If you want to re-ignite your sexual desire between you and your partner you have come to the right place. Many people that have been together for a long time have difficulties keeping their sex life as good as it was at the beginning of the relationship.
There can be many causes.
Sometimes you lose your sex drive because you are overwhelmed with problems and stress due to causes like work, money, children, taking care of elderly parents, or health.
Other times the disagreements that you have with your spouse make you or them avoid sex.
The first step in solving a problem is to acknowledge that the problem exists and to decide to search for a solution. The fact that you are reading this article means that you have determined in improving your sexual life and relationship.
In this expert roundup, 40 sex therapists and marriage counselors have answered the following question:
What is the best advice you can give to a couple in a long-term relationship who have lost their sexual desire for each other and want to improve their sex life?
Keep reading to see what are their advice. And, as a special treat from the Bedbible Team – a small sex toy recommendation for each.
Julia Bendis – Match By Julia
As an intimacy educator and someone who’s also been in a twenty-four-year relationship, my advice is that you can’t become complacent. And if you have because it’s easy to do when you have responsibilities, kids and work, start talking and listening. Turn off your phones and communicate about your needs and desires.
Tell your partner how much you miss the magic and excitement. Ask your partner what they miss. Discussing each other’s desires can be a huge turn-on in itself. Women especially need their minds stimulated first before they can get aroused.
Start slow and build your way up from there. Simple things like bondage cuffs or tying each other to the bed and taking turns pleasuring one another while blindfolded are amazing stimulants. Your other senses have to take over and the mind goes wild wondering what’s next. For women using a clitoral toy will help with arousal.
Remember that foreplay is key and how you build anticipation. This means you should send those naughty texts! Sex out of the bedroom can also bring newness; start flirting, touching, and kissing in the kitchen or the laundry room. Your bedroom can be boring and familiar, so change it up.
If you have children, sometimes you literally need to escape your surroundings in order to switch your brain from parent to sexual being. For a lot of my clients getting a hotel makes it even more exciting. It doesn’t always have to be a lavish place; cheap but clean is my motto!
Lastly, make sure you’re both trying and wanting to work on your chemistry, it can’t be up to one person only. You both need to be creative and willing to make changes.
Sexual desire is a tricky thing, and still not well understood. And low sexual desire in a long-term relationship is the most common reason why women seek out professional help in their sex lives.
There are many aspects to consider when working with your partner around low desire, but I’m going to emphasize the aspect of “priming your own pump.”
This means taking responsibility for your own desire. And the place to start is to ask yourself what helps you start to feel sexual arousal?
One aspect of priming your own pump is to watch, read, or listen to erotica prior to initiating sexy time or prior to a date night with your partner, to help get your juices flowing.
While you may not feel spontaneous desire (which is totally normal), you can cultivate thoughts that help to stimulate your arousal, which can then lead to desire.
Another way of cultivating arousal and then desire is to touch yourself sexually prior to a sexual encounter with your partner, again to get the juices flowing.
Or you could think about your favorite or most exciting sexual encounter from your past, and then translate that arousal into desire for sex with your partner.
It’s important to know that low desire does not have to mean that there is anything wrong with your relationship or that your love isn’t strong. It’s just something for many people that doesn’t sustain in a long-term relationship, and therefore requires some creativity and teamwork to slowly recharge.
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Dr. Tara Suwinyattichaiporn – Luvbites
If you love each other and want to reinvigorate your sexual desire for each other, the very first thing you need to do as a couple is to start an open conversation about your “new” relational and sexual goals and expectations.
If it’s been a long time since you’ve talked about what you want your sex life to look like, it’s time to renew the goals and expectations with an open, vulnerable, and honest conversation. Reinvigorating your sexual desire needs effort from both partners in a relationship.
After this conversation, I highly suggest long-term couples try sexual mindfulness practices (tantra) together.
Embarking on a new sexual adventure together can spark sexual attraction in one another because there’s a sense of novelty and unpredictability. You can try guided sexual meditation, breathwork, couples yoga, tantric massage, and other tantric sex practices.
Genesis Games – Healing Connections
Sex droughts are normal in long-term relationships and don’t forecast the end of a relationship.
First, I would want to ensure that the cause is not medical in nature. I’d recommend all members talk to their doctors, get blood work done, and discuss the potential side effects of current medications.
I would also consider the lack of sex education because knowledge is empowerment. Most of us are not taught comprehensive sex education, we are only taught how not to get pregnant and how to not catch an STD.
Next, I would focus on the friendship. Do you even like your partner? Do you spend quality time outside of the bedroom? Are you aware of what’s going on in their lives? Research conducted by Dr. John Gottman, reveals that the best predictor for a fulfilling sex life is the quality of the friendship.
Spending time befriending your partner, might be what you need to bring back the spark. I would add an extra layer to that— as you are trying to update yourself on what’s going on in your partner’s life, also ask open-ended questions that help you understand where they are sexually.
What does sex mean to them? When have they’ve felt the most fulfilled sexually? What concerns do they have about their psychical body and what it may or may not be able to do?
Lastly, keep an open mind. As relationships go through new seasons, and we age, our sex lives will not continue to be the same. Change does not have to be for the worst, yet accepting change is key.
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If you’re looking to get your intimate spark back, there are a few things you can do…
First, be intentional about touching each other during the day – give a good morning kiss, give a hug or a touch on the shoulders instead of just walking by, and make it a point to touch your partner romantically (i.e, caress their face with your hand) once a day.
