A taboo subject?
Sex is an uncomfortable topic for an awful lot of people, as if by definition it’s dirty and shameful. Nothing could be further from the truth. It’s one of the most natural, human elements of life, and one of the healthiest, too, when it’s sex between two people who love, respect and are committed to each other.
Yet even for people in a longtime relationship—or perhaps especially for them—sex often becomes the 900 pound gorilla in the room that no one wants to talk about. This is triply true when they’re not having a whole lot of it. Lack of sex, or infrequent sex, is one of the most uncomfortable topics in the world.
So let’s talk about it!
To begin with, we have to be willing to acknowledge that it’s almost unheard of for a couple to continue experiencing the same level—and same kind—of sexual attraction they had when they first met. Youth, novelty, even the secret thrill of feeling like you’re misbehaving all help feed the magnetic attraction many couples experience in the beginning. By definition, those fade over time. We get a little older. Novelty wears away. And the thrill of “misbehaving”? Well, now, especially if you’re married, sex is considered just part of the deal. I’m sure you could add many more reasons your sex drive isn’t what it used to be: if you have kids, the opportunities for sex are fewer; the work of maintaining busy jobs and household chores have stripped your energy; it’s hard to shift gears from talking about the bills to being naughty in bed, and so on and so forth.
But accepting those truths should not mean accepting the end of an exciting sex life. It just requires a little adjustment.
The first step is remembering that even if the desire seems to have waned—for one of you or even both—sex does remain a very important part of the relationship. So make it a priority.
One way to do that is to follow that old adage, “Fake it until you make it.” Don’t wait until you look at your partner/husband/wife and feel overcome with lust to make an effort. If the opportunity is there—the baby’s napping, and your other child is playing at a friend’s house—take it. Forget the housework, the flowers you forgot to send you mom in time for Mother’s Day, all of it. That’s the definition of “priority”—sex matters, so let it take precedence over all the other stuff when you can. Studies have shown that once couples get into bed (or the living room couch, the closet, or whatever floats your boat) and try a little foreplay, the old sense of excitement does start to kick in. Maybe you don’t think you’re in the mood…or maybe you just haven’t tried. In fact, other studies have shown that couples who have sex that’s “pretty good,” if not earth-shattering, are more satisfied than those who wait for mind-blowing sex and end up having it far less regularly.
Meanwhile, don’t discount the emotional component. Sex helps you feel closer to each other. Some believe this is especially true for men, with the theory that men express and experience emotional connection through actions more than words. Statistically, it does seem to be true that men complain more often about lack of sex than women. Either way, sex is a bonding experience for partners of both genders, so again, make it a priority. Don’t believe for a second it’s frivolous, or less important than that pile of laundry that’s crying out to be folded. Does it sound selfish to lock the bedroom door briefly when you’re ten-year-old really wants to play another round of Monopoly? Sure. It’s okay. Give him suggestions on a few other activities that might entertain him and explain that you need a little mommy and daddy time…because you do.
Spice it up
Also, keep experimenting.That’s another taboo for a lot of people, but it’s possible that if you’ve slid into a habit of thinking that sex has become boring, it’s a little bit your own fault. What if you had a client at work who never seemed satisfied? Would you keep trying the same thing, or write him or her off as too hard to work with? Probably not. If you’re committed to your job, you will try and find new approaches to the client’s projects and do your best to understand their needs. Don’t be afraid to do the same with your partner. Ask him or her about what turns them on, what they like and what they don’t. Do the same for yourself. Do you have fantasies you’ve never expressed? Now is the time. Believe me, chances are good that your partner will be delighted to know what really excites you and happily oblige.
If you and your partner find yourself arguing about sex, please give us at a call at 949-430-7218 or schedule an appointment via our online calendar. We at the Relationship Center of Orange County are here to help you.