From sparkling ring to stunning wedding to... sexless marriage?
So let’s get to it… let’s talk about sex! People have SO many questions about sex in long-term relationships.
I have clients (male, female, non-binary) who ask:
Why am I NOT interested in sex anymore? I liked it in the beginning! I really did! but now… it’s just another obligation. What’s up with that??
And their partners wonder:
Is it me? Am I not attractive anymore? Are they interested in someone else?
If you find yourself in this situation (either as the person who really does NOT want to be touched, or as the person who wonders… is it me??), read on.
Rather than arguing endlessly about it, dreading those nighttime cuddles, saying “I’m going to just watch tv a bit longer… I’ll come to bed later…” (and then not going to bed until you know they’re asleep)… let’s try to UNDERSTAND what’s really going on.
Firstly, biology. We’re hardwired to CONNECT (read: have sex) early on in our relationships. Our brains, our bodies, our hormones, they are all pushing us to mate! For the first 6months to 2years, we’re in that super glow of appreciation and attraction.
We think… YES! This is it! I’ve finally met my person. The person I’ll want to get naked with every. single. day. for the rest of my life!
Sadly, those glowy, sex-driven hormones don’t course through our bodies at the same rate forever. They level off.
Then come the responsibilities. Bring in money. Do chores. Cook. Grocery shop. Have kids. Raise kids. Spend every ounce of energy on kids.
We get busy (not in the fun way), we get distracted… and sex starts to feel mundane, obligatory, or downright unappealing for many people. Physical or mental health issues can arise which interfere with your libido. You may have underlying relationship concerns that contribute to not feeling safe, seen, heard, valued, and therefore not feeling frisky.
And many of us wonder… is this all there is? Will we be this way forever?
Here are some helpful facts that many of us aren’t aware of:
Around half the population feels spontaneous desire (they’ll get turned on at the grocery store or while doing laundry) while the other half needs to already be involved in some form of foreplay or sexual act before they feel desire (AFTER that first 6months-2years of hormone-driven sex).
This means - go SLOWER if you know your partner takes longer to get in the mood! Be more romantic. Give them the long massage that seems to turn them on. Do the things you know they like (if they’ve consented to being wooed, of course)
There are ways to be close and intimate that don’t involve penetration/orgasm - and taking the PRESSURE off of needing to have penetrative, orgasm-driven sex is a very good thing! Take off the pressure to bring on the pleasure.
An easy way to do this is to schedule in “cuddle time” - NOT sex time
Watch “The truth about sexless marriages” - link below, for more
We can help our partner feel desired EVEN IF we don’t want to have sex with them
Think: flirting. Letting them know you find them attractive. Sending flirty pics or giving them an extra long kiss can help them feel wanted, with or without sex
Letting your partner know you are still thinking about sex (even if your body isn’t primed for it right now) can be SUPER reassuring - it can help your partner feel less alone. Worrying that they are the ONLY one who wants a satisfying sex life is often the scariest thing for the higher-desire partner
Watch “sex and my partner no longer interest me” - link below, for more information
Talking about sex openly in your relationship is one of the best ways to ensure you and your partner stay connected - whether you’re actively having sex or not.
Watch “how to start talking about sex in your relationship” - link below, to learn how
Here are some resources that can help you if you want further information:
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