There’s a long-held — and, as it turns out, inaccurate — belief that married couples have less sex than their single counterparts. A breakdown of responses between 2010 - 2016 from The General Social Survey show the majority of married adults, both those with and without children, are having sex at least two or three times per month and as much as four times per week.
But just as individual sex drives have ebbs and flows, the amount of sex married couples have rises and falls throughout the years. This happens for a variety of reasons. Recognizing those lulls and working to improve them can not only lead to more sex, it can also lead to more intimacy in a marriage.
Signs Your Marriage Has Lost Its Spark
You are Not Spending Enough Time Together
Logic says if you’re not together, you’re not able to have sex with your spouse. We get it: work takes you away for hours every weekday, and if you have children, the evenings and weekends are oftentimes spent running between sporting and academic events, birthday parties, and more.
Before you know it, a week has passed. Then two. Then a month. It’s easy to get caught up in the daily grind. Making time to be together just the two of you can seem like too much effort sometimes.
There’s No Physical Touch
The fact you and your spouse aren’t having sex in your marriage might be related to the lack of physical touch between the two of you. When you were first dating, did you hold hands, not just in public, but in private as well? Did you kiss often? When was the last time you and your spouse shared more than a quick peck on the cheek or forehead?
Sex with your partner isn’t the only way to create intimacy, and physical contact in all forms can help to create healthy sexuality in marriage.
You’re Not Trying
A major factor in many sexless marriages is resentment. If you are not feeling supported outside the bedroom by your partner, you’re likely not going to feel supportive and romantic inside the bedroom. That resentment makes it difficult to try to keep things going in your sex life, so it leads to a lost spark in marriage.
You Don’t Have Date Nights Anymore
Be honest: When you started dating your partner, you went out of your way to find time to spend with them and found fun and inventive ways to enjoy that time together. Everything from dinner and a movie to walks on the beach, trips to the zoo, or weekend getaways allowed you to discover more and more about each other.
But now that you’ve been together for a while, scheduling dates has likely taken a back seat to everything else. Not making time to connect one-on-one can easily lead to no intimacy in your marriage.
It’s Time To Rekindle The Spark!
Granted, it might feel like things are too far gone to get that romantic spark back, but recognizing that both people and relationships change and have highs and lows through the years is important. This can be used to your advantage to get back to those levels of intimacy in your marriage.
Avoid playing the blame game with one another. Lower your defenses — you know, that urge to say or think “It’s not my fault!” or “Yeah, but they do this or that and it really makes me mad” – with your spouse so you can put yourselves in the mindset of working together toward the common goal of reigniting that lost spark in marriage.
Ways To Keep The Spark Alive In Your Marriage
Feeling Sexy Can Boost Your Libido
It only makes sense: If you look good, you feel good. But don’t think that is limited only to your clothes or hairstyle. Sure, wearing lingerie or even going commando can give you a sense of confidence and allure, but so can listening to a sexy song and dancing around to it. Engage in activities that make you feel sexy: practicing a strip tease in front of a full length mirror. Examine your body and make a list of what you consider your best physical features and give those areas a little extra self love.
Also, masturbate. It might seem counterintuitive to think reigniting the lost spark in your marriage would include masturbation, but getting yourself to orgasm lets your brain release massive amounts of oxytocin and dopamine. Dopamine is what gives you that “feel good” sensation, while oxytocin is considered the “love hormone.”
According to Medical News Today, oxytocin can also help to regulate anxiety. Plus, masturbation helps you learn about your body and what feels good to you. If you can share that information with your spouse, it can lead to more satisfying sexual experiences together.
Communication Is Key To A Healthy Sex Life
Being able to talk about what turns you on is obviously beneficial, but being able to talk about issues outside of the marital bed can help build trust and intimacy. Having a healthy communication style with your spouse — using nonjudgmental and non-confrontational words and body movements — will have a number of benefits to your relationship. If you communicate in a respectful manner, it makes your partner more open to hearing what you are saying. By avoiding blame or accusations, you can develop a sense of trust between each other.
