A therapists guide for improving sex, intimacy and relationships
Article by Don Laird, NCC, LPC, DCC
We feel the love is still there, but the spark just isn’t. We get along fine, and there’s minimal fighting. We’ve been together for so many years, raised kids, took vacations, and lived as healthy as we could, but something went wrong. Months drifted into years, and now we’re realizing that we make for better roommates then sexual partners.
You’re in a rut. You’re leading parallel lives, and you don’t communicate anymore. So, what now?
The first step is to be realistic. If you’re looking for the knock-your-socks-off sex of those first few years, get real. Finding a new partner certainly isn’t a solution either. The initial passion in a relationship typically fades after about 12-18 months. Hook up with someone new and two years from now you’ll have the same dull relationship you are currently experiencing.
Being able to fix a problem depends on what is creating the problem. There are many causes for loss of sexual desire. Some involve medical problems, such as hormones, other causes are linked to anxiety, depression, or medications. If you have seen a physician and she or he has ruled out a physical issue, then it is time to look at the other things that can lead to a libido drop. This may include addressing interpersonal reasons, with a potential lack of commitment in an emotional relationship by one or both partners. Perhaps one partner had his or her feelings hurt or has been turned down too many times, or one got too busy or neglectful. This doesn’t mean marriage kills sex and intimacy. It just means that sex may be the hidden conflict that neither of you wants to discuss. This gets even more complicated with the pressures and added stress of the pandemic.
We acknowledge that sex is important to marriage, but it is a subject that rarely gets discussed. It is healthy to let your spouse know what you do and don’t like when it comes to the act of sex. Let’s not minimize intimacy either. It is also healthy to let your partner know if you are less than satisfied with your sexual relationship and with the level of intimacy. Simply put, more talk of sex and intimacy can lead to more sex and intimacy in the marriage.
Careers, paying bills, obligations to family and friends, parenting responsibilities, and now the added stress and anxiety of Covid-19 can wear a marriage down. These are among the many causes for one or both spouses to spend less time thinking about or engaging in sex and intimacy. In today’s world, we work hard at maintaining a particular lifestyle, but in the end the lifestyle we are working so hard to maintain means nothing if we lose our relationships.
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In Good Health,