul. Frequently, what a man needs is to be appreciated in the bedroom & supported for what he does for you. 

Men want to feel like King Kong in the bedroom. It's about making you climb the walls and beg for more. They need your femaleness to embrace their manhood in a raw, primitive way before they can show their deeper passion. I’ve discovered men want real affection without complications, even though most women don’t really understand how to do that. In fact, many push the very man away who would respond well to having space occasionally. A man can better unleash his passion when he doesn't feel confined.

After talking to women in my Discovering the Sexual Dimensions of Your Relationship workshops, it became apparent that a majority struggle with something I consider so basic, so simple, so true that I got frustrated with my own inability to communicate the essence of enhanced sexual pleasure.   

In 1993, I wrote my first book, called How To Have Multiple Orgasms Easier Than You Think (Avon Books), which sold over 56,000 copies. Visit Amazon for e-book and a few paperback versions:  http://amzn.to/2rHQDYA

wished I could've had face-to-face meetings with those readers. That’s when both men and women were telling me, Oh my gosh, you’ve saved my marriage. I love helping women—of all ages— in improving their all areas in life. After all, the women are beautiful mirrors of feminine energy moving in powerful new directions. 

It wasn't a single event that put me on my true path of helping others through teaching them the secrets of spirited sex.  It was a continuum of events where I figured out how to give and receive authentic passion. These secrets literally allow women to have as much heightened pleasure as they have the energy for! And, I’m convinced any healthy woman can duplicate my success for themselves.  http://bettersexloveromance.com

Sex is universal. 

Yet it's a unique experience for each person. I suspect we're more alike than different. 
These six (6) steps are meant to affirm what you're already doing right in your lovemaking and enhance other areas that might need refinement:

Step #1:   Psychological & comfort level

First, select a partner that you are genuinely attracted to physically. Compatible chemistry is a must! Usually, sparks will fly automatically when your pheromones match. Whether you've been with a lover for a few days or a few decades, you know how comfortable you are with discussing sexual issues or experimenting in the bedroom. Some call it kismet. 

Are you both willing to try something new you've just read online? Does your partner listen to your signals? Pay attention to what works and what doesn't? 

Step #2:  Adequate foreplay

Foreplay is an essential ingredient for good sex and too often missing. What's adequate for one partner may not be enough for another. For that matter, what's enough one day is not right the next. Foreplay consists of kissing, touching butt and breasts, vaginal stimulation in a way the recipient likes. State what you want in a constructive way, such as, "Do that again, but slower." Be honest. 

Lubrication is also something to keep in mind. Have some water-soluble on hand. Also, saliva works great in a pinch. Food, drink, and sex go together like snow-skiing and Jacuzzi dips. Two, or more, consenting adults should explore a variety of ideas. Toe-sucking is a turn-on for many. 

Sometimes there are reasons that get in the way of getting the right mindset to begins with foreplay in the first place, which includes the following: 
fatigue, hunger, stress, pain, mood, pregnancy, past experiences, upbringing, medication interference, restrictive religious beliefs etc.  Fix what you can and deal with the complicated issues the best you can. 

Most women prefer to take at least 10-15 minutes getting warmed up to the idea. So a back or foot massage is a good start. Medium to deep pressure relaxes while light touch excites. Alternating soft and tender with rough and deeper massage has a positive effect. 

Step#3: The benefits of breathing

Be sure to breathe fully during crescendos of lovemaking. Oxygen in your lungs stimulates your senses. Breathing deeply increases physical performance as any athlete knows. If your mouth is slightly open and your wrist and knees slightly bent, you will automatically be more relaxed. 

Experts agree that to breathe properly, fill the upper part of your chest first and your abdomen last when inhaling. Reverse the process when exhaling.
Steady deep breaths enhance your physical pleasure, especially during climax.

Step #4: Making noises in the bedroom

Like breathing, making sound is an important step in the realization of pleasure, especially if you want to develop a capacity for orgasms. Sex sounds are natural. As you let out noises and groans, you exchange energy with your partner, letting him/her know what pleases you. It also helps control the tempo of rhythms with each new release.  

Nothing quite reaches the inner core of a lover's heart as much as hearing his/her name during the heat of passion. My advice is to incorporate a few new sex sounds into your sex life. See what happens. You may surprise your partner. Making noises keeps you in the present. 

Step#5:  The power of positioning

For better sex, try a number of positions during each love-making session. Experiment with different tilts and angles of penetration to discover the many that give you pleasure. The basic four is the only place to start: 

1) Frontal (face to face) 

2) Sideways (legs-in-between)
3) Rear entry (doggie style)
4) Astride (sitting)

There are advantages and disadvantages to each of the variations. Remember, you have a right to suggest a change at any time. Invent names for a particular position that you like. Say, "Let's do the inward gainer!" if you want to make love head to toe. Reverse cowgirl is also a favorite. And, for oral sex, the head-to-toe (sixty-nine) position is a popular one. 

Step #6: Opening Up

I am referring more to a psychological phenomenon here. It's an art to truly receive what your partner has to give. Being receptive is not the same as taking. It's not spacing out into passivity. A passive partner is a boring one. Each partner should have the opportunity to receive. True receiving is without greed. It means paying attention to your partner to make the experience a mutual one. 

Likewise, giving is not the same as controlling someone. To give freely never violates the comfort level of another person. Giving openly is being sensitive to the needs and desire of the receiver. Pure giving has no air of desperation or compulsion. Many insecure people feel compelled to give continuously so they can feel needed or loved. 

Ideally, partners take turns taking the initiative. Better yet, the lines of giving and receiving become so blurred that it's difficult to distinguish between the giver and the receiver. Have confidence in yourself and your mate. Watch the magic happen!

Most of us over-schedule our lives to the point that we don't know if we're coming or going! 

Complications take on a momentum all their own, which can fill your precious time that is not allotted to them. 

Focus on the immediate necessary activities needed to keep you and your family fulfilled.

Everything else is just noise! 

Cancel a few social activities temporarily. Do you really have to say "Yes" to everybody? Spend some time day-dreaming. Think about what areas of your life you can simplify and gain a level of comfort and contentment. If you're in the classic dilemma of wanting to go somewhere and not wanting to go, decide now to stay home for the next two weeks. Will you get more sleep? Read a book? 

Stay off of social media for a couple of days. See how much better you feel about spending your time eye-to-eye with real people like your children, spouse, or friends. 

Cut back on household chores, too. Remember, nobody is going to say, "You should've kept a cleaner house," on your tombstone.

Nobody can push your hot buttons if you're not around. Let that be your mantra for the rest of the month!