Lucy and Chris roll off each other, sighing with pleasure and feeling like a weight has been lifted from their shoulders. They embrace and kiss each other goodnight before falling into contented sleep.
Angela rolls away to face the wall as Mack gets into bed. They don’t touch or speak and lay awake in an uneasy silence until eventually they drift off into a restless sleep.
Has your sex life (or lack of) started to mimic Angela and Mack’s?
When we are having problems in our relationship, or are feeling a lot of stress from problems in our personal or work lives, our sex life usually takes a hit.
And hey, it’s natural for sex to be the last thing you feel like doing after you’ve just had another bitter argument with your spouse, or are feeling a lack of their support.
Unfortunately, lack of sex can not only be a result of other relationship problems, it can also become a problem in itself.
Sex fulfills some deep emotional needs, and going without it for some time can leave your love bank empty and desperate for attention.
Sex works to increase closeness between a couple not only on a physical level, but also at a mental level.
When you make love, chemicals called oxytoxin and serotonin are released in your brain, which increase loving feelings, give you that wondrous release from stress and make you feel on top of the world.
When you are maintaining a fulfilling sex life, relationship problems seem less threatening and it is easier to work through these as a team.
This is because through making love you make significant deposits into each other’s emotional bank accounts, giving you the energy and strength you need to be able to face any stressful relationship or life problems.
Unfortunately, it is easy to fall into a negative loop where the more you and your spouse fight and withdraw from one another, the less you have sex, the more unwanted and neglected you feel, and the more likely you are to keep hurting each other as a result.
When a relationship problem is dwindling your sexual desire…
Sex is an important way of expressing your love, and when it’s not happening, chances are you and your spouse are going to be feeling quite distant from each other.
This is why it’s so important to identify the reasons behind any lack of sexual desire, especially if it is due to one of your emotional needs not being fulfilled.
You need to let your spouse know what you need from them in order to feel desire for sex again. Chances are, they are going to be very motivated to work on whatever needs fixing in order to make you feel loved.
But if you deny them sex without letting them know what is really going on, they are going to feel intense pain and rejection, and may put up a defensive wall as a result.
Sex is a sensitive matter, and being rejected without knowing the reason behind it can make someone feel really insecure, undesirable and unwanted.
If your spouse has hurt or offended you in some way, you need to communicate this to them. This way, they will understand that your lack of interest in sex right now is not because you’re not attracted to them, it’s because you’re feeling a lack of love and appreciation.
As an example, studies have consistently shown that married couples have a more satisfying sex life when they share the housework evenly. In particular, wives can show significant increases or declines in their desire for sex depending on their husband’s willingness to pitch in at home.
Why is shared housework so important for women’s desire? Because when husbands help out, their wives feel supported and loved, which increases their desire for intimacy.
of course, in a practical sense, less time doing housework means more time and energy to spend between the sheets.
When there are differences in your sex drive…
If your spouse has a lower sex drive than you, you need to respect this and accept that you may not have sex quite as often as you would like. Often, it is the case that wives report having a lower sex drive than their husbands (although it can be the other way around, of course).
if you are the spouse with the lower sex drive, you do need to also respect your spouse’s sexual needs. If possible, you should try to make sex a higher priority in your day-to-day life, and let your spouse know if there is anything they can do to help to fuel your desire.
It’s also important that you are able to openly discuss the topic of masturbation in your marriage, especially if there are differences in your sex drive. For instance, letting each other know that you are supportive of masturbation if only one of you happens to be in the mood for sex.
This can help to make each person feel that their sexual needs are being supported and understood, relieve pressure on the person who has a lower sex drive, and reduce any feelings of guilt around masturbation for the person with the higher sex drive.
It’s also important to make sure that when you ARE both in the mood for sex you really make the most of it, so it is exciting and fulfilling for both of you. The quality of the love-making can mean a lot more than the quantity.
In fact, having sex without showing any enjoyment of it can knock your spouse’s self-esteem just as much as saying no to sex.
And if you are finding that there are practical issues holding you back from feeling in the mood for sex, such as too many chores to get done, childcare, or general fatigue, let your spouse know what you are struggling with, so that they can find ways to help.
When the sex isn’t as good as you want it to be…
Don't let the topic of sex go untalked about because it’s too hard to bring up. At the end of the day, improving your sex life is only going to be beneficial for your relationship.
It’s important that you and your spouse feel safe and comfortable enough to express your sexual desires to one another, without the fear of being judged. Both of you need to be prepared to respect each other’s wants and needs, and the fact that these may differ from your own.
Once you’ve been able to openly discuss these desires with one another, you will be in a good position to come up with a plan of how to best meet each other’s needs, without either of you feeling uncomfortable. Just be very gentle with each other, as egos may be on the line.
Remember, the goal of sex is to maintain intimacy and closeness, have fun, and feel satisfied and valued. As it is such a sensitive area of your marriage, be sure to avoid ever criticizing your spouse for their sexual desires or performance.
It’s always going to be more effective to show your spouse praise and appreciation for something you do enjoy them doing, rather than complaining about something they are not doing.
For instance, saying “I love it when you hugged me in the kitchen the other day. I’d love more of your hugs and kisses like that, it makes me feel so good”, rather than “You barely ever touch me outside of the bedroom”.
Rather than taking offence to any of your spouse’s sexual requests, try to think of these as your spouse reaching out and trying to connect with you. By expressing their desires, they are giving you a key to what makes them feel loved and fulfilled.
If you feel you can meet your spouse’s requests, or do at least want to give them a try, go for it – this will go a long way in making your spouse feel valued and loved.
Of course, if there’s anything you really don’t feel comfortable with, this is totally okay. Just be sure to let your spouse know gently that although you respect their sexual desires, you do not feel comfortable engaging in this particular act, or it does not feel good for you.
Your spouse should respect your wishes, and appreciate the fact that you at least considered their sexual desires. And I’m sure that there are plenty of other ways in which they can still feel satisfied and fulfilled in your sex life.
When you don’t feel attractive, you don’t feel sexy
Physical attraction is a key element fuelling sexual desire, and it is important to try your best to maintain your health, hygiene and appearance.
Looking your best will not only make you feel good, it can have great effects on your relationship and your sex life. Your spouse will really appreciate the effort you put into looking after yourself and wanting to be sexually desirable to them.
Think about the signals you are sending your spouse through the way you present yourself.
If you have bad breath, haven’t bothered to brush your hair, and are wearing an old faded t-shirt with stains down the front, do you think this is saying to your spouse “I want to have sex?” I don’t think so.
you feel that you need to make some changes to your lifestyle in order to become more healthy, don’t be scared to admit this to your spouse. They will probably be highly supportive of you, and together you can work out a plan to allow more time for exercise and cooking healthier meals.
Even if your husband or wife is struggling with an aspect of their appearance such as excess weight, it is important that you still give them regular compliments on their physical attributes you do find attractive and sexy.
Because often a lot of the way we feel about ourselves comes from how we are viewed in our spouse’s eyes. And when we feel that our spouse finds us attractive, we feel sexy.
To spice things up and really show your spouse that you care, why not try buying some new lingerie or underwear to wear in the bedroom, or a new fragrance? Or better yet, buying some scented massage oil to pay them some special attention?
If things have got a bit tedious in the bedroom, giving your spouse a sexy surprise such as new alluring lingerie will be an instant turn-on, and could be the key to giving your sex life the boost it needs.