Secondly, when it comes to intimacy, schedule a play date. Many people seem resistant to this idea, but it actually leads to more sex… so if your goal is to have more sex, give it a try.
On the day of your date, do things to get yourself in the mood. Watch a romantic movie, indulge in a little fantasy, put on something that makes you feel sexy. How you feel about yourself will translate to how much you enjoy things in the bedroom.
Lastly, when you’re being intimate, mix things up a bit. Many of us tend to fall into a rut and do the same old things. Be intentional about trying something new.
It doesn’t have to be anything dramatic, and certainly don’t do something that feels uncomfortable, but experiment with a new position or add in a new element.
Dr. Robin Buckley
Ask yourself: Why isn’t “have sex” with your spouse or significant other on your calendar? Is it important to you? Does regular sex have positive benefits for your relationship and your physical health? Do other things get in the way?
If you responded with “yes” to those last three questions, then scheduling it into your calendar, like any other activity you want to be sure you accomplish, is important.
The biggest reason I hear people say they don’t schedule sex is that “it should be spontaneous” and “we don’t want to make it a chore”.
I understand their perspective and challenge them to ask themselves whether their current spontaneous, unscheduled approach is providing them the time to engage in sex as regularly as they both want.
Research shows that couples’ frequency of sex goes down during midlife due to children, care for elderly parents, and other life stressors. If having time to connect with your partner sexually is important to you, then why wouldn’t it be in your calendar to make sure it happens?
An additional benefit of scheduling sex is that it mentally prepares the couple during the days or hours leading up to that “calendar event”. One of my clients said that he made different lunch choices on those days because he didn’t want to feel bloated later in the night.
Another client said she made sure not to overschedule herself on those days at work so she knew she had time to get home and decompress before her “date” with her wife.
Instead of creating pressure, scheduling sex allows couples to consistently make time for each other and consciously reduce distractions that might be obstacles. Overall, it makes each other and their relationship a priority, increasing the success of their commitment.
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Sarah Rose Bright
There can be so many reasons why couples have lost their desire for each other. It could be sexual reasons from boredom in the bedroom to one or both partners desiring different things but don’t know how to ask for this.
It can also be for nonsexual reasons such as having children or the stresses of life which can affect desire. The key is to start with an honest conversation to find out what the real issues are so that you can begin to address those.
Couples often think that if desire doesn’t happen effortlessly then there is something up with them. This is not true. Desire, especially in long-term relationships needs tending to. It’s like a garden where it takes time and attention to keep out the weeds and for the beauty to blossom.
Share with each other what you really desire and if you don’t know, what are you curious about? Taking courses, reading books, or working with a Sexpert are great ways to explore new things. And, if you feel really stuck, it’s wise to reach out to an expert for support.
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Amber Lee – Select Date Society
If you are in a long-term relationship and the sexual spark has fizzled out, start with improving your relationship outside the bedroom and you’ll improve your sex life!
For most people, sex goes beyond just a physical connection. You need to connect with your partner mentally and emotionally for sexual attraction and chemistry to be present.
The best way to get the connection back with your long-term partner is to start behaving the way you did when you first fell in love. Start making each other a priority and start dating again… Date each other!
Think about the way you looked at each other, spoke to each other, and made time for each other at the beginning of your relationship. Start making love because you desire each other, not because you feel obligated to.
Practice looking for the good in your partner and stop looking for the bad.
Many couples develop a habit of comparing and competing with each other, which can sound like this; “I am always the one making dinner.” “You never take out the trash.” “You are not sticking to our monthly budget.” “You always make your friends a priority.” You get the idea.
Instead of criticizing your partner, start a practice of gratitude. Look for the good that your partner does and the ways in which they enhance your life! When you get into a positive mental state about your relationship, you will be more likely to get turned on sexually.
Dr. William Kolbe – RPM
To improve a couple’s sex life, my advice would be for each individual to take the time to reaffirm self-love emotionally, mentally, and physically. Being accountable for our own health and well-being transfers into loving and kind energy towards our significant other.
Solo sex is a means to explore our own sexuality, our erogenous zones, ultimately increasing our ‘sexual vocabulary’ which helps us sexually communicate better with our partner. Solo sex maintains our sexual desire and libido, thus enhancing our enjoyment of paired sex.
Solo sex is an opportunity to love ourselves for who we are, to appreciate and accept our bodies, to affirm our attractiveness, and the confidence to openly share ourselves with our mates.
Each partner can achieve a renewed or expanded sense of self-love that enhances how life unfolds to the senses, creating a timeless journey of ecstasy out of every moment.
In essence, solo sex becomes a path of liberation, leading to a deeper, more conscious experience of life and a rekindled commitment to share love.
Jacob Brown – Sex, Love, and Couples Therapy
Couples often think that a loss of desire and a dip in sexual activity is a sex problem. But, in my experience, this usually represents an emotional intimacy problem.
Over the course of a relationship couples often come to feel less emotionally connected. They may get along very well, be good roommates, and enjoy living together; but that deep emotional connection can become frayed.
The solution is not to focus on trying to “fix” the sex issue. Instead, the best thing to do is work on strengthening your emotional connection. Spend more time talking, telling each other how you feel, listening to your partner.
Sharing feelings, even difficult feelings, brings a couple closer together, creates a greater sense of intimacy and trust. And, as you start to feel emotionally closer, that will naturally create the space for a greater level of sexual desire.
Nicole Prause – Liberos
The best advice I can give couples in a long-term relationship is you need to talk about expectations without ultimatums.
