It’s all over the news—there’s an epidemic infecting long-term intimate connections. Partners still love each other, but they’ve lost that erotic charge.
Sexless marriages are apparently commonplace. I hear the moans (not the good kind!) all the time in my classes and practice. “The honeymoon is over.” “I used to be so hot for her.” “We never have sex anymore!”
Where does it go? Why is it that the most burning passionate relationships fade to a warm glow? Does monogamy inevitably lead to monotony and from there to sexual indifference? The fact is that the biochemicals of in-loveness, that simmering pheromonal soup of sexiness, does indeed diminish over time. Across cultures, the average time that a couple stays together is only four years, just when that complex and heady perfume of lust and its chemical underpinnings fades away.
It’s just reality—familiarity leads to feeling like, well, family—and we’re biologically programmed to not want to have hot steamy sex (or any sex at all, for that matter) with our family members.
While it’s definitely natural for desire to wane, we do have the power to keep the flame burning if we know how to stoke the fire. So what’s a couple to do if they want to stay together and sustain a state of loving lusty heat with each other?
Personally, I believe that great sex is the glue and the lubricant of long-term relationships. So, to battle the forces of boredom and combat the spreading tide of lustlessness, here are five tips to sending that sizzle arcing between you again:
The First Kiss of Adam and Eve by Salvador Viniegra, 1891
1. Hot, wet, kisses! No kidding. Cut out that dry peck of a kiss as you go off to work. Forget about that quick cool little lip press that you could just as easily give your mother. Really deeply kiss each other. It doesn’t have to take long, but a minute (yes, a whole minute) of soft, wet, slippery lips and tongues is an instant antidote to feeling like family. When we taste each other, we’re sharing and stirring the chemical stew of seduction and putting the burner on simmer for later feasting. I recommend a minimum daily dose of 5—10 seriously steamy kisses per day.
2. Eyes to eyes. Think of new lovers and how they devour each other with their eyes. Long, soulful looks pass between them, as they shine that love-light into each other’s eyes, which connect directly to their hearts. Prescription: act like lovers, look at each other the way lovers do and you’ll fire up that ‘you’re so yummy, I can’t take my eyes off of you’ energy.
3. Go to bed early. Turn off the TV, the computer and the phones and go get in bed! Make an intimacy date to snuggle and talk, to pet and play. It’s okay if you’re tired. Make the date about connecting, without the pressure or expectation of sex. Just make time to touch and be in physical contact, to unwind and share. Sometimes it will lead to sex, sometimes not. That’s alright. Just make the time to be in your bodies together, and good stuff will come out of it. Turn the outside world off, and you’ll create space to turn on to each other. Recommended dose: at least once a week, and more is definitely better!
4. Have play dates. Laughing leads to sex. Smiles warm the cockles of the heart (and elsewhere). I don’t know where I got the idea when I was younger that sex is serious business, but it’s also about fun, play and creativity. Toys and props are good, but nothing beats the power of your own imagination and inventiveness. (What if I slather this there and rub that on this?) Make up games. (I’ll show you mine if you show me yours!) Play pretend (pirates anyone?). Remember, it’s sex play, not sex work! Joy really is the best medicine in the bedroom, so giggle, tickle, wrestle and romp and you’ll be sure to have your minimum daily requirement of sexy fun.
5. Breathe together. Breath is one of our most basic tools for connecting with ourselves and others. When we breathe together, we entrain all the rhythms of our bodies. When we play with exchanging breath, we fire up our erotic energy. There’s no one right way to us to breathe, so feel free to make this a game to explore and experiment with. Slow down and let your breathing relax you and help you tune in to yourself and your partner. Or speed up and allow your breathing to pull you into deeper arousal. Encourage each other not to hold your breath, but to keep it moving as you ride the arousal and orgasmic waves. My best medical advice: practice conscious expanded active breathing often. Do it alone. Do it together. Do it with love. Do it often to get a healthy erotic flame flowing freely between you.
If the embers of your relationship are going out, now is the time to stir the coals, add some fuel and get the blaze burning again. Let’s end that insidious epidemic of sexless relationships and show those newlyweds that old fires can blaze even hotter than new ones!