There’s an old piece of advice that used to be given to newlyweds: During your first year of marriage, put a penny in a jar each time you have sex. In subsequent years, take a penny OUT of the jar each time you have sex. You’ll never empty the jar.
That is a rather depressing view of married sex, right?
But ups and downs are part of life, and your sex life is no exception. Most couples in the early stages of their relationship find that they can’t keep their hands off each other. And many couples in long-term relationships report that they have less sex as the years go by. As long as both partners are fine with the rate and quality of sex they are having, this isn’t an issue. But when the frequency (or lack) of lovemaking becomes problematic, it is important to look for the causes. What can you do remedy the situation?
Some common causes of less sex in marriage:
Let’s be clear on one thing: having children is great. Many couples cannot imagine life without them. But usually, when your children are with you, your attention is on them. The energy required to tend to your little ones results in two tired parents who see their bed not as a place to cuddle and reconnect, but a place where they can finally shut their eyes and recharge their batteries without having to interact with another human being, large or small.
Try this: Take help from grandparents and babysitters. These “angels” give a couple something very important: an evening from time to time to have sex without worrying about being interrupted. In addition to bringing in the support team of grandparents and babysitters, why not use the time that the children are in bed and asleep to tune into each other rather than catching up on household chores or chilling in front of the television? You may be exhausted, but simply being close to each other may be enough to get a little spark going which leads to a much-needed session of adult fun between the sheets. If you have to schedule this, do it. Pick one night where you leave the remote on the coffee table and you move into the bedroom, locking your door behind you.
In the early days of your relationship, everything was new and novel. Your husband’s stories were fascinating and his jokes hilarious. Your lovemaking was about discovering new pleasure zones. Now things are different. You know each other well enough to finish each other’s sentences. Lovemaking has fallen into a rut. You can predict his next move. There are no more zones to be discovered. You feel comfortable together, sure. But also a little bored in the bedroom.
Try this: Change things up a bit. Move sex out of the bedroom. How about a session on the sofa, in the shower, on the kitchen table? Or, budget permitting, a weekend at a nice resort where you can get a couples’ massage and finish it up in an unfamiliar bed? Bring in some sex toys and experiment with them.
Aging is inevitable and that can mean a reduced libido as we grow older. This has a biochemical basis and is not the fault of the relationship. Many medications, including blood pressure pills, antidepressants, and heart medicine, can make orgasm impossible. Post-menopausal women’s drop in estrogen means intercourse may be painful if attempted without artificial lubricant. Older men will experience erectile issues and may have to rely on a pill such as Viagra to have successful intercourse.
Try this: There are a multitude of sexual aids that have saved many older couples’ sex lives. Consult a medical professional to see what pharmaceutical aid might be right for both of you.
If your marriage is undergoing some challenges and you have resentment that is not being worked out, this can have a detrimental effect on your sex life. It is difficult to feel loving and close to someone towards whom you have building, unexpressed resentment.
Try this: If you have difficulty communication respectfully with each other, or have issues that you find you are not able to share with your spouse, work with a marriage counselor. The benefit this can have on your emotional and sexual intimacy can be tremendous if you find the right expert to help you learn good communication practices.
It is possible to resurrect a lackluster sex life. Take the first step. Talk to your partner. Ask them how they view the sexual landscape of the marriage. Share your thoughts with them and come up with a plan to get back on track to reclaiming one of the most enjoyable aspects of married life.