One common situation is that men start masturbating more to pornography when sex frequency decreases, and women demand they must stop viewing porn.
Not only is that not addressing the actual issue, a discrepancy in sexual desire, but it shames the male partner’s sexuality and shuts down communication.
In that case, I would help the female partner identify what the porn viewing more likely signals, often concerns about her own attractiveness or desirability to her partner, a very common relationship concern that will not be improved if he stops viewing pornography.
I’m assuming this advice is for a couple in a healthy relationship, not a couple in severe marital distress. For that couple I recommend therapy.
Here are brief tips for a couple wanting to revive their sex life:
For an imaginative couple have an affair with one another. Here’s how:
- Look your best
- Pick a quiet restaurant
- One of you sits down alone
- The other asks to join. (You need a good pick up line.)
- Get to know one another
- Flirt. (If you forgot how, do some research before your date.)
- Go home together
- Make love
For a less imaginative couple:
- Hold hands in bed
- Slowly caress one another
- It’s okay to feel nervous
- Be vulnerable. Share your feelings with one another.
- Slowly proceed to kissing. If you can kiss well, you’ve already crossed the biggest hurdle.
- Don’t rush to have intercourse. If you’re not ready, it’s okay to say no.
- If you are ready, don’t expect fireworks. The goal is to connect and to create a safe space.
It’s normal for a loving couple to need a tune-up. Once you change the sparks and plugs, the engine should be ready to roar. However, if you’re still having challenges in the bedroom, I recommend you contact a qualified sex/couple’s therapist.
G Stone – “Straight”…But Not Narrow Ladies
Low libido or loss of sex drive is extremely common in long-term relationships. The best advice I would give a couple in a long-term relationship who lost their sexual desire for each other but want to improve is to start outside of the bedroom.
Couples should take away the mental, physical and emotional pressures of both wanting to have and also not having sex.
I would encourage them to forgive each other for getting caught up in the throws of adulting, celebrate wanting to improve their sex life, and then have them commit to being more intentional about cultivating a deeper level of intimacy.
The actual work comes with aligning the mind and body. The couple should have open discussions outside of the bedroom to identify ways they can practice igniting desire or mental stimulation and allow it to build up throughout the day and flow into the bedroom.
They can try things like phone sex, sexting, sending each other explicit pictures, watching porn together, talking about their favorite sexual experiences together or other erotic stories, making sensual playlists, etc. The next component is arousal or physical stimulation.
I would suggest discussing how they are feeling and any challenges they may be facing. This may give clues to physical ways they can help their partner relax while cultivating intimacy.
They can consider things like warm baths or showers, scalp or body massages with essential oils, couples intimate breathing exercises, sensual play, erotic games/toys, couples classes, intimate date nights, etc.
Isolde Sundet – Connect Again Psychotherapy
First, recognizing that loss of desire or intensity of desire is common in long-term relationships. It does not mean that desire is gone for good or that either of you wants to leave the relationship.
Contrary to many common beliefs, it doesn’t mean that either of you is interested in having sex with someone else, though sexual attraction/interest in someone else doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing either! There are a few ways to improve connection and find desire again.
First, consider your daily life and schedule and how much time you are spending together. Do you spend intentional time apart? That is, do both of you have a hobby or interest in an activity that you do solo? (going to the gym, attending a book club, a weekly get-together with friends).
If, for example, you’ve moved to a new city or are socially isolated, solo activities may be harder to cultivate but it is still important that each partner carves out time for themselves. Desire can easily die when the mystery has fled and a rut takes hold.
Secondly, I would advise couples to think about what is not being said in terms of sex. Is one partner watching pornography and masturbating more than what was once typical in the relationship?
Pornography in itself is not bad for relationships but in my work, I have consistently noticed a pattern between reduction of frequency of sex and increase in pornography use.
It is important to keep in mind however that pornography, if it has become a problem so far in that it has inhibited desire and intensity in a relationship, is usually a symptom of a larger issue, like one partner being depressed or both partners feeling disconnected from one another.
Once couples discover what the loss of attraction or desire is about (i.e. resentment, porn, spending too much time together passively) then they can begin to take steps to do something about it. Emotional connection begets intimate connection.
Talk to your partner. Take a walk and have a conversation about nothing in particular. Practice curiosity in your partner–there are always new things to learn. Take 5 minutes and simply look at each other–a look without words can go a long way.
Ashera DeRosa – Whole Stories Therapy
Restoring desire to your relationship requires partners to approach each other with curiosity instead of assuming that there is no room for change. Stagnancy is boring and desire thrives in mystery.
Many people assume that they know everything about their partner after a certain point. This assumption leads to a dead bedroom. Try looking at your partner with fresh eyes—try to notice something new about them every day. Ask questions and challenge yourself to be present with their answers.
Each partner can contribute to this sense of newness and discovery by independently fostering their own interests and then talking to their partner about them.
Picking up hobbies, reading new books, and examining one’s own perspectives ultimately leads to a change in the relationship system. Surprise yourself and your partner.
Try to break out of the routines around touch. Touch doesn’t need to ultimately lead to sex in order to be sensual. When holding hands, notice with curiosity how it feels. Being present even with small touch can foster the longing needed to spark desire.
Raffi Bilek – Baltimore Therapy Center
If you’re feeling a little distant in the bedroom, know that this is a normal part of a long-term relationship. A partnership that lasts for decades will inevitably go through ups and downs in their intimate life; fireworks are exciting, but they are by nature short-lived.