Creating healthy conversations can also take the guesswork out of issues you need to work on and can develop more of a healthy sexuality in marriage with your partner. If you are upset with your partner over something, talking about it can let you work together to resolve it, as opposed to just giving one another the silent treatment. If you feel you are heard by your partner, it can lift your mood, which in turn can help to improve communication even more. If you feel better and are in a happier mood, sharing that openly can have the same effect on your spouse and even help you feel more in love with one another.
Identify What Makes You Feel Like Having Sex
Do you like when your partner surprises you with nibbles on your neck? Do you enjoy candles and flowers? Does your Spotify include a sexy time playlist of songs guaranteed to get you in the mood? Does your partner doing the dishes and wiping the counters put you into a sexual frenzy? (No? Is that just us?)
If you know what you like, it makes it much easier to let your partner know what you like. If you start taking note of what makes you want to get with your spouse in the biblical sense, you can start working that in your day-to-day routine.
Maybe it’s a deep, romantic kiss, like the ones in the movies. Maybe it’s having help doing the chores so you can relax your brain enough to focus on romance. Maybe it’s you getting the chance to take a nice relaxing bubble bath while your other half puts the kids to bed. Once you know what works, make it work for you and regain that healthy sexuality in marriage.
Make An Effort To Have Sex On A Regular Basis
This one might seem counterintuitive. Sex is supposed to be spontaneous, right? Scheduling sex takes that spontaneity away and make it just one more boring task to check off a to-do list, right? Wrong!
Making an effort to schedule sex means you are making it a priority. You are deliberately choosing to spend time with your partner, which can make them feel appreciated and even more in the mood. But this doesn’t mean there must be penetrative sex. Use this time to explore mutual masturbation, oral sex, new positions.
It won’t be long before you are both looking forward to those special days on the calendar and even having more unplanned and spontaneous sex.
Take Charge! Don’t Wait For Your Partner To Initiate
Rejection can be devastating, so its understandable that if you and your spouse are going through a rough time you might not want to make the first move for sex in case you get turned down. But approaching it from a different angle — think along the lines of nothing ventured, nothing gained — could help soften the blow if things don’t go your way.
Remember that everyone wants to feel good, and little gestures and acts can go a long way. Kiss your spouse good morning and goodnight every day. Pat your partner’s behind as they pass by you in the kitchen. Use your words and flat out ask if they are interested in having sex (but if the answer is no, respect that). If your spouse feels loved, appreciated and desired, and it can end the no intimacy that was present in your marriage.
Try Something New To Spice Things Up
Let your imaginations run wild. But keep in mind that spicing things up doesn’t necessarily mean throwing the entire spice rack into the pot. If you or your partner isn’t ready for all on BDSM sex, try something like a blindfold. Talk about a new position to try together. Go to a hotel room for a few hours just to have distraction-free encounters.
Just be willing to explore. Even little things can be super hot!
Talk Openly and Share Your Sexual Desires
Don’t have the faintest clue where to start adding a little variety? This is where those communication skills come in handy. Use some of your scheduled sexy time to talk about your fantasies. Always dreamt about being tied up? Interested in a little role play? Want to know if your spouse is willing to introduce toys to your lovemaking?
No matter how much we love our partners and how close we are, we are still not mind readers. There’s nothing wrong with being direct about fantasies and desires. Tell your love what you want in a conversation, through dirty talk, writing a letter, or heck, even composing a song! Find the best form of communication that works for the two of you and get to sharing those desires.
Be Adventurous — Life Is An Adventure When You Share It
Remember back to the beginning of your relationship, when you couldn’t imagine spending the rest of your life without your spouse. Now act like that is still the case. Take chances and have fun together. Go explore new cities. Cook new recipes together. Partake in some mutual masturbation while lazing in that hammock in your backyard. It doesn’t always have to be something big and extravagant, but being willing to try and maybe enjoy new things with your partner can really help build a connection and have you looking forward to your next adventure together.
While it’s likely you and your spouse have changed since you first got together, not all of those changes need to be thought of as something bad. You might be new people, but you have so many shared experiences from your time together. Use those connections as the reason for putting in the work to reignite the flames of passion and romance. Remember: Anything worth having is worth working for.