My article on how “sexual desire often fades away after the honeymoon period, attracted lots of emails last month from people who agreed – but, also from couples experiencing this later in their relationships and are wondering what they can do about it.
Men and women often think they have lost their sexual desire and libido, but it often turns out that the sex they are having lacks passion. We can 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.
Unsatisfying sex is quite common in long-term relationships, but falling into a sexual rut can easily happen, especially when we take our partners for granted. It’s important to understand that no one is a mind reader. If you want your sexual needs met, you must first know what your needs and desires are, and then you must let your partner know.
One of the biggest problems is the unrealistic expectations we have of our partners, the things we think they should do to make us happy. It’s not always easy to have time for sex when we are living busy lives, with demanding jobs and financial responsibilities and there are even more pressures when children are in the mix, too. But relationships should be fun, and when you enjoy each other’s company and there is laughter, this can help to get into the mood.
There is this myth that sex should be spontaneous, well, it isn’t. If we are waiting for our bodies to tell us we want sex, we may be on pause for quite a long time. This is especially often 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. For many, there are still loads of things to be ticked off the to-do list before they “get into bed.”
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 have when you met. You don’t always need to go out either, both of you can come up with some fun ideas to do at home.
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. If one of you is simply not in the mood, there is nothing wrong with holding and caressing each other or masturbating yourself or your partner and cuddling up after. I can’t think of a better way to show your partner that you love him or her. It’s time we changed the definition of what sex is!
Masturbation can be a delicate topic for some people, who believe that there is no need to masturbate when you are in a relationship. One thing that increases sexual desire is sex with your partner or with yourself. Masturbation, or my favourite term for it “solo sex”, is essential for helping you get in touch with your body to find out what it is that you like. You are responsible for your own orgasm, which means if you get to know your body well and what you like, you can talk about it and/or teach your partner where to touch you.
Body image, especially for women, can also be a contributing factor to having low sexual desire. If a woman is not feeling sexy, it’s difficult to get “in the mood”. Neither men nor women like receiving negative remarks from their partners about the way they look or their performance. Giving each other compliments instead is a more positive approach.
And rather than complain about what your partner doesn’t do, tell him or her exactly, what they can do to turn you on. Some men see complaints as a diminishment of their masculinity and by expressing appreciation instead, you may make them feel more confident. When you talk about sex, focus on the positive.
To avoid getting bored in the bedroom, you can try introducing new ideas to your sex life. This sometimes just requires some planning and creativity. Sexual fantasies can be a healthy and exciting part of a relationship. Take turns to initiate sex, change positions and locations; no need to always have sex in the bedroom, try the kitchen, the living room couch, the floor, a chair – just use your imagination.
I tell couples not to plan sex at the end of the evening, especially after having a busy day at work as they are too tired by then. If you can afford it, get a cleaner – you can then spend some more hours in bed on the weekend rather than arguing who cleans what.
It’s also healthy to have time apart, have your own friends, give each other space, and not to be too dependent. Pursue an interest of your own; if you do something that makes you excited, you will be a more interesting and fun person to be with.
Try to be lover not a spouse.