The longer you’re in a relationship, the easier it can be to fall into a routine. If you’ve hit a dull patch in your sex life, that’s perfectly normal, but it’s something you should both work toward overcoming. Below are some tips on how to reignite the flame in your long-term relationship.
Identifying the Problem
If you and your partner aren’t sexually synced up even after years of being together, the first step is figuring out why. Many reasons could be the culprit, so do some internal digging. A good question to start with is: do you know what you want from your sex life? If so, have you told your partner?
If you and your partner know each other’s turn-ons and turn-offs, the problem could be that you’re not getting enough of what you want—or perhaps you’re getting too much. Mismatched libido is a common occurrence, and there are ways to work around it with both partners being satisfied. Opening your relationship is an option, of course. But so are masturbation and compromise. The partner with lower libido can work on improving their arousal levels, and the partner with higher libido can work on not creating pressure around sex for their partner.
Asking for What You Want
Some couples aren’t fully aware of each other’s turn-ons and turn-offs. Perhaps they didn’t advocate for what they wanted in the beginning, and now they feel like it’s too late (which isn’t the case), or maybe they are nervous about facing their partner’s judgment. However, many people are pleasantly surprised by how open their partner is to new things.
If you don’t know what you want to explore with your partner, it’s a good idea to consult a yes/no/maybe list. A yes/no/maybe list contains a long list of sexual activities, and the comprehensive ones include kinkier things like fetishes or BDSM. Going through a list with your partner can help you identify things you’d both like to try.
You can also take inspiration from porn or erotica, but it’s important to find content geared toward your demographic. Much of mainstream porn is geared toward heterosexual, cisgendered males, and if that’s not you, find some directed by or starring people who reflect your gender and sexuality. That will give you a clearer picture of whether you would be interested in it.
Next, you’ll want to find a good time to have the conversation with your partner. Don’t bring up the problems you have with your sex life during sex because it can be hard not to take that personally. Instead, talk about it sometime when you have time for a longer discussion and you both feel like you’re on the same page. Be sure to mention what you love about your sex life, and then focus on what you want more of in the future.
Be Mindful of Your Relationship’s Impact
If your relationship isn’t working, your sex life will likely feel blocked, too. If you have lingering conflicts and outstanding disagreements, they don’t disappear when you get intimate. In fact, you may feel like they come into sharper focus because sex usually involves a component of vulnerability. Emotional safety is essential for people to feel relaxed enough to let go and reach climax. Without that, sex can become a frustrating routine for both of you. For more information on the overlap between sex and intimacy, check out my video below:
Fortunately, resolving issues outside the bedroom can help resolve them inside the bedroom, too.
Getting Back on Track
A trusted therapist can help you reach your goals for your sex life together. Reach out to me for a free consultation today!
Bio: Dr. Nazanin Moali is a clinical psychologist and sex therapist in the Los Angeles area. She works with various individuals to understand and improve their sexuality. Dr. Moali conducts personal consultation sessions in her Torrance and Hermosa Beach offices, or via a secure, online video-counseling platform. Click here to take the sex quiz for women.