If you don’t use it, you lose it?
Luckily in terms of sex in a long term relationship, that’s not exactly the case. Of course, what qualifies as not having enough sex will be different for every couple because everyone has different norms. Regardless of your norms though, when you’ve been together for a longer period of time, your sex life may hit some rough spots but what does that mean?
I was watching the Black Love documentary and a couple mentioned that they have a twice a week sex rule. I thought to myself, ‘sheesh! twice a week…every week?’ There was a time when that would have been minimal to me, but this postpartum sex thing has been a doozy! Anyway, it always strikes me when couples seem dead set on not letting the flame fizzle out. I can’t help but think, what happens when it does?
I searched around the web and talked to some women to find out why couples are so fearful of letting themselves fall into the pattern of not having sex for extended periods of time. I wanted to understand if it was really the death sentence everyone makes it out to be and what couples do to get out of the sex rut once they’re in it.
Is it okay to not have sex?
You may be surprised to find out that a sexless marriage is not necessarily indicative of an unhappy marriage. At a certain point in their lives, some people are able to live very happily committed to one person having little to no sex. According to sex therapists, it is actually normal for sex to become less important to a relationship over time. Now how much less, is up to you and your partner.
Relationships fall into one of 3 categories: sexless and both people want sex back, sexless and only one person misses sex, sexless and both people are perfectly fine. Some couples seek help for a sexless marriage, because they want to get the passion back in their relationship. But some only seek help because they think they are supposed to want to have sex. Find out what category your relationship falls in before diagnosing yourself with a problem you don’t have. There are still ways to be intimate, loving, and affectionate without having sex and there is no shame in being in a sexless or “sex-low” relationship.
Reflections from Real Women
Has your relationship ever been in a sexual rut? If so, what did you do to get it out?
“It’s times when I have to really think “when’s the last time we had sex?” But one of us usually just initiates it when the kids aren’t here or when they are, one of us initiates oral (so we won’t be too loud lol). I personally give him little hints before I go shower and get in the bed. Like I’ll tell him to meet me upstairs for dessert or cop a feel before I go shower. I think it’s pretty much understood that it’s going down when the kids are away though.”
“With the baby, it’s hard because he won’t go to anyone and I’m still struggling to pump enough milk to be away from him. When he goes to sleep, we have sex, but it’s still tough with him around. We try to be spontaneous when we can. Also, postpartum, my sex drive went down a lot so I would be okay with not having sex so he would be the one initiating it for the most part.”
“We’ve been together for 10 years so I don’t know if it would be possible to avoid a rut and I don’t know how we get out of it. It’s not anything I’m doing consciously. I feel like we fall in them and then we fall out of them. Considering we have 4 kids, 2 full time jobs, and one of us is in school part-time, with no baby sitter ever, the fact that we have sex at all is a small miracle.”
“Surprisingly, we’ve never had a rut, even after having kids and breastfeeding and co-sleeping. He’s a little older now so I’ve noticed his drive slow down a little, but I just picked up the torch where he left off. We’re both two individuals who enjoy sex and enjoy physical contact so it’s not work for us.”
As you can see, all couples view changes in their frequency of sex differently and go about fixing it in different ways. There is no magic pill for addressing these changes.
Being in a sexual rut or sexless relationship may be more common than you think. Within two years of marriage, 20% of relationships are sexless (less than 10 times a year) and an additional 15% are sex low (less than 25 times a year). Even if you’re not technically married, one in three committed couples is barely having sex and these are just the people admitting it.
There are several reasons why couples go through dry spells and falling out of love is not on the top of the list. More popular reasons are exhaustion, too much time on our devices, body insecurities, lack of desire, stress, and erectile dysfunction. As you can imagine, having children under age 5 puts you at an even higher likelihood to not having sex. The good news is that it does not always have to mean the demise of the relationship. Here are some strategies to get back into the sack if you and your partner are determined to do it (I heard it as soon as I typed it):
- Schedule sex: For some couples, scheduling sex is really effective and exciting. It creates accountability and anticipation. For others, it kills the mood. Depending on you and your partner, this may be an option.
- Have baby sitters take the kids out of the house, while you stay in and have sex: Rather than a date night, sex therapists recommend using that free time and energy to get busy. If we had a baby sitter here, I would certainly use that time to have uninterrupted Terry time.
- Just do it: If you’re struggling because of a lack of desire, often times practice makes perfect. Simply having sex can help increase the desire to have sex. It’s kind of like having an old candy that you haven’t thought about for years but as soon as you take the first bite you’re like “THIS is why I used to love these things!”
- Try something new: Not just in the bedroom, but apparently some couples are turned on by seeing their partner passionate about something new. They’re able to view their same old mate in a new light.
- Props: Toys, wigs, porn. See what your partner is open and interested in and bring something new into the bedroom. At the very least, you can share a good laugh about it.
- Be More Affectionate: Cuddle, kiss, hug. If you’re not having sex, being affectionate gives you another opportunity to express your love physically and could possibly turn into foreplay.
- Talk about it: This one may make you cringe, but communication is really important. Maybe both of you are okay with not having sex right now. Maybe one of you is losing your freaking mind. There is no way in knowing without communication. Don’t assume your partner knows your needs, because needs change. No blaming or pointing fingers, just create a safe space to have the conversation and share what your needs are and some suggestions on how you can work together to meet them.
Finally, don’t compare yourself to other couples. A lot of couples going through sexual dry spells think they’re the only losers experiencing it while everyone else is humping like teenage bunnies. You’re not alone and even if you are, your relationship is yours. You should make decisions based on the needs and desires of you and your partner alone.
Happy humping…or not! Whatever works.