Wouldn’t it be nice if the honeymoon phase in relationships lasted forever? We’ve all been there. A sexual dry spell is rarely enjoyable. Remember: LIFE HAPPENS! It’s completely normal to experience drops in your sex drive. Work stress, familial stress, grief, trauma, and sickness are just a few situations that can impact peoples’ sex lives. Keep reading so you can learn how to have better sex, more often.
Common Reasons for Sexual Dry Spells
Barry and Emily McCarthy conducted a research study and found that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 7 men report inhibited sexual desire. In addition, other results found that in some long term relationships, more than 50 percent of couples experienced inhibited desire or desire discrepancy.
In other words, complications with experiencing desire are the most frequent grievances of couples seeking sex therapy. Below are just some examples of the causes that could be negatively impacting your sex life:
Stress or Having a Busy Lifestyle
It can be quite difficult (and not very sexy in some folks’ opinion) to schedule time for intimacy when they are in a space where they can’t prioritize themselves first. (Remember – you can’t take care of anyone else if you are not taken care of first and foremost).
Declining Physical Health
Physical health is an important part of sexual health. Folks who experience arthritis, diabetes, cancer, surgeries, etc may struggle with finding the energy to be sexual or with feeling sexy in general.
Many folks suffer from low self-esteem. Unfortunately, this can decrease enjoyment and take you out of the present moment during sex.
Side Effects of Medications
Certain side effects of many medications (especially antidepressants) include lowered libido or loss of interest in sex. Speaking with a medical professional can help provide more insight if this is the case.
Not Feeling Emotionally/Physically Close to a Partner
Maybe fear of emotional intimacy is something you struggle with. Speaking with a sex therapist could be a way to best navigate those concerns .
These stressors shouldn’t have to get in the way of being able to experience healthy sexual pleasure. Sometimes, the secret to better sex is simply to just talk about it, whether that be with a friend or a sex therapist.
Building Emotional Connection with Your Partner
Have you ever heard the saying “Nothing worth having comes easy?” This is also true when it comes to your relationships. We all want to have a sense of safety and security in relation to our significant others. Safety can be created by developing emotional connection with them. What does that look like exactly? Some common examples can include:
Being vulnerable – being vulnerable can be difficult for some folks. This can be done by sharing your emotions in the present moment, asking for help, admitting to making mistakes and needing help, and connecting more deeply and emotionally with yourself.
Spending more time together – this doesn’t mean just showing up physically, you must be present mentally and emotionally as well. What can you do to make your partner feel special? Set time aside for them just as you would for work, self-care, and time with friends.
Always maintain curiosity about your partner – we as humans are continuously evolving, changing, and growing. Just as we want to continue to learn about ourselves, we must use that same thought process towards our partner as well. How can you make an effort to better understand your partner?
Being consistent – consistency is key to any relationship. This is also the foundation for trust and security. In other words, if there is consistency, you can trust that your partner will show up for you. You know deep down that when you need your partner, emotionally, physically, sexually, or spiritually, that they will be there.
Have your partner’s best interest in mind – building trust means standing together through the tough times.
Be genuine – don’t be surface level or pretend like you’re doing your partner a favor in asking them questions or being present. Realize that you are not just living in your own world, but you’re sharing the world of another.
These are just a few ideas on how to improve intimacy within your relationship. Remember though, that each person and relationship is different. Strike up a conversation with your loved one(s) and ask their opinion!
A Few Tips to Spice Up Your Sex Life
Research shows that during the first year of a relationship, satisfaction rates increase. However, after that first year or two, satisfaction rates slowly decline. This can be prevented! You can always create a new, fun narrative for yourself and your relationship. What does this mean exactly?
Our interests change as we grow and age. This also pertains to our sexual interests. There seems to be a continuous theme here, which is to stay curious! This goes not just for your interests about your partner, but about yourself. Exploration is the fun part. Below are some ways you might try to enhance your sex life.
Try new positions – By switching up positions, you can explore different erogenous zones and potentially find a new way to reach orgasm.
Get help for dysfunctions when they arise – Check with your gynecologist, urologist, primary care doctors, or sex therapists to see if there are any medical or psychological interventions or medications to help you navigate these obstacles.
Think about inviting kink into your relationship – Rule of thumb: as long as everything is consensual between enthusiastically consenting adults, all sex is normal. Check out Modern Intimacy’s yes/no/maybe list, created as a means to start a conversation about this exact topic.
Play sex-related bedroom games – There are many different types of fun card games/board games, etc to bring into your relationship for a fun date night. Try and surprise your partner with sexy lingerie or sex toys to add a little something fun into the mix. Sex toys can help close the orgasm gap between men and women and provide new forms of stimulation.
COMMUNICATE – Communication is so important. Both in and out of the bedroom. Advocating for your own needs, wants, and desires can go a long way.
In learning about yourself, ensure that you are minimizing the stigma, shame, and guilt that can potentially accompany discussing sexuality. Give yourself permission to know that sex and wanting pleasure is completely normal. For example: “I deserve good sex!”
Dry spells are called spells for a reason – they won’t last forever. Most people expect intimacy to come easily with someone they love and care about. Although that would be nice, the truth is, it takes a great deal of effort. But think about it, doesn’t that just make enjoying time with your partner(s) so much more worthwhile?