The benefits of a long term relationship are seemingly endless. The simple feeling of having someone to come home to at the end of a long day, feeling like you have a partner traveling with you on this journey called life, can sometimes make or break a person and the increasing amount of available research supporting how important great relationships are to our overall wellness is increasing. So why, if our relationships are so important and necessary for our wellness, does that original sexual desire eventually fizzle and fade?
While many of our relationships begin with the notorious ‘honeymoon phase’ aka NRE (new relationship energy) where we just can’t get enough of our partner, including being unable to keep our hands off of them at any given time, at some point for most of us, the spark begins to dim and dull, maybe even fizzling out nearly entirely.
Why does this happen?
Every couple can have individual reasons for loosing passion. But here are some common reasons that my clients experience
Relationships are WORK and we have forgotten that
Feeling tired and lack of energy
Birth of children
Change in priorities
No spending time to connect
Choosing other activities over sex
Not cultivating own sexual energy
Not working through traumas
Not working on relationship growth
Being abusive relationship
Not taking care of own mental health
Loosing passion for life
Not expploring any new sexual ground
Not stimulating erotic energy
Having too friendly relationships
Having relationship dynamic that is not serving you
Not being able to experience pleasure from sex
Loosing desire for own partners
Not understanding each other sexually
And what can we do to improve our sexless marriage?
Here are some common reasons sexual desire may decrease in a long-term relationship:
Relationships are WORK and we have forgotten that!
Oh how fickle our memories can be! We forget relationships are work! The honeymoon period is so blissfully wonderful, staring lovingly into your partners eyes, falling asleep with your head on their chest to hear their heartbeat, everything is seemingly easy breezy as both partners subconsciously put their best foot forward, showing up in the relationship fully. The unintentional hook, line, and sinker!
The desire to jump your partners bones at any given time lingers just under the surface. You just can’t get enough of them!
… until you do. The seeming perfection of the relationship begins to fade as you lie awake next to your partner snoring and keeping you up, or perhaps after you remind your them for the 102nd time to put the cap back on the toothpaste. Those little quirks that were maybe endearing early in the relationship begin to drive you crazy. You bottle up your frustrations, allow tension to build, resentments grow, and perhaps you shut down; or maybe worse, explode. Somewhere amidst your partner’s incessant nail biting and the dishes left in the sink for the second time today, you forget that you are a TEAM on this journey; that you CHOSE to spend your time, energy, and emotions on this person at one time. You become distracted in the daily frustrations and annoyances that interweave daily life. You forget to make the relationship, your partner, and perhaps most importantly, your sex life, a priority.
2. Not Making Connection a Priority
We are creatures of routine! And while this serves us well in some ways, it can become extremely boring in our relationship and within sex particularly. Your partner gives you that look and makes a move to initiate sex and before any foreplay commences, (if any does!) you can already map out exactly where the next 10-20 minutes will go.
And so we subconsciously check out, yawn, roll our eyes, become unengaged and uninterested. It’s the same old same old. Nothing new or fancy, no surprises, no mystery, no sexy honeymoon sex, no excitement. Somewhere in there, we not only lose our connection to our partner, but also to ourselves. We may even numb out with drugs and alcohol or other maladaptive behaviors in an attempt to make sex more interesting/ exciting/fun/ tolerable/ etc.
3. Unequal Responsibility and Power in the Relationship
According to heaps of research, where couples reported lower levels of equality in the relationship, (for example, one person feeling as though they contribute more to the relationship than the other partner, or where there is a blatant power imbalance such as one member who figuratively “wears the pants” vs. one who does not,) then sexual desire is more likely to decrease. (Conversely, when couples feel they contribute equally to the relationship that their sexual desire also tends to be higher.)
Allow me to generalize for a minute to show you what I mean. In the Smith Family, Dad works a 40 hour work week. Mom does as well, however mom also manages the children and the household. This includes anything and everything from paying bills, to doing laundry, to taking the children to their doctors appts, to grocery shopping… In this example, we can make an educated guess that mom might feel like there is a power imbalance in the relationship and that she may even view sex as just another thing on the to do list. How unsexy, right?
However, let’s be fair and consider: how does dad view the situation? Perhaps he is content, or perhaps he is feeling undervalued, or unsure of how to help, or completely overwhelmed with that work project… And more importantly, how do we shift the responsibility & power within the relationship?
4. Not Taking Care of own Sexual Energy
Even though you are part of the couple big part of your sexual desire comes from within. Understanding how your sexuality works and cultivating desire within, is very important.
5. Choosing Other Things Over Sex
When we do not see value in sex, often if we do not experience pleasure , we will choose something that brings us more value. So, sometimes washing dishes might feel more important than having sex. But in reality, choosing dishes too often might cause serious problems in your marriage.
Creating value around sex is important, in order to desire it more.
And what can we do to improve our sexless marriage?
Photo bymarcos mayeronUnsplash