How do some couples manage to have fabulous and exciting sex lives even several years after marriage? My interviews with hundreds of couples have revealed some common culprits that tend to take a couple's sex life in a downward spiral and solutions to rekindle the passion.
Too much emphasis has been put on spontaneous sex, and scheduled sex is often viewed as unromantic, and so, an unacceptable way to keep the passion alive. And before you know it, months have passed without either initiating or responding to intimacy spontaneously. Many working couples who have stressful jobs or have their hands full with children and family responsibilities just want to crash at the end of a busy day. The only way then is to schedule sex. Date nights and weekend getaways create romantic interludes amidst the humdrum of everyday life. In fact, scheduling sex can be very exciting and deeply fulfilling, because both ensure that they have an easier day... That they remind each other of their date with naughty text messages and they can plan what to wear and how the evening will be. This makes them look forward to their rendezvous, and builds up the emotional foreplay that ensures excitement, arousal and great sex.
Couples with young kids and those who live in joint families are often unable to get into the mood for sex because the kids either sleep with them or stroll into their room unannounced at night. Similarly, family members tend to intrude into their privacy by knocking on the door repeatedly or insisting on spending family-time after dinner. This keeps them either in parent mode for their kids or in child mode for their parents. In either case, it takes away from feeling like adult lovers. This must be remedied by drawing clear boundaries for both, the kids and the elders in the family, to ensure and protect the couple's space. Privacy rules must be made, such as 'bedroom doors once locked at night should not be knocked on by anyone', and, 'no SOS text messages to be sent from the other room to draw the couple out of the room'. Only then can one create a relaxed and sensual environment which is imperative for a healthy sex life.
Today more and more couples are drawn to the screen, with television, Netflix, Youtube and other video streaming sites offering so much tempting content at the press of a button. Then there is social Media like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, not to mention the time-draining Whatsapp. The end result of all these Internet preoccupations is that a couple is left with no time to spend exclusively with each other, minus the distractions. Couples need to mutually decide to put a cap on time spent on the phone and online. Consciously shutting away the virtual world, allows you to have more wholesome experiences in the real world. And it is in this real world that you can create real romantic moments and memories that can enhance your emotional and physical intimacy with your partner.
After a gruelling week at work, many working couples make weekend plans to socialise with friends or go partying. Weekends is also the time most working people catch up with household chores, individual errands and all kinds of family demands. While all these things are important, it leaves the couple with no time to relax and just be with one another. This erodes the couple's space and weekends fly past, with neither one of them even planning some exclusive time to 'feel intimate'. It is therefore important to strike a healthy balance between 'me' time, socialising time, family time and chores time... To ensure that the exclusive 'we' time and space is fiercely protected by both. Physical intimacy is a natural outcome of such relaxed time spent together.
Look And Feel Sensual
If you and your partner focus on fitness and health, you will feel and look strong and happy. This, in turn, makes you look and feel attractive. And when we feel attractive, we feel sensual and... Everything else follows. There are men and women who ignore their fitness and health after marriage and unrealistically expect the same passion as before. Grooming to feel sensual and attractive for yourself, tends to reflect on how you feel in the bedroom. Being physically fit and strong also improves your energy levels and ability to be passionately active in bed. Couples should try going to the gym, running, swimming, cycling, a sport, or even a dance class together. This not only adds to their 'we' time, but also sets the stage for energetic and steamy lovemaking.
Make Reality Your Fantasy
I often come across marriages that have been sacrificed at the altar of porn sites. In such cases, usually, sex has all but stopped because the reality of sex can never match the fantasy. I come across couples who have fallen apart due to expectations that their partner deliver like a pornstar in bed, or agree to sexual acts that clearly make one partner uncomfortable. Instead of using porn as a crutch, make reality your fantasy by planning a sensual evening. Send the kids to grandparents or siblings for sleepovers. Or book a room in a good hotel to spend uninterrupted time together. Wine, dine and slow dance to 'your song'. When you are committed to creating passion in reality, you will 'make love' and not just have sex.
Use Words As Strokes
Verbally affirming, appreciating and complimenting your partner on an ongoing basis goes a long way in creating emotional intimacy, which is the bedrock for intimacy in the bedroom. Listening intently when your partner shares something with you can make your partner feel deeply loved and cared for. When you are quick to apologise and quick to forgive, you create a respectful and nurturing space where intimacy blossoms. When you build your partner up by genuinely acknowledging how much you value their presence in your life, you are communicating that you are attracted to 'who they are'. When you communicate verbally and non-verbally that beauty for you is not just skin deep, you create passion in your hearts which translates into immensely gratifying physical intimacy.
Get Closure In Therapy
It is said that if the sex is good, it constitutes only 10% of the relationship, but if the sex is missing, it takes over 90% of the relationship. Usually, when the sex is unsatisfactory or missing, it indicates that there are deeper unresolved issues between the couple. A hurtful incident, when left undiscussed, could become the source of great bitterness and resentment over time. Anxieties and concerns on the part of one partner regarding behaviour patterns of the other might also be a cause of strain on the relationship. If this happens, the couple must seek therapy together to be able to move past the hurt and emotional distress. Until emotional well-being is restored, physical intimacy will always be a contentious issue among couples.
Dr. Minnu Bhonsle Ph.D. is a Senior Consulting Psychotherapist and Relationship Counsellor at the Heart to Heart Counselling Centre, Mumbai, and has been working with couples for the last three decades.