When the desire seems to be on the wane, consider this: you can be sexual even if you don’t totally feel like it. Partners who have a good relationship often find that once they start the process, it doesn’t take long until they’re having a good time. The tough part is getting over the initial hump (no pun intended).
There are so many things that demand our time and attention and so little energy left at the end of the day that we often put off our sex life and never get to it. Instead, make it a priority and a commitment, and hop into bed with each other even if you’re not “in the mood.”
(That doesn’t mean that if you’re in a fight or if the relationship is in shambles that you should force yourself and feel gross afterward; we’re talking about when the relationship is a good place.) You will likely find yourself remembering how much you really like this activity!
Jennifer Hayes – South Carolina Matchmakers
Everyone’s desire for sex isn’t the same all the time so, It’s very common for couples to experience a loss in their sexual desires for one another during their relationship.
The first thing is to figure out what is the real cause of why your sexual desires for one another are low. Is it that you are tired, stressed, on medication or anything that you can think of that would directly affect your libido?
Once you determine that you can communicate that to each other and explore options to change it. Sometimes exploring new options together can create a sense of excitement to give your sex drive the boost that it needs.
Another thing is don’t be afraid of asking for what you need from your partner as long as you’re willing to give in return to make sure their needs are met. Most of all, have fun with this new journey and use this time of exploring as a chance to really reconnect with one another.
Dr. Kate Balestrieri – Modern Intimacy
One of the best things couples can do to revive a spark in their relationship is to get honest, with themselves and each other, and from a place of mutual curiosity and non-judgment.
Take the time to check in about what you both have on your plates, emotionally and logistically, and collaborate with each other to ensure you both have support.
When couples do not do this regularly, they have a higher chance of letting resentments and fatigue steal the stage where eroticism could be.
Next, infuse some erotic energy into your lives. This can be as easy as introducing some intentional transitional time in your day, marking a shift in your roles as employees, boss, parent, bill-payer, etc., to erotically open partner.
You may want to take a bath, change your clothes, have some tea, or pop a CBD-infused sex gummy, to clear space for sexual pleasure.
Last, novelty is a key ingredient for breathing heat into your sex life. Humans are not static beings. We are continuously influenced by our experiences and environments, and we evolve over time. This is true in our sex lives too.
Rediscover yourself and your partner with a commitment to sexual curiosity. You might watch some new erotica together, dive deep into a new fantasy, play with a new toy, or ask each other erotic questions.
You may think that you need a hot new sex trick or tip to bring back the spice into your relationship! But you might be surprised to know it’s what happens outside of the bedroom that has more of an impact on your sex life than anything else!
The top things that get in the way of sexual intimacy are:
· Lack of physical affection outside of the bedroom.
· There are too many things going on and it feels like another thing to do on the to-do list.
· Emotional Distance
· Exhaustion and stress
· Feeling unappreciated.
So, it is the simple things that you do that will bring back that sexual intimacy you miss. You need to:
· Be affectionate outside of the bedroom without expecting it to end up in sex. Remember when you first met that is exactly what happened!
· Help each other with the household tasks, or pay a cleaner so you have more time and energy for fun.
· Get to know each other all over again and spend more time on the foundations of the friendship in your relationship to remove the emotional distance. Intimacy is about closeness – into me you see! When you lose that closeness, you lose sexual desire.
· Make the point to notice and appreciate your partner in the big and small things they do. Remember to acknowledge and appreciate what you love about them.
– Try new experiences together outside of the bedroom because it is novelty and newness that keeps that spark alive. Try creating new, shared unique experiences together that will bring you closer.
– Stop taking each other for granted. You may think you know everything about the other person but do you? People grow and change over time so there is always more to get to know. Rediscover them.
When you first met you spent time together easily, that can lessen and even stop over time. This makes sex just another thing to do on an already too long to-do list which never feels good.
Do you know that the average couple generally only spends an average of 10 mins a day talking to each other and usually about day-to-day life, not about the stuff that matters? In fact, couples spend more time on Facebook than talking to each other.
So, work on changing that! Go back to how you were at the beginning of your relationship when you couldn’t wait to see each other and were genuinely interested in each other.
Make the effort to be connected throughout your day and be playful with each other. Try flirting by text or via email rather than just doing the boring old texts. Then when you come home at the end of the day put your phones away and find ways to connect in person without distraction.
Remember how you used to get excited when you saw your partner, bring that back. Make a point of letting them see your eyes light up when they walk into the room.
When they are talking to you, be in the moment and be present, listening to them and even touching them. That could be touching their leg or holding their hand. When you walk past them, touch them or give them a quick kiss. Tell them you love them.
It is always the simple things that make a real difference.
Strengthen your friendship and it will change your relationship and your sex life bringing the desire back again.
Follow these simple tips and watch the desire return.
Ryan Gleason – Ryan and Alex Duo Life
Only you control your pleasure. Not your partner. Your partner may be the most amazing partner in the world, but they can’t read your mind. One way to start prioritizing sex in your relationship is by asking for it.
Don’t feel shy. Your partner loves you and would do anything for you. Don’t you think that includes your pleasure?
Here’s how to ask for it without making your partner feel like they’re not pleasing you adequately. Say things like, “Remember that phenomenal time we did that thing in Bali? It really turned me on. Let’s do that tonight.”
Or, “Last night when you did that thing… it was hot. If we could do more of that, that would turn me on even more.” Remember, your partner wants to please you. Guide them to how they can do that better. They’re not “giving” you an orgasm. It’s still your responsibility to advocate for numero uno.
