It's a Guy Thing

Keeping Sex Saucy!

Sex in long-term relationships

Two-year curse? Seven-year itch? We’ve all heard about the sexual slumps that might happen to couples in a relationship, and many of us have experienced it too. Most couples who have been together a long time have most likely experienced a time when sex just wasn’t as exciting as it was before or that sex became a bit too routine and boring. And unfortunately, ‘spicing things up’ with sex toys isn’t always going to cut it! What’s often needed is to take a more holistic look at the relationship. 

So here are a few things to consider if sex is just not what it used to be:

1. Talk about it 

Many studies have found that couples who talk about sex [outside of the bedroom] actually have more sex. Why? Because they are sharing their desires, fantasies and feel comfortable to tell their partner what works for them in bed. The majority of couples don’t talk about their sex lives – they just do it – and most people are actually rather embarrassed by the topic of sex. Once you recognize that talking about sex can only enhance your relationship, then it can actually lead to a total change to the type of sex you and partner are having. Recognize too if you’re struggling with the topic due to shame, embarrassment or fear, and share this with your partner. 

2. Get back to basics 

Remember kissing when you were a teenager? Remember making out for hours on end? Let’s bring this back into our sexual experience! I’m not suggesting you spend hours-on-end kissing, but I am suggesting that you get back to basics and do things you’ve probably forgotten to spend time on, such as kissing! Many couples focus only on sex, and by that I mean what happens only after penetration! So why not focus on doing things that you used to do when you first met, and the things that created more physical chemistry between you? The best advice that the world-renowned Dr. Ruth [look her up!] gave me about working with couples was to remind them to always flirt! Go on dates, make an effort to dress up and spoil each other, flirt and compliment each other. You’d be surprised what a big difference these small changes can make. It can also take a lot of pressure off penetrative sex, and give you other ways to build desire and connect in your relationship.

3. Pleasure not performance 

That being said, getting back to basics can help you shift your focus from performance to pleasure. Most people are performance-focused (goal-orientated) in the bedroom, and so sex is often all about the outcomes – getting turned on and having an orgasm being at the top of that list. Unfortunately, sex like this can become frustrating, one-sided and pressurizing for one or both partners. As soon as someone feels pressured during sex, they are unlikely to be able to enjoy the experience or even to ‘perform’ sexually the way that they’d want to. If sex feels like this, put a ban on sex for a week or a month and spend that time touching and teasing each other in ways that don’t include sexual intercourse. Think erotic massages, stripteases, bathing or showering together, oral sex, kissing like teenagers, etc. You’d be really surprised how much more open we can be to intimacy and sexual experiences when we don’t feel pressured to ‘perform’.

4. Don’t be too serious 

For something that is supposed to be so natural to us as humans, sex can be a lot of hard work! Most couples report that when sex is good, it makes up around 10% of their relationship; but when sex isn’t going well and there’s sexual dissatisfaction, it feels like 90% of their relational concerns. If you and your partner can talk about sex, don’t let it get to rock bottom before you talk about it. And when you do talk, rather than focusing on all the negatives, try to remember the positives! Think about an experience you both really enjoyed, or a time when sex was really fun and satisfying. Remind each other of what you have had and don’t be too serious about the current state of your sex life… Rather talk about how you can make a change to the current experience you’re sharing.

5. Look at the relationship as a whole, not sex as a part

When sex becomes a constant source of conflict between a couple, instead of focusing on what’s happening sexually, shift your focus to what’s happening both individually and between you. Is either of you struggling to manage stress or work-life balance, or are you experiencing difficulties with your mental and physical health? Do you both feel loved, appreciated and wanted in your relationship, or could this be improved upon? Most couples seek sex therapy believing that sexually, things need work in the bedroom when almost all of the time it’s that the difficulties faced sexually is an indicator that things need attention on a relationship level. If you’re struggling to figure things out on your own, considering reaching out to a sex therapist or couples therapist. Doing so can really make the difference between a healthy, happy and satisfying relationship, or a very unhappy, ‘likely-to-end’ one…