Sometimes you want a little somethin’ and other times you just don’t. Right? I mean, you know what I’m talking about, don’t you? A roll in the hay. The horizontal mamba. Having relations. That’s right – sex. So, now that you definitely know what I’m talking about…I’m right, aren’t I? Sometimes you’re in the mood. Other times you’re not. Or your partner’s not. Or one of the kids has a bad dream and your husband falls asleep before you get back from tucking her back in. It all boils down to life, doesn’t it? And it happens to all couples. Still, though, there are some questions out there – maybe you have some – about these dry spells. Let’s put them out there and grapple with them together.
How long is “normal” for a drought to go on? What might bring on a dry spell for a couple that has always enjoyed a mutually satisfying sexual relationship? And why is talking about sex something that still makes people look around to see who might notice? Good questions – thanks for asking!
Let’s start with the third…
I don’t know! I don’t know why people are nervous to share their experiences and concerns. I don’t know why it’s hard to open up to someone we love. But it can be. So, here are some ideas that might make it easier for you and/or your partner.
- Try talking in the dark. When you’re cozy in bed, isn’t that when everything you’re worried about pops into your mind, anyway? So why not use this opportunity to share your stresses with your spouse? Then no one can see you blush or the tears fall down your cheeks.
- Hold hands until the conversation is done. This can be hard if the talk is at all tense, but if you’re talking to someone you love, and who loves you, about physical intimacy sharing this direct contact can serve as a nice reminder of that love. You do care about each other. You can get through this.
- Be honest and respectful. Try to express your feelings and talk about your experiences not what you think the other person shoulda, coulda, didn’t.
- If you can directly let your lover know what you’d like to be different, be open to compromise. I feel like this one could use an example. Let’s say you’re feeling uncertain about whether you’re attractive to your partner or not and you’d like for him or her to reassure you. Together, brainstorm all the ways this could be done. You might be thinking that you’d really like for your husband to start something hot and steamy, but maybe he’s not there for some reason – maybe he doesn’t even know why. But maybe he can give you a massage, tell you you’re beautiful with words, write you a letter telling you how much you mean to him, pledge to touch you more often nonsexually, or take a shower with you. And I bet the two of you can come up with even more ideas. No one knows your relationship better than you!
So, now you’re ready to talk about sex and the lack of it, right? Good! Then let’s go back to the first question. What is “normal”? How long will a sexual drought normally last? When should you worry? I’m going to treat these as all parts of the same question based on the fact that they have a similar answer. If both people in a sexual relationship are content with the frequency and style of relations, then that’s their normal and it’s perfectly awesome. If one is happy and the other is not, or both members of the relationship are unhappy, then I think it’s time to work on things.
How do you know if your partner is unhappy? How does she know if you are? Don’t assume it’s obvious. Tell them. Go back to the outlined communication ideas, if you need to, and talk to your man. Sit down with your woman. Even if it’s just to say, “I know we’re not doin’ it like bunnies like we used to, but I just wanted to check in with you about that. Are you ok with our less frequent romps?” They’ll answer you and you’ll know. They’re content and so are you. They’re not content and neither are you. They’re not content and you are. You’re content but they’re not. Those are the only outcomes and no matter which it is, you’ve now got a starting place to move forward from.
I think it’s worth repeating – if you are both okay with the quantity and quality of your bedroom bonding, then there’s nothing to worry about. Don’t compare yourself to the magazine in the checkout lane. Don’t compare yourself to your girlfriends. It doesn’t matter if you’re having sex nightly or monthly or only on three day weekends. If you’re both okay with it, then it’s okay.
What about the other outcomes? Assuming you have and/or want a healthy marriage, you now know that you’ve got something that needs attention in your relationship. There are several angles you can come at this struggle from. I feel like talking about these approaches will lead us into the question I haven’t addressed yet. So, let’s go there first.
What are some possible causes for having less sex? Off the top of my head – stress (home or work, imaginary or real, positive or negative), kids, being tired, side effects of medication, physical or mental health concerns. I’m sure there’s more too. If one or both of you are dealing with any of these things, you’re likely dealing with more than one…and the more you heap on, the more likely “extras” like intercourse will go by the wayside. Other things like nightly walks, eating or cooking together, or Sunday family days might also get cut at certain times in our lives, but if we notice we usually give that up to the fact that we’re living the seasons of life. But when it comes to physical closeness, couples often wonder if they’re on a road that leads somewhere awful. Give yourself a break, okay? Life isn’t a straight line. There are ups and downs in any area you want to talk about – parenting, partnering, careers…sex too.
So, what are some of the approaches you can take to help work toward improving your sex life if you and/or your partner wants more or different? In no particular order…
- Make an appointment with your family physician. Several possible issues can be helped via the medical field, including but not limited to lack of lubrication for a woman, the inability to have an erection for a man, reduced desire, or headaches during orgasm. Not only is there the option of getting medication or other suggestions from your doctor, he or she can also rule out problems as well.
- Find a therapist. A marriage or individual counselor can help you work through depression, life changes, parenting struggles, past abuse, etc. And any or all of these things could result in reduced desire or other difficulties in the sex department. I’d also like to note that couples often don’t think they need therapy until they’re debating divorce, but going in when a struggle is first felt can be a hugely beneficial step. Having a person outside the marriage look at the situation and give you both a voice can help you see things you might be too close to realize otherwise. Consider talking with religious leaders or attending retreats as well.
- Find ways to reduce stress in other areas of your life. I know, I know, this is easier said than done. Some options to try might be yoga, meditation, morning or lunch time walks, even mindless video games. The trick to all of these is not to give all your time to them. If you spend all your time playing Candy Crush or the latest Call of Duty, then you might be neglecting other areas of your life, which likely means additional stress instead of less. I’d say ten minutes to half an hour a day on any one of these things is sufficient to give you brain a rest from the stress it’s under.
- Take time together that isn’t about sex. Take walks together. If you have errands to run, wait until after dinner and go together. Put down your laptops, smart phones, game controllers, and play a card game cuddle up and watch a movie.
- Schedule a booty call. Yup, you read me right. Put it on your calendar for Saturday night. Don’t worry about it the rest of the week. Give yourself permission to let that slip so you can relax into bed at the end of the long days. And give yourself something to look forward to that will truly help you wind down from the long week. And it doesn’t have to be Saturday or even weekly. You schedule it whenever is right for you!
- Step outside the box without pushing yourselves too far outsides of your comfort zones. This idea is wide open! It could mean having sex in the morning instead of at night. It could mean adding a flavored lubricant to your standard bag of tricks. Maybe a little lingerie, or a few candles, or music can set the mood in a different way. So many options to change it up.
- (I can’t believe I forgot this in the first run of this post!) “Just keep kissing.” My grandparents had been married more than half a century when my husband and I got married and that was their advice to us. It’s really hard to argue when you’re lips are locked. And have you ever just kissed for five or ten minutes? It’s hot. It’s bonding. And it can be highly intimate without any pressure to go further in any way.
So, what do you think about all that? Have I given you some answers to questions you’ve been pondering? Have you thought of more? It’s okay – I’ll talk about sex all day long! So, send me a comment with anything you’d like me to address. I have to approve the comments, so if you want to remain anonymous, just say so and you will! But I’ll address your questions here as our questions because if you are wondering about something chances are good that someone else is struggling with that too.
In the meantime, I hope you and your lover find just the right thing that sets your mood up right! Here’s to sexual success – cheers!