Manya Wakefield – Narcissistic Abuse Rehab
The transition from a passionate affair to a seasoned romantic relationship can be defining. Instead of making love to each other’s bodies, long-term relationships present couples with an opportunity to make love to each other’s minds.
Intimacy can create a thriving and profound sexual connection that stands the test of time. It opens the door to exquisite and profoundly erotic adventures.
Active listening, understanding, respect, and acceptance cultivate a level of assurance that grants access to our innermost self. Desire may undress the body, but intimacy frees the mind.
When everyday obligations and fluctuating libidos risk eclipsing the passion that brings couples together in the first place, or when sex is less frequent than in the blushing throes of new love, intimacy makes love-making more intense and fulfilling because the seduction begins long before we enter the bedroom.
Intimacy is the key to restoring desire in long-term relationships. It invites couples to be courageous and explore evolving desires in a state of implicit trust. And, ultimately, it transforms sex from an act of release to a shared experience of unbridled elevation, satisfaction, and grace.
Renelle Nelson – Growing Self
When my couples come in and present with the loss of sexual desire, I first offer understanding.
I gift them understanding in exchange for them gifting it to each other. It’s important to approach this subject with the intention to create, heal and understand. I have found people don’t grow apart — they stop communicating.
Next, I have each partner explore themselves (self intimacy). I help them understand how they’ve changed over the years and what they’ve released.
I ask, what does intimacy mean to them? What are their turn-ons and turn-offs? What does pleasure mean to them, and what brings them pleasure?
The key to any relationship is self-knowledge. Once they feel they have some information and confidence, I encourage them to invite their partner into their world. We discuss how they are both responsible for their own desire and how they can show up better for themselves and the relationship.
Building on intimacy, desire, and sex takes intention. It’s important to create a space to share definitions, expectations, and things that may have gotten in the way of their desire.
In this space of exploring, couples create arousal by getting to know their partner better through communication, and building safety and trust — all part of a great foundation for sex.
Next, we create a plan to make their relationship, intimacy, and sex a priority. Intimacy starts outside of the bedroom. We discuss activities that build teamwork and trust, and I inform my couples that they deserve pleasure in and out of the bedroom.
Finally, we focus on building a range for exploring intimacy and sex. I have them explore a variety of non-sexual but arousing activities, such as sensate focus, eye gazing, and tantra.
The key to reconnecting with desire is to not assume but to discuss. Then, work together to cultivate what brings you closer.
Re-establishing friendship and becoming “intimate allies” helps couples to reconnect and re-embark on the Pleasurable Journey of Sex!
Be curious. Recall what attracted you to your partner when you first met and what is different about you now. What is different? There’s the gap, determine how to fill it.
Ask yourself, is this related to my relationship or a personal issue I’m struggling with? For example, gaining weight is about self-esteem and lack of sex is a symptom. Being stressed out at work causes fatigue, which can deplete desire.
Perhaps you determine you’re bored or complacent with your relationship. Introduce novelty into your sex life. Or perhaps you’re not feeling connected. Eliminate distractions to share positive memories or dreams together of the future.
Another option is to reach out to a therapist, ideally before you get in too deep. This is not a sign of failure, it is a sign of commitment.
Having a safe space with an impartial professional can help guide your conversation toward shared connectedness.
Leah Spasova – LIFESEXPERTS
What I would suggest to people always is to open a conversation with their partner and communicate that they are not happy with the way things are and that they want to explore in a safe way how things can change for the better.
So, that would mean finding a sexuality professional and having communication that is safe, that is managed and that is supported by a professional.
Most of the time people don’t approach professionals because they don’t even know how to open these conversations with their partners and the problems remain.
Some of the reasons why people lose sexual desire for each other can be from having felt that their partner doesn’t care about their sexual fulfillment or not knowing how to express what they want in sex to be satisfied.
Often times men feel rejected by their partners for a long time and the sexual desire that existed just turns into resentment towards their partners.
A lot of women have suffered a lot of trauma around sex, and even if they have not been a victim of assault, rape, or other things, they have felt pressured to have sex with partners in the past and that has affected their sexual desire as well as their emotional security in relationships.
So if people are not happy with how things are in their relationships it will be best to find a sexuality professional that can help them.
Melissa Hunter – Counter Current
Creating emotional intimacy is the precursor to developing a banging sex life. Being able to be open and honest with your partner creates connection and safety. Once that is established some practical exercises may include:
I often ask couples to plan date nights with the caveat that they cannot talk about anything that relates to their home life, work-life, or family.
This is a time to talk about their dreams, goals, who they are, to reconnect, and get to know each other.
I also ask couples to explore each other with no expectation of sex of any kind.
Often, this will begin with making out with each other, practicing being in the moment of how pleasurable it is to explore one another through kissing. This is a way of creating intimacy way without having the goal be sex.
A third exercise is to lay in bed together naked, facing each other. Practice exploring each other’s bodies without touching genitalia for at least 10 minutes. What is it like to touch each other and ask your partner what feels good to them?
Oftentimes, couples will report to me that this exercise works as an aphrodisiac and gets things heated up. It allows them to relax, connect, and be present.
Tara Skubella – Earth Tantra
Losing sexual desire is common with long-term couples. The new relationship energy (NRE) we were attracted to in our partner can diminish over the years.
Our pheromones become complacent and familiar. This means there isn’t a need for a primal connection to procreate or unfold the mystery of chemical attraction.
