Are you and your partner not making love anymore?
It happens to the best of us. Right now it’s happening to David age 39, and Stella 35, a couple who have been married for 7 years with two children.
They’ve had a strong and committed marriage, but something has changed for them both sexually over the past few years.
“The emotional connection to the act has diminished, the frequency has diminished. This began within the first year”, David says.
Stella also shares this opinion. “ I noticed it right away too. Once we were closing in on our first year together, sex wasn’t as spontaneous, and my desire for it shrunk a little”.
Dave and Stella are among many married couples that have experienced a downward shift in their sexual relationship. The newness of a marriage is enough to fuel the sexual energy among newlyweds for quite some time. But when the novelty of being a new couple morphs into long term marriage, sex can become routine, obligatory, and even non-existent.
In a recent study by the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior, among 40 to 49 year old married men, only 19% have reported having sex two to three times a week with their spouse, and the numbers aren’t that much greater for younger men. Only 26% of married men in there 30’s say they have sex with there wife more than 2 times a week, showing that most couples are engaging in sex far less than one might expect.
David says he’s learned that it requires a certain level of creativeness to keep the sexual passion alive. “Simple things like changing the environment helps. I’ve found that falling out of sync with each other emotionally, will inevitably impact your closeness and sex”.
Marriage experts at Brigham Young University have supported this buy stating sexual intimacy is one of the most important aspects of a healthy sexual relationship, and it should include an agreed level of sexual frequency, along with sexual activities that both partners enjoy. Also being able to have an open dialogue about each others sexual desires and expectations is paramount for both the quality and quantity of sex you have.
“I feel for me it’s a biological urge that needs to be taken care of, and for women its a byproduct of feeling good emotionally”, David says.
Experts concur, stating that the sex act many times really start with the emotional connection for women. If you’re wife feels obligated, or if it appears that sex is her duty, it will not provide a lot of emotional incentive for her to initiate intercourse.
“Sometimes I feel David is so focused on getting the act underway, that he skips over connecting with me first”, Stella says. “And that just makes me feel like I’m an instrument or just a warm body for him to satisfy himself with”.
David says its really necessary for each other to be honest about what they want sexually. “ I try to communicate in a non confrontational way about my desires for sex. I also try and make the proper adjustments, and realize that effort from both parties is a requirement. You have to understand who you are with sexually, and be honest about if you are up to the task”.
“Most couples will discuss every aspect of their marriage expectations while they’re engaged, but for some reason will exclude frank sex talks” says Stella. “We figured since we had sex a lot when we were dating, it would just carry over to the marriage. We’ve learned better now, and try make a conscious effort to discuss sex when we can”.
Since Dave and Stella have noticed a change in there sexual habits, they have discussed different ways to re-energize things.
“With the kids its hard, but if we can get away for a night or two we will”, says David. We’re trying to get better at planning, and we’re trying to get to a place where we are thinking about each others feelings and being intimate with each other as much as we can”.
Experts state that intimacy is so vital to a marriage, because it can spill over to other parts of the relationship that take place outside of the bedroom. Men are sometimes confused about exactly how to show intimacy. Psychologists have concluded that the main characteristics of intimacy are, open communication, mutual trust, apologies, forgiveness, tenderness, and acceptance. All of these things put into action will increase sexual frequency in a marriage.
David and Stella have decided to do a much better job of communicating how they feel both emotionally and sexually. David says “I figure always laying everything out on the table about sex like we’re doing now, are the first steps to getting things back to where they were when we first got married”.
EDITOR’S NOTE: David and Stella’s names were changed.