For many of us, sexuality is a major (in some cases, crucial) element to our romantic relationships. But in a long-term relationship, consistent libido between both partners is extremely rare.
When you're with someone for years on end, you're taking on life with them. There are going to be times when you're too stressed or tired for sex, or your partner seems to have lost all interest in making love. Sexuality, like life, has its ups and downs.
If you and your partner are in the middle of a dry spell - or if you, as a single person, are in the midst of one - here's what you need to know about recovering from a sexual slump.
1. Get to the root of the problem
The cultural cliche of the "sexless marriage" is real in many cases, but it's never without reason. In any relationship - monogomous or otherwise - there are always high periods and low periods; the frequency of your sex life is often impacted by these peaks and valleys that life throws our way.
So, before you assume your partner has lost all interest in you, start a conversation about the issue. Yes, it will be uncomfortable, but every relationship relies on your ability to keep the lines of communcation open.
You may find that your partner is longing to be intimate but has been feeling a disconnect from you. They may be feeling self-conscious about something that's dimming their libido. The side-effects of medication may be taking hold. Work or some other issue may be making either of you too stressed or tired to make time for intercourse.
All of these issues are perfectly normal, natural, and almost to be expected. Like we said, no relationship is consistently perfect.
Once you've talked out what might be stopping you from being intimate, start coming up with some solutions, like the ones listed below.
If you're a single individual who hasn't been intimate in some time you may also need to get to root of the issue. Is it that you're afraid to let someone in? Is there something you're afraid of that's holding you back from pursuing sex?
We would also like to mention that there's nothing wrong with discovering that you're not interested in sex because, well, you don't want to have it. Asexuality (defined as the lack of sexual attraction to others, or low/absent interest in or desire for sexual activity) is a very real thing.
It is certainly worth researching this further to determine if you idenitfy with this community or not.
2. Set aside some time to reconnect
This truly starts with the conversation (whether that be with someone or yourself) mentioned above. But it certainly extends further.
Oftentimes, what creates a sexual slump is a lack of connection with your partner. You're going about your separate lives, joined together maybe only by a home or by children.
Take time to get back to why you fell in love. Plan dates, make time for late-night pillow talk, and schedule some time to be intimate; this could mean penciling in time for sex or even just beginning with cuddling, prolonged eye contact, or hand play.
Never feel embarrassed to schedule intimate time with your partner. As you warm back up into a sexual discourse, spontaenous romps may happen - but they certainly won't happen all the time.
3. Consider therapy
Whether this be couples counseling, individual therapy, or sex therapy, there is always something to be gained from talking to a professional. This could be exceedingly important if you and your partner are having a hard time getting to the root of the slump yourself; you may need an educated, unbiased third-party to break down what's preventing your intimacy.
Should you choose to go to therapy, this is likely one of the solutions your counselor will suggest: sexual experimentation.
It sounds a bit harsh, but sometimes the truth behind a sexual slump with a long-term partner is that you're bored. So un-boring sex may be exactly what you need to re-light the flame.
Start with some basic stuff, like roleplaying or dirty talk. Consider bringing toys into the bedroom, playing around with some bondage, watching pornography together, and perhaps even some BDSM (bondage, discipline, dominance and submission, sadomasochism.)
If those things sound a little scary, don't freak out! Start slow until you both begin to discover what rekindles your fire.
5. Get more sleep
More often than not, lack of sexual activity comes from being too tired or too stressed to make time for intimacy. Putting some increased focus on your mental health and getting some more rest may invigorate you and your sex life.
Of course, this may not be an option for everyone...we're looking at you, parents.
6. Keep an open line of communication
We already mentioned this but it bears repeating: the most important thing is to keep communicating with your partner. Accepting a sexual slump as simply "something that happens" and not attempting to talk about it with your partner could create a more permanate riff than the slump itself.
If something has changed in the relationship, like sexual frequency, you owe it to your partner (or, again, to yourself!) to get to the bottom of the issue so you can take steps to fixing the problem.
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