No matter how dry your sex life is right now, there’s a path forward for you as a couple.
Just like anything in nature, change is constant. Everything has an ebb and a flow, an expansion and a contraction, a rising and a falling. So it is with intimacy and sexuality in relationships.
We accept change in nature and even look forward to what comes with the shifting tides or the changing seasons, but when it comes to sex and intimacy, ebbs and flows leave us feeling confounded and insecure.
Read on to learn how to sensitively and artfully move out from sexual drought back to desire.
If you asked 100 couples if they’ve ever been through a sexual drought, 90% of them would say yes.
Having children, traveling, sickness, stress, distance, or hormones, all play their part in reducing sexual frequency. Based on this 90% statistic, you could almost say that it’s expected that in a long-term relationship sex will wane for periods of time.
Why then, do so many couples get broadsided when their sexual frequency drops off?
First, we equate a sexual drought with a broken relationship. Second, no one prepares us for it, or gives us solid advice to move out of a drought.
When sex becomes very infrequent, or non-existent for periods, we let our fears and insecurities get the best of us.
We build negative stories around our situation, we imagine the worst, and then we do what most of us do when it comes to sex, we don’t talk about it.
Our stories may be something like:
My partner doesn’t find me attractive anymore
My desires don’t matter
Sex goes away in most long-term relationships
My partner is interested in someone else
My partner doesn’t love me like that anymore
This is the first step toward separation or divorce
These are devastating stories we tell ourselves, leaving us feeling, hopeless, resentful, afraid, and unworthy. Our internal negative stories build emotional distance between partners and fuel the emotional divide. Ironically, our stories erode the very intimacy and connection that lay the foundation for sex to happen.
Unless we learn to talk about sex openly and honestly, without blame or projection, we can slip into sexual inertia.
And here’s the thing…
Nature has an indisputable law when it comes to inertia. It’s this:
Objects remains at rest, or in uniform motion in the same straight line,
unless acted upon by some external force.
A sexual drought is a form of inertia. And unless you have some external force to shift its state of rest, it will remain as is.
Here are some external forces you can apply to shift sexual inertia:
The first and foremost external force is the simple act of acknowledgement.
A couple can sit down together and acknowledge that their sex life is in a state of inertia. They can ask each other and themselves how they feel about that fact.
Keep in mind that there’s no right or wrong when it comes to sexual frequency.
If both partners are content with less sex, but enjoy it when it happens, that’s the right frequency for them as a couple. Every relationship is unique.
If both partners agree that they want the frequency to change, this is the conversation to explore the reasons sex is in a resting state (or very infrequent). This is where you can come together as a team and share your thoughts about it, with one caveat. No blaming or finger pointing allowed.
Stay curious as to what derailed your sex life. Many couples can point to what triggered the inertia, like the birth of their second child or family stresses, etc.
If the cause of inertia is related to the quality of sex rather than the quantity, then that’s a different conversation that needs to happen (and that’s a great time to get some coaching to help you find solutions).
But, if you are both in agreement that more frequent sex is important to the well being of your relationship, and you want to break out of the drought, then follow these 7 steps:
Step 1: Acknowledge the origin of your shift in sexual frequency, and acknowledge that sexual inertia has set in. Remember the 90%. You’re not alone or broken.
Step 2: Share your feelings about it without blaming your partner. For example, “I miss being with you sexually. I miss feeling close to you.” “I’d love to work together to make sex a priority in our lives again.”
There are lots of loving, romantic, appreciative ways to tell your partner you miss sex. Let them hear it.
Step 3: Agree to re-approach sex gradually, if it’s been a bit of a hiatus.
Start with non-sexual touching. Many couples end up avoiding any kind of touch, if they are experiencing a sexual drought.
Think of starting with some simple ways to connect like walking arm and arm, dancing, or partner yoga, and experience your natural polarity again. Exercise and breathe together. Start to get intimate again with each other’s bodies, without any sexual goal, and enjoy the journey of sensual touch and massage to awaken desire.
Step 4: Returning to sex after some time away can be awkward. Just agree that awkwardness may be part of your experience. Once you acknowledge it, it’s less intimidating, and can even be, dare I say it, light and humorous.
Be patient as you both start to rediscover some ease and flow in your sexuality again. Don’t worry, you’ll get there.
Step 5: Come to an agreement on your preferred sexual frequency. Remember, a willing, enthusiastic partner creates the kind of quality sex that makes up for quantity. If there’s a discrepancy in frequency, meet in the middle. Putting pressure on a partner to have sex with you, is not sexy, and fuels the divide.
Step 6: Make an agreement with each other that if you notice your sex life starting to dry up again, you’ll both acknowledge it, and nip it in the bud keeping these 7 steps in mind. Don’t create stories that fuel your discontent.
Talking honestly about sex can be as easy as talking about lunch. No defensiveness, no negative presumptions. Sex is a natural part of an intimate relationship, that requires attention and awareness. Treat it that way.
Step 7: Going forward, prioritize sex by planning sex. Make a date and keep your promises to be there with full presence. Couples who plan their sex dates are far more likely to avoid the slippery slope back into a state of drought.
If sexual inertia is paying a visit, come together as a team and decide what external force you’re going to introduce, in order to shift out of the state of resting, and back into the state of play.
As an online Sex and Relationship Coach I work with individuals and couples, who want to claim their intimate pleasure and live sexually empowered lives.
If you want to find out more, set up a 15 min.Discovery Calltoday and get all your questions answered.
My female cousin was a primary contributor to my early sex education, when I needed it most. For instance she clarified that I couldn’t get pregnant by dancing with a boy, no matter how close we got. She also confirmed that I wasn’t the only person who touched themselves (down there), and most importantly, she showed me that ‘wellness massagers from Sears were used for things other than sore necks and shoulders. A few years later my boyfriend introduced me to the real deal. A vibrator made specifically for genital arousal. It was a cream colored, hard plastic, shapeless cylinder with a twisting on/off switch at the end.
This week a client told me she was doing a Marie Kondo on her closet. She was getting rid of what no longer gave her joy.
We went on to talk about her sex life with her partner and the nagging resistance she has to being touched.
Somewhere along the line she formed a belief system about touch. She couldn’t identify a particular incident that informed that belief system. There was no trauma or abuse. She just knew that when she was touched (even by her loving partner) her body would recoil and she’d shut down.
There’s no getting away from the fact that couples in long-term relationships impact each other profoundly, in small and large ways. If you’re a couple who live together there are moments throughout each day that bring you together to discuss something, to work on a task, to accomplish an errand, to share a story, or listen to one. Partners flow in and around each other with such symbiosis, that we can sometimes feel like we’re one mechanism with a shared mind.
Even in the midst of this unprecedented time, the holiday season is once again upon us. If you’re fortunate enough to have one or more loved ones around you, you’re probably giving and receiving a gift or two. I’d like to share a few thoughts I have on gifting.