While it’s normal for married couples to go through different phases of passion, an extended period of time with unmatched desire, or no s*x at all, can really take its toll on a relationship.
A lackluster s*x life is a sign of trouble in a marriage because obviously something has changed, according to Dr. Ava Cadell, sexologist and author of NeuroLoveology, The Power to Mindful Love & s*x. “It’s usually an emotional block such as anger, anxiety, boredom, fatigue, financial concerns or unrealistic expectations that causes s*x to stall and passion to fade.”
If you find that having s*x with your spouse is feeling super-awkward due to a lack of intimacy, Dr. Cadell’s suggests these 3 tips to help reignite the spark.
Show nonsexual affection.
If the s*xual desire is unbalanced, it can harbor negative feelings in both halves of the couple.
“If one member of the couple is attempting initiation, and the other constantly refuses, the person with the lower s*x drive can tend to feel barraged and possibly even harassed,” said Dr. Cadell. “The one who’s feeling the desire more can often feel neglected, unattractive and unloved.”
When this occurs, couples should take a step back from the s*xual portion of the relationship and focus on simpler tasks first.
“Start by giving each other physical, emotional and mental compliments and tell your spouse what makes him or her lovable to you,” advised Dr. Cadell.
Kiss in front of the kids.
Restraining your desire for the sake of the kids is common, but flawed. While s*xual intercourse should take place behind closed doors, kissing and embracing should not. It’s important to hug and kiss each other in front of your children and let them see that you love each other, according to Dr. Cadell.
“Children should grow up knowing that s*xual activity is a healthy part of a normal committed relationship,” she said. “We don’t celebrate healthy se*uality nearly enough in our society; we’re so hung up on the horror we grew up with about our parents being s*xual.”
It’s also okay to ask for privacy when it’s needed, particularly once children are old enough to be alone in the house for a period of time.
Don’t assume that your partner is just as stoked about a romp as you are – or that they’re tired and clearly not interested in s*x. Whatever your s*xual needs are, communicate them clearly.
“A healthy s*xual relationship is where both partners get their s*xual needs met by communicating their wants, needs, desires, fantasies and fears,” said Dr. Cadell. “Nobody can read your mind! Not even the one you love.”
She suggests that married couples participate in the following activity: Write down three wishes each that you think will heighten your s*xual experience. Then exchange wishes and make at least one out of the three come true for your partner. Repeat the activity once each month and you’ll start to see positive changes in your s*xual relationship.
“Look, it’s no secret that a relationship can get stale after a while,” said Dr. Cadell. “Just like anything else, if we don’t put effort into creating a great s*x life, it could all be over once the ‘honeymoon phase’ ends.”
The most important ingredient for a lasting, loving relationship is talking to each other honestly, so keep the lines of communication open.