Sometimes a growing bond can be beneficial for intimacy, but in other cases after the honeymoon period passes, the frequency of bedroom antics can decline and you might find yourself in a ‘sexless marriage’.
One Reddit user summed up this quandary perfectly when he asked other internet users for help with his “mundane” sex life with his wife, saying: “I’m deeply unsatisfied. I’m 32. It’s weird to think that this will probably be what sex is like for the rest of my life.”
Whether this is because of environmental factors (stress, work, children) or something more fundamental in your relationship, there are ways to deal with this, so HuffPost UK asked the experts what you can do to revive your sex life.
1. Talk about it as a problem for both of you, not just one of you.
When it comes to matters in the bedroom, it can sometimes be awkward to bring up if you’re feeling unsatisfied, especially if you really love and care about your partner and don’t want to hurt their feelings.
But Cate Campbell, author of the Relate Guide to Sex and Intimacy, told HuffPost UK that the first step is dealing with it together, rather than alone, saying: “Treat any sexual issues as a couple problem rather than the responsibility of only one of you.”
So make sure you are openly communicating.
2. Give your partner a chance to hear what you’re thinking.
It might seem totally obvious to you that your partner is the cause of your bedroom strife, or that your sex life is disappearing faster than you can imagine, but unless you vocalise your problems (no sex, not enough sex, bad sex) you can’t expect them to necessarily be on the same page as you.
Campbell said: “Don’t blame your partner if things don’t go perfectly to plan.”
And because true satisfaction is likely to comes with giving away sexual control, you must be willing to let “your partner make you feel good” rather than presuming it won’t change.
3. Make time for sex, even if it doesn’t feel spontaneous.
One of the biggest problems many couples face is wanting sex to be as spontaneous and lustful as it was when you first got together, but with busy schedules, childcare and feeling tired, expecting it to happen naturally might be asking a lot.
“Finding the time for lovemaking is a constant challenge which couples need to address realistically. It may be something that you have to sit down and plan, or you may need to experiment with different times to find out what works,” said Campbell.
4. Take small steps in the right direction as positive progress.
Addressing what feels like a huge problem in your relationship (and likely one that has built up over a period of time) isn’t going to happen overnight.
So instead of becoming frustrated with the state of play, take small steps and see all progress as a win, Campbell said: “Respond to intimacy positively, but don’t feel you must be sexual if you don’t want to be.”
And don’t forget, intimate behaviour also releases oxytocin in the body, which is the same feel-good hormone you get from an orgasm.
5. Reject feelings of disappointment if you don’t get sex every time.
If you are going through a dry spell it can be tempting to want to rush into full intercourse every time you get a moment alone together, but Campbell suggests that enjoying kisses and cuddles can be another way to reignite the spark (or keep it alive when you’re time pressured).
“If you go on a date night agree beforehand that the evening will end with a lovely kiss and the pair of you snuggling up in bed together, you are far less likely to be disappointed. It is always possible that the kiss and cuddle could turn into something more,” she said.
6. Stop comparing marriage to the early days.
Obviously this doesn’t mean you have to resign yourself to a sexless marriage, but also don’t delude yourself by expecting it to be the same as it was at the very beginning as your current partnership will inevitably be different to the first few months of your relationship, for better and for worse.