When reaching this point in a relationship, it’s important to reboot and reconnect romantically. One way to do this is through the magic Tantra. Tantra is the art of weaving energy work for expansion beyond the body.
Once we learn how to stimulate a new energy flow within our own body, that juiciness can more easily be shared with a partner.
Oftentimes we look for external answers but forget the capability to restore and restir the pot of our own sexual desire lies within.
Practicing tantric intimacy with our beloved helps us feel beyond the physical body into a highly elevated sensual connection. Tantra also supports a healing component and non-attachment to orgasm.
We learn that intimacy can hold space of love, care, compassion, and nurture. This makes sexual connection fun, romantic, exploratory, and helps us slow down to be more in the present moment of physical and emotional sensations.
Daniel Sher – Between Us Clinic
To answer this question, we need to consider the essential ingredient that makes any relationship or marriage successful: intimacy.
Intimacy essentially means closeness and it comes in many forms, but a healthy relationship requires both romantic (or relational) and physical (or sexual) intimacy.
Unfortunately, there are so many factors that can negatively impact intimacy. Stress, conflict, misunderstandings, and sexual disorders are common culprits. Different problems require different solutions.
The first step toward reconciling your love and sex life is identifying what is blocking your intimacy. This can be done by discussing between the two of you; or else with a relationship therapist, if you need some extra support.
The next step is to take action and find a way of moving forward. For some, this might be a matter of finding creative ways of resolving conflict, fostering mutual empathy, understanding one another’s resentment, or discussing and planning what you both want your relationship to look like.
If one of you has a psychiatric disorder, like anxiety, depression, or bipolar mood disorder, it’s important to get professional help, as this can otherwise disrupt your relationship and sex life.
If one (or both of you) suffers from sexual dysfunction (including premature ejaculation, anorgasmia, reduced vaginal lubrication, pain during sex, or erectile dysfunction), it’s vital that you get the right treatment for this from a sex therapist, clinical psychologist or sexual health physician.
Finally, as cliche as this may sound, the most important thing that you can do to build and maintain your romantic and sexual closeness is to think about and work on your ability to communicate openly and honestly with one another.
Susan Harrington – Maison Vie New Orleans
Loss of sexual arousal and interest in long-term relationships is a natural event. However, it does not have to be a normal event.
The natural aspect of it occurs as significant relationships get caught up in the responsibilities of life, like paying bills, childrearing, working, and caring for aging parents.
The rekindling of pleasure and intimacy is possible for those long-term relationships in which partners are equally invested in rekindling and have retained safety and trust in one another.
The key is to invest in quality time together with clear, communicated intentions. Sexual pleasure, not sex, is not the first goal; it is the ultimate goal.
The first goals focus on being curious, playful, and together. Here are some fun ideas to start you off:
- Create a game in which you each test your partner’s memory of affectionate times long past.
- Fantasize about an agreed-upon bucket list item
- Pull out those youth-filled photos and have your partner recall the story.
- Write down one another’s favorites (e.g., color, tree, memory, childhood friend, song, movie character, book, etc.), and then the winner gets a massage.
- Create a ritual for unique connection time (e.g., cuddling, joke competition, acknowledgment, greetings, commitment, etc.)
- Create a relationship mission statement that includes hopes and intentions for your commitment.
I strongly encourage professional assistance if you find that rekindling is awkward, inconsistent, or just not successful, or arguments seem to occur instead of enjoyment.
Marriage and family therapists are uniquely trained to guide significant relationships in healing any toe stepping, thus improving your relationship’s dance.
Dr. Gail Crowder
What needs to be uncovered FIRST is what is the root cause of why the couple has STOPPED having sex. Because until this is revealed nothing will change.
Is it a health issue like low hormones, unforgiveness, body issues, painful sex, communication issues? Because people who are in Love just dont STOP having sex.
That would be my advice. Is to get to the root cause! Resolved that and then you will be able to reconnect with your partner sexually.
If you’re in a long-term relationship and have lost sexual desire for each other, know that you are not alone. This is one of the top reasons people seek sex therapy.
If one or both of you are unhappy with the physical part of your relationship, I recommend seeking specialized support sooner rather than later, as an unhappy sex life can have a detrimental effect on the overall relationship.
Reinvigorating sexual desire in a relationship is not a one size fits all approach. An expert in sex therapy will help you explore the root causes of what’s going on, which may be biological, psychological, social, or a combination.
Biological factors could be related to neurology, hormones, anatomy, genetics, illness, drugs, and alcohol. Mental factors could be related to thoughts, emotions, trauma, and interpersonal relationships.
Social factors may be related to cultural norms and expectations.
Often what I witness is that when relationships are new, and individuals are discovering each other for the first time, sex is highly stimulating and exciting.
Once the relationship is established, and two become one, the love becomes more companionate in nature, there is less novelty and more predictability, and sexual stimulation can drop off.
In these cases, partners generally benefit from rediscovering and claiming their own individuality.
This may include really knowing and owning their individual sexual turn-ons and turn-offs and sharing these with each other.
It may also include focusing on their lives outside of the relationship and spending more time apart, to create enough of a gap between them for erotic energy to flourish.
Of course, too much separateness can result in disconnection – it’s a balance! An enjoyable sex life requires both separation and togetherness; independence and interdependence.
Danielle Selber – Tribe 12
Seven Days of Sex!!! I think I made this tactic up, but it may be something I read in a magazine so long ago that I forgot.
Here’s how it works: you and your partner(s) decide on a future week where you have the bandwidth to have sex every single day.
