One of the most common complaints in relationships, especially relationships where partners have been together for some time (try a year or more), is that the sex gets stale, or simply goes away entirely. This is why many people say only half-jokingly that marriage is a form of punishment. Once we’re sure of what we’ve got, we may sacrifice the effort we originally put into getting it. A stale sex life can lead to sexual dysfunction like premature ejaculation or impotence.
Think of how you paid attention to every little thing about your significant other before you got together. If you’ve been together for years, how much attention do you pay now? Think about how every little thing about your partner might’ve turned you on when you were first dating. If you’re frustrated and wonder why it’s all gone away, maybe you aren’t the only one. Maybe your partner would like to spice up your sex life too and doesn’t know where to begin.
When we first meet someone or first start dating, there are a lot of hormones and adrenaline rushing through us, but our bodies can’t go on like that forever on a permanent high. That’s why our emotions usually settle down over time. Even though this is universal, many people simply accept it and figure that their feelings have either waned or that that’s just “how life is.” Sex is looked at as something which is supposed to be spontaneous. As you get older however and as your relationship matures, it becomes something you need to put effort into. The mistake is in thinking that makes it any less rewarding.
Ideas to Get Started
If you haven’t brought up the topic of sex with your partner in a long time (regardless of whether you’ve been having sex or not), it can be extremely awkward trying to figure out the best way of bringing it up. Even with someone we’ve known a long time, sex can be a personal and uncomfortable topic. Sometimes it is especially so, since making changes means breaking out of a comfortable routine. Make sure that when you bring up sex, you make it clear that you are doing so in a constructive way.
- Do bring the subject up with your partner! Some people try to just change the way they think about their partner and try to do sexier things without actually bringing the subject up directly. This method is typically doomed for failure because your partner needs to get involved too. Your intentions can easily be misread, misunderstood, or just plain missed. It’s not fair to either of you unless you’re both making an effort.
- Find more time to be comfortable with each others’ bodies. For some people a lack of sex is the result of a lack of general intimacy. If intimacy goes out the window, sex usually follows. Make time to be together and to touch each other, even just to kiss and cuddle.
- Reprioritize your life. Another reason that sex often gets shoved aside is because we become wrapped up in day-to-day priorities involving work and other stressful responsibilities (raising children can be another one). Don’t neglect your stressful priorities, but don’t let them take over your lives if you can. Acknowledge that personal time with your partner is just as important, and schedule your lives accordingly.
- Try something different. New sexual positions, sex in a different part of the house, even sex at a different time of day can be a good start. Find ways to incorporate each others’ fantasies into your sex life. If you find it too uncomfortable to tell your partner what turns you on, make (or print out) a list with checkboxes of different things. Each of you should check off things that turn you on (as well as things you would never, ever do) and then exchange lists. You may be surprised—perhaps what you’ve always wanted to do is on your partner’s list too, and maybe that thing you thought was totally out of bounds isn’t after all.
- Take a broader view of sex. If your sex life consists of the same routines over and over and they aren’t satisfying you anymore, try taking a more comprehensive look at sex. When you first met your partner, you were attracted to him or her based off of looks, subtle behavioral cues and more. Learn to feel sexy and to find your partner sexy again. Figure out what turns you on and do more of it.
A stale sex life is a very common malady when partners have been together for a long time. Improvement starts when you acknowledge that sex is something which involves effort over the long term, and that having to put effort into something doesn’t mean it’s not going well. In fact, it can be more rewarding and not less since putting in that effort will demonstrate to your partner that your relationship matters!
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