ITV’s This Morning had a surprise co-host working alongside Dermot O’Leary and Alison Hammond on Monday morning, 20 November - Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York.
Ferguson, who was previously married to Prince Andrew and is mother to Princess Beatrice and Princess Eugenie, took part in different segments and answered viewers’ questions about relationships during her co-hosting gig.
Two viewers called in with similar questions about rekindling the spark in their relationships. The women both wanted the duchess’s opinion on how they could break out of their normal routines with their partners and make things interesting.
In reply to the callers, Ferguson recommended they buy “saucy underwear” to wear for their partners, as well as booking a holiday away from the children and giving them a surprise.
“Pop down, get some saucy underwear in your chest of drawers and blow dry the hair, and take him out on a treat, it needs to be more treats, that he’s lost for words,” Ferguson told the first caller. “So you say to him, ‘Don’t worry tonight darling, we are going to pop off somewhere’ and you’ve arranged the whole thing and it’s all organised, so it’s the element of surprise, and it will bring the magic back into your relationship.”
Speaking to the second caller, the duchess said: “I think you need to get a weekend away climbing, and it’s a complete surprise… you could say, ‘Darling, I’ve booked your favourite place to climb, I will just be waiting when you come back, you go climbing and then we can have a lovely weekend with the saucy underwear on.”
While Ferguson intended to impart some good advice to the callers, experts say that when people are finding it harder to connect to their partner, there can be underlying issues that can’t be fixed by buying some sexy lingerie.
Instead, couples need to think deeper about why they feel unsatisfied or disconnected from their relationship, and address those issues if they want to strengthen their bond.
‘Do the deeper work’
Courtney Boyer, relationship and sexuality expert, tells Yahoo UK: “It’s a lot easier to buy sexy lingerie or a sex toy than it is to do the deeper work of determining why the relationship has lost its spark.
“It’s normal for sexual desire to wane in a long term relationship, but that doesn’t mean it has to be non-existent. The more connected each individual is to their own pleasure (things that bring them joy and deep satisfaction) outside the bedroom, the more connected and open they are to pleasure inside the bedroom.”
She adds: “Unfortunately, most people are so caught up in the daily grind and surviving that they have become disconnected from their pleasure. It’s hard to create a spark when there’s no kindling to light.
“When you’re running on empty because you’re living an unfulfilling existence that drains you. Sexy lingerie ain’t gonna fix that. Will it give you a fun night? Sure. But not long-term success. Throwing some seeds on barren land won’t give beautiful flowers. Only by tilling the soil, fertilizing and taking proper care of those seeds will yield a bountiful crop (i.e. doing the work and investing in yourself).
She urges people who want to have more connected sex with their partners to “do the work to become more connected with yourself first”. “Prioritise pleasure. The rest will follow,” she says.
‘Beyond physical gestures’
Nia Williams, relationship therapist and life coach at Miss Date Doctor, adds that Ferguson’s recommendation “may add an element of excitement” to an otherwise stagnant relationship, but it’s more important to “recognise that revitalising a connection goes beyond physical gestures”.
“Intimacy involves emotional, psychological, and communicative elements,” she explains. “Encouraging open and honest communication lays the foundation for reconnection. Discuss desires, fantasies, and expectations to better understand each other's needs.
Engaging in activities that once brought joy and connection can reignite the flame. Whether it's a shared hobby or exploring new adventures together, shared experiences create lasting bonds called experiential intimacy.”
Williams adds: “While saucy lingerie may add a playful element, it's crucial to address the holistic aspects of a relationship. Open communication, shared experiences, and mutual appreciation contribute to a fulfilling and enduring connection."
Watch: This Morning viewers react to Sarah Ferguson presenting the show
Read more about sex and relationships:
Long-term relationship tips from sex seven times a month to an open phone policy (Yahoo Life UK, 3-min read)
I Help Couples Improve Their Sex Life. Here Are The 4 Things I Wish More Men Knew. (HuffPost UK, 5-min read)
Sexual health doctor reveals the six questions you should ask a new partner (Yahoo Life UK, 6-min read)