Then you calendar it out – date, time, specific location, who lets the cat out beforehand, do you shave your legs, which one of us will plug in that toy to charge – every detail!
Just like any other important appointment in your calendars, you reschedule it if plans change. Everyone gets one get-out-of-sex-free card for the week, no questions asked, and of course, the rules of an active consent (always!) apply.
If all this rigidity sounds deeply unsexy, you’d be surprised. With logistics and expectations settled in advance, there’s nothing left to do but enjoy yourselves.
Some people need preparation before intimacy in order to be fully present – maybe you have a strategy for coping due to past trauma, or your partner has something physical or hygienic they need in order to be comfortable.
Planned sex also eliminates the bruised egos that come from initiating sex and being rejected, often a big hurdle for established couples.
David F Khalili – Rouse Sexual Wellness
It’s okay to go slow. In fact, it’s best to go slow. If it’s been some time since you’ve been intimate and sexual together, then you likely have competing internal drives. One drive is telling you to go for it, have fun, let loose and get off.
While the other drive is likely fueled by anxiety, apprehension, maybe even frustration. Going slow can help those drives align and find a compromise rather than battling over the gas and break.
Another piece of advice I remind my clients is to work on their grounding skills. It’s beneficial to stay present when you are reintroducing sexual intimacy.
You both are likely to feel vulnerable so staying grounded can help you be aware of your needs and boundaries, as well as reduce defensiveness or an impulse to jump to conclusions.
Listen to yourself when you need to slow down. Check-in if you actually need to stop or slow down.
While we want to listen to your boundaries to ensure safety, there may be times when you’ll only need 10-20 minutes of a break rather than totally stopping altogether.
Reece Stockhausen – Practical Intimacy
Here’s the most important truth we’re never told about sex: Desire and arousal are controlled by a brake (all the things that stop you from getting aroused) and an accelerator (all the things that turn you on and make you want sex).
Things that hit your brake can be anything from insecurities about your body, pressure to perform, or the argument you had the other day, to the seemingly unrelated like dirty dishes in the sink or unsent emails.
One of the biggest brakes on sexual desire is stress. If you’re stressed about money, work, or the kids, your brain interprets that stress as a sign that it’s NOT a good time for sex, and it hits your brake. And trying to feel desire for each other when something is hitting your sexual brake is like trying to drive with the hand brake on.
Most people don’t really understand what hits their accelerator either. We think that desire is something passive that ‘just happens’ to us, when in fact, we usually have to do something to get ourselves feeling aroused and sexy, and THEN we’ll start to feel desire.
Desire is something you can cultivate for each other, no matter how long you’ve been together, but you first need to understand how to turn off the brakes and turn on that accelerator.
Avigail Lev – Bay Area CBT Center
The best techniques for couples to improve their sex life involve sensate focus exercises that stimulate the vagus nerve, increase physical connection, promote mindfulness, and promote present moment contact.
1. This exercise involves having each partner massage the other, while the person receiving the massage numbers their level of pleasure from 0-100%. This is a powerful exercise because it trains couples to stay present and become more attuned with each other.
You can start with touch that isn’t sexual and then progress to touching genitals and providing orgasm.
2. Synchronized breathing. This is an exercise used in polyvagal theory that helps couples connect, attune with each other, co-regulate emotions, and develop secure attachment.
Sit face to face close enough so that you can sense each other’s breathe. Breathe four breathes in and five breathes out and gradually synchronize your breathe with your partner’s. Another version is having one partner breathe out while the other partner breathes in.
3. You can combine synchronized breathing with other polyvagal exercises. For example, put one hand on your partner’s heart and the other hand on their back (opposite of their heart) and hold firmly together as you practice synchronized breathing.
Send loving kindness energy and warmth from the palm of your hands to your partner’s heart. Feel the impact that your warmth and loving intentions have on your partner’s nervous system.
4. Eye gazing. Gaze into each other’s eyes for 2-3 minutes as you breathe together. This is an intense exercise when combined with a guided mindful meditation for couples.
As you look into your partner’s eyes and breathe in sync. Ask yourself the following questions:
What do you love about your partner? What are your partner’s biggest fears? What does your partner need the most? What were your partners most painful experiences? What does your partner need to hear the most? How does your partner contribute to your life? What is your partner feeling and thinking right now?
Notice moments of connection and disconnection and make space for the ever-changing flow and shifts of interdependence.
Shane Warren – Poppet Centre
Often relationships become sexless (or sex-limited) because we get busy, things fall into a dormant phase of the same-old-same-old.
That’s in daily life and the bedroom; yet over these years each person changes matures, becomes more adventurous, and in essence a new person.
So go back to the start, date the new person again – bring back the excitement of the new; but be brave, be bold, be mature and let in a little kink – as we get older our inhibitions drop, while our imagination has evolved – so take advantage of that!
Alexander Burgemeester – The Narcissistic Life
First, it’s normal for couples to experience ebbs and flows in their sexual desire. Life can definitely get in the way, and it’s easy to fall into a rut. That said, it’s also very doable to change the dynamic. That awareness should ideally empower couples to know they aren’t alone.
Start by communicating. What is a reasonable goal that you two can agree upon? Maybe it’s a simple as having a routine date night each weekend. Perhaps it’s committing to having sex once a week.
Scheduling may not feel as spontaneous or romantic, but most couples therapists agree that being on the same page makes for a happy, satisfying relationship. Plus, building hype can increase anticipation and desire.
Consider opening up about your desires. What have you both enjoyed doing in the past? What would you like to try in the future? What’s something you once did and would love to do again?
