If you’ve been living in a sexless relationship for a while, you’re likely burdened with a sense of loss and rejection. Even if other parts of your marriage are holding strong, there’s a loneliness and distance between spouses whose sex life is no longer active. You may wonder if you’ll ever be intimate again. Similarly, you may be at a loss as to how to spice up a sexless relationship. After all, that seems like a daunting, uphill trek.
The good news is that there is almost always a path back to sexual intimacy. I’ve counseled many couples who were able to reignite their sexual spark with a little creativity and therapeutic support. When the old formula no longer works, it’s time to shake things up and find a new approach toward a healthy and fulfilling sex life.
Start With Peak Experience
If you think back to a time when you and your partner had good sex (and a lot of it), what were the circumstances which allowed you to have such an active and fulfilling sex life? It was probably before you had children. But there were likely other factors such as frequent date nights, more free time, and more positive shared experiences. Taken together, this was the “peak experience” of your sex life.
Now consider how you can recreate some of these experiences in your current life. Approximation is key, not replication. You’ll not likely be able to perfectly replicate every circumstance, but you can use various aspects or come up with variations. Adapting peak experiences from your past can open the door to new experiences. And you continue your journey as a couple.
An important note: physical abilities change over time, so you will need to make adjustments and modifications. You may not be able to perform the same sexual acrobatics of your 20’s, but there’s plenty more to explore, try, and enjoy.
Sensory Love Languages
In most new relationships, there’s a myriad of sensory experiences. But this wanes over time, so the trick is to find new ways of reawakening the senses. Think of some new experiences you can share as a couple to touch, taste, and smell your way back to each other. Why not take a dance class together, or sip wine while enjoying a bubble bath?
Part of the work here is to communicate effectively. You and your spouse need to be able to speak openly about sex and desire, how you want to be touched, and what turns each of you on. Figure out a sensory formula which works for both of you and get back in touch with your sensory love languages.
Create Opportunities For Intimacy
There’s just no getting around the fact that you need to make time for intimacy. You need to purposefully create opportunities for sex. This means you must consciously make time for each other by setting up regular date nights, carving time out on your calendar for each other, and treating this precious time as non-negotiable. You may need to find additional backup babysitters and set boundaries at work around your off hours.
Couples usually scoff at the idea of scheduling time for sex and intimacy. It seems forced and unromantic. But if this time is not prioritized, you may end up with a diminished or non-existent sex life. Other priorities have a way of elbowing their way in and demanding your attention. With so many other things in life being scheduled, why not extend it to your sex life? So set up a date, block out time on your family calendar and give yourself the opportunity to enjoy your spouse and let the sexual energy build.
Fantasy And Mystery
For couples who have been together a long time, they may be stuck in the roommate stage of marriage, having run out of sexual fuel altogether. If you feel that you’ve done it all and tried it all, costumes, characters, and play can help spice things up in the bedroom. Get dressed up, go to a bar and pretend to meet each other for the first time. Try flirting as you would with an attractive stranger. The point is to expand your repertoire and get outside your comfort zone. It may feel awkward or funny at first, but stick with it and see if you can benefit from these experiences.
Change Of Scenery
Switching up when and where you have sex can do wonders for your sex life. Where else besides your bed might be worth trying? The living room or kitchen won’t work while the kids are around. So perhaps you can have a little fun once they’re at school. Or, if you can splurge, ask a grandparent to babysit while you and your partner enjoy a night at a hotel. Get creative, come up with a plan together and enjoy the build-up of anticipation.
A lull in passion or desire doesn’t mean it’s the end of the road for your relationship. Maintaining a healthy and active sex life takes time and effort. If you’ve tried to shake things up but haven’t been able to get your sex life back on track, consider getting professional support. A couples therapist can help you clear obstacles standing in the way and help you reignite the spark in your relationship.
There are many counseling options available. Educate yourself and your partner on counseling resources available to you. Also consider whether you would benefit more from traditional therapy or a marriage retreat. Even if you think your marriage is in crisis, it doesn’t mean that it’s over. Almost no one is taught how to have a happy marriage. So before calling it quits, learn and consistently apply the right skills. It is possible to repair your relationship as long as you and your partner are both committed to making it work. If you’re ready to get your marriage back on track, LifeWise couples counseling is here to help every step of the way.