You may be wondering: What happened to our sex life? Is my partner not into me anymore?
Comparisons about how it was at the beginning of the relationship, or even just a few years ago may be haunting you.
Maybe, sex is not as often and passionate as it used to be and that confuses you because you know you love each other but something has changed lately. So you’re left thinking: Is it that he or she doesn’t desire me anymore? Is it that he or she is not in love with me anymore? Or even worse: Is there someone else between us?
Many couples go through this. During vows, it is stated “for better or worse” but no one mentions or thinks about the ups and downs of sexual intimacy in the relationship. You’re right, no one ever warned us about this.
Dr. Cynthia Graham, Psychologist from the University of Southampton conducted the latest National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles in a team effort with researchers from other important universities in England, and revealed some shocking results. They say that “Living Together” kills sex life after some time. And here’s more. They say that women tend to lose interest first after the first year of marriage. 34% of women admitted having lost their sexual appetite while only 15% of men stated the same. This though doesn’t mean that couples shouldn’t live under the same roof. Let’s look at why this is the case:
As I mentioned on my article “50 Hot Tips to Spice Up Your Relationship" long-term relationships go through different phases –as in nature. We have:
1. The Limerence Phase or “lust phase” – This is when couples are infatuated. They live in a “honeymoon” period. “Love” is infused by an intense attraction due to chemical reactions in the brain. This phase lasts about 6 to 24 months approx.
2. The Building Trust Phase – This is the phase where attachment develops. Arguments will come up and couples will have to learn to fight fair as well as be tolerant and aware of the other partner’s needs and opinions.
3. The Commitment Phase – This is when couples appreciate the relationship they have and start developing loyalty. But on the other hand, they can also nurture resentment if they feel that the relationship is not what they expect. You may want to take my quiz to find out if your relationship is bound to last: Take My Quiz Here.
What to do when sex declines in a relationship
Are you finding difficult to keep the spark alive? Here are some basic reasons why sexual interest is lost and tips for each of them.
Let’s dive into the subject:
1. Emotional Connection
The Problem: You or your partner may not want to share problems or dreams anymore because one of you doesn’t feel heard, appreciated or understood.
My Advice: Learn to communicate about problems and dreams, as well as start dating your partner again so you spend more time together and reconnect again. Make it a habit. Need Ideas for dating your partner? Here are plenty: "Spice Things Up: 50 Romantic Ideas for Dating Your Spouse".
2. Hormonal Changes
The Problem: Low libido due to an imbalance of estrogen in women or testosterone in men is common. The intake of certain medications may be harming sex drive, too.
My Advice: Visit your physician for a hormonal checkup, and work on reconnecting physically. Adopt a healthy diet together with an exercise routine may also help to get back on track.
3. Neglect of Personal Appearance
The Problem: Not taking care of your personal hygiene or how you dress could be a turn off for your partner.
My Advice: Think of the things you did to care for yourself when you were single, and try to go back to them. Revamp yourself! Life gets busy with children and everything else, but commit to something you can start doing again. Lack of personal hygiene and care is also a sign of depression. Consult a therapist if in doubt.
4. Stress or other emotional issues
The Problem: Stress gets in the way of sex and can lead to other emotional issues like anger, resentment, etc. Cortisol is the stress hormone linked to low libido.
My Advice: Try meditation/mindfulness, do something for yourself regularly, exercise, and acquire a regular routine of sleep.
5. Lack of Good Communication
The Problem: You or your partner feel lonely and resentful. The yelling, criticism and/or shutting down on you or your partner physically or emotionally are destructive mistakes in any relationship.
My Advice: Opening the channels of communication is essential. Compassion and respect are key elements to fix the relationship and consequently, have better sex. If you want to go deeper in this topic, check out my article: "How to Communicate Effectively With Your Spouse".
6. Major Transitions in Life
The Problem: The arrival of a new baby, career changes, financial issues, moving to a new house or city, etc. are potential stressors.
My Advice: Take your time to absorb the new situation internally. Do some research about the new change in your life and prepare a plan. Be compassionate with yourself and take care of yourself. Ask for support from relatives and/or friends if needed. If you feel you have control over the new situation you’ll feel more confident and increases the chances to reconnect physically with your spouse.
As you can see, intimacy issues can be driven by many different reasons, so it is necessary to identify the root cause. Sex is an important element for the life of a marriage. Being mindful of passion helps bring the relationship closer.
Would you like to find out if your relationship is bound to last? Take the Relationship Health Quiz to find out:
Sofia M. Robirosa
Sofia Robirosa is the owner of Infinite Therapeutic Services and is a Relationships & Parenting Expert. She offers individual, couples, and family counseling to individuals seeking to enhance their relationships. Her private practice is located in Plantation, FL. She attended Nova Southeastern University for both her Bachelor and Master Degrees in Marriage and Family Therapy and in Business Administration. She is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, and a Leader in Active Parenting for children and teens, an evidenced based program. She is also a Certified Addictions Professional (CAP). She is a passionately committed therapist, who thoroughly takes pride and joy from her job. She enjoys working with a culturally diverse population and is bilingual in Spanish and English. She is a member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy and an active volunteer of the Broward Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. She loves her family, which consists of her husband, daughter, and two dogs. Some of her interests outside of work include spending time outdoors, traveling, and dining.