When asking each other these questions, it’s so important to be respectful and curious. Any hint of judgment may result in your partner shutting down.
Finally, you may want to consider couples therapy. A therapist can help you both understand how to support each other and communicate about your needs. They can also help you navigate the roadblocks that may be preventing intimacy.
Many times, losing sexual desire can signify other issues in the relationship, and therapy offers tools for untangling those potential problems.
Indigo Stray Conger – Choosing Therapy
Sex helps couples withstand stress and navigate issues in their relationship. If you have a long-term partnership in which sex has been slowly waning, it’s imperative to get back your sexual connection as quickly as possible.
If sex is nonexistent or very infrequent (clinically this means less than once every six weeks) it can be challenging and awkward to get into a sexually connected space with each other again. To bring your sex life back with a partner, try these tips:
Leave the house. Get outside of your usual routine, both on your own and together. Time apart can reignite longing for your beloved, as can spending time together with mutual friends or in other contexts.
When you venture out into the world with one another, you get to see your partner in a different light (not in their pajamas in the living room) and that can bring back the sexual spark that has been dormant.
Talk about sex. (Not dirty talk, although that can be fun too). Get clarity with yourself and your partner about what a healthy sex life would look like at this stage in your relationship.
You may think that you and your partner already know what fantastic sex should be like together, but assumptions, miscommunications, and perceived rejections can all do avoidable damage to relationships.
Get comfortable talking about the intimate dance you are creating in your couple and check in frequently about how sex is going for both of you.
Engage in self-care. Self-care is not all bubble baths and pampering, although that can be nice. Self-care means getting enough sleep, exercise, and sunshine. Eating a reasonable diet at reasonable times.
Make sure that there is mindful relaxation built into your schedule, such as meditation or walks, not simply an onslaught of busyness followed by catatonia on the couch.
Addressing stress incrementally in whatever small ways you can bring space back into your life for arousal and desire to flourish together.
Create opportunities for sensual touching. Sensual touch does not need to lead straight to sex in order to increase the health of your sexual connection, in fact, it’s important to have sensual touch on its own.
Couples that report the most satisfaction with their sex lives keep flirtation and sensuality alive. Often in long-term relationships, touch becomes either platonic (in the form of cuddling or a perfunctory kiss) or a cue for sex.
Over time sensual touch can be interpreted as a request for sex, which to a low libido partner may feel like pressure and shut them down. What if you made a practice of long, lingering kisses and touching that is explicitly not foreplay?
Justine Mastin – Blue Box Counseling
My best advice for a couple who have lost their sexual desire for each other is to get curious about what else is happening in their lives.
It’s not uncommon for life circumstances to pull our attention away from our partner or have us seeking the novelty of something new. We are all in the middle of a climate crisis, unprecedented political division, and innumerable other stressors every single day.
Essentially we are all living through a time of cultural trauma. When we’re in the middle of a trauma, sex can really fly out the window. And that makes a lot of sense.
The parts of us that manage our day-to-day operations are in charge, rather than our more romantic or attachment-seeking parts.
There’s an old saying in the field of marriage and family therapy that “when there are problems in the bedroom, there are problems in the living room” and I would say this extends to the whole house, town, and world.
I would invite this couple to get curious about what is happening for each of them individually and together with regard to these external circumstances and see if anything needs to be addressed before we tackle sex.
I’ve had several coaching clients with this complaint. These are the possible contributing causes we explored together:
First and foremost, are you connecting on an emotional level? Is this couple communicating with each other about their deepest needs and feelings? Have unresolved conflicts built walls of resentment between them?
Deal with these first by teaching great communication and conflict skills that deconstruct walls and build confidence in vulnerable communication. These skills have solved the problem for many of my clients.
Next look at past relationships/experiences that may have erected barriers that prevent free sexual expression in this relationship.
One young woman had been raped at thirteen and the therapist had blabbed about his “conquest” at school. She’d developed a tough barrier around her heart. Hearing my empathy as I heard her story helped to validate her pain.
Some inner child work opened her heart to her husband’s needs. She became a willing sexual partner.
The last possibility is lowered sexual drive hormones. This can happen in either men or women. I’ve sent clients to a doctor for evaluation. Some have needed and gotten bio-identical hormone replacement pellets that have worked wonders for their energy and sexual drive.
Solutions for loss of sexual drive is not a one-size-fits-all prescription but requires a multi-faceted approach.
As an emotionally-focused therapist, I often talk to clients about building awareness of their core emotions, one of which is sexual excitement. Core emotions, like sadness, fear, joy, and sexual excitement, tell us a story that wants to be heard.
If we listen to that story we can figure out how to create change where needed and wanted, like gaining clarity around what makes us sexually excited and what doesn’t.
This emotional awareness building can be a vulnerable process. Be curious and gentle with yourselves as you discover and clarify your own sexual excitement needs and desires, and that of your lover’s.
Have these discovery conversations in a time and space where everyone feels calm and connected. Safety breeds openness.
From a place of courage – and with the newly gathered emotional clarification – continue rekindling sexual desire in your long-term relationship by creating newness.
Changing things up in the bedroom, like introducing playfulness, bodes newness. This in turns ignites sexual excitement because desire is fuelled by the unknown.
When you talk about and introduce something new to the old relationship dynamic you all of a sudden create unmarked territories that are discoverable by everyone involved. And this – this rekindles sexual desire.
Thank you so much to all the experts that have contributed to this expert roundup! Please share this post on social media with your friends and followers.