Yes, a healthy marriage should not be contingent upon sex. But let’s face it; it’s a major factor. Multiple studies and polls suggest sex plays a role in keeping a marriage together or breaking it up. So whenever couples have conflicting libidos (meaning one person wants to have sex more than the other), it can put a strain on couples and lead to a tense marital environment.
“I think this is a problem that every long-term relationship comes to,” says Wendy Strgar, founder of Good Clean Love, which promotes sexual health through products such as organic lubricants, vaginal cleansers and oils. “Being rejected or rejecting your spouse is equally upsetting.”
One of the primary ways for couples to maintain their closeness is through their physical connections. Yet, we women are often the ones who experience the drop in libido. While we often chalk that up to natural gender differences, Strgar challenges couples to do more to investigate why and how they can create more physical intimacy in their marriages. Here’s her advice on where to start:
Discover Your Desire
We think what’s wrong with us if we don’t have the desire. [But] desire cannot be the leader [when it comes to sparking sex].
At the early relationship stages, there’s a mutual craving for intimacy. When things are fresh, that innate animalistic desire to mate was once enough to drive intimacy. Yet, in long-term relationships and marriages, Strgar says women in particular need more stimulation to wake up those inner desires.
For men, just seeing their wife in a new, sexy pair of underwear might do the trick. Yet, for women, more emotional stimulation may be needed to trigger arousal. Though it may sound like the antithesis of sexy, Strgar says, some women find it sexually attractive when their spouses help out around the house or demonstrate acts of love with support.
Furthermore, if you’re leaving desire to chance, you’ll likely never find arousing moments in between a schedule of kids, careers and busy life moments. Whether it’s sexually suggestive conversation, a day of connectedness through household chores or seeing your partner in that one particular outfit, find out what turns you on; and seek out that desire time and time again.
Find Out What Makes You Feel Sexy
I think there are a lot of women who think a man should make them feel sexy; find your own sexy.
The chick magazines make a big deal about being a generous and selfless lover in order to satisfy your mans physical needs. But research suggests women’s sexual desires are more self-centered in nature. In other words, females need to feel sexy themselves. Women need to feel that they are the objects of a man’s lust (Furthermore, women respond more to the idea of a man’s desire to sexual satisfy her than the other way around).
So yes, husbands should amp up the compliments to make their wives feel desired. But with that said, a husband can flatter his wife all he wants, but the woman is ultimately responsible for whether or not she feels sexy. Therefore, women must do things to make themselves feel sexy. So hit the lingerie store, the hair salon, the gym or wherever you think you need to go to bring your sexy back.
Don’t Forget the Pre-Game Warm-Up
Start the arousal system turning; but it takes time and attention.
Again, life can get busy. So when it comes to sex, is it a cut to the chase kind of scenario? If so, you’re only hurting yourself (and probably literally). When a woman is not aroused prior to penetration, sex can be painful and distracted. And if vaginal abrasions occur as a result, then discomfort can last long after sex, which will compound your non-interest in future sexual encounters with your mate. But the solution, according to Strgar, isn’t just to purchase a lubricant (though it may help; it won’t solve your problem, she warns). She says couples need to invest more time in four-play.
Couples should discover each other’s arousal mechanisms—utilizing scents, touching, flirty conversation and other tactics and incorporating them into four-play. And when the act is underway, don’t rush that either (hello?). She says once you have more fulfilling sexual experiences, you’ll remember that you do like sex and you do have a sex drive after all.
Rule Out Health Problems
If you don’t have any natural lubrication because you just had a baby, that can contribute to little tears and pain with sex. There are so many reasons why our natural lubrication falls off.
Of course, health and body issues can contribute to your lack of desire. Sickness, depression, medication, menopause, obesity, stress and even fatigue can all affect your sexual desire. Furthermore, common issues such as vaginal dryness, vaginal odors and vaginal infections can also turn you off from wanting to engage in sex acts with your partner.
Consult with your physician about your health symptoms and their affects on your libido. Additionally, try out these everyday tips to promote better vaginal conditions:
- Don’t use harsh chemicals on your genitals
- Make your husband wash before sex
- Watch your intake of sugar and process foods
- Wear breathable underwear
- Exercise more (which can also boost libido)
- Use a vaginal moisturizer and/or lubricant when necessary
- Avoid things that could alter your natural pH, such as douching, semen and prolonged tampon use.
Rule Out Your Spouse
For women, they need to feel connected before they have sex. And men really learn about their connection from having sex. So it’s a double bind of who gives what first.
Obviously if you’re in a bad place emotionally with your husband, you’re not going to want to have sex with him. You’ll have to work to resolve on whatever issues you have, so you can repair that closeness. Referring back to our “Discover your Desire” subhead, arousal is more internal for women, so it’s hard think about sex with your partner when hurt, rage or disappointment are preoccupying your thoughts.
Your emotional connection and physical connection are contingent upon each other. Whether you open up the floor for communication or seek professional counseling, work with your spouse to repair your bond in all aspects of your relationship.
So in recap: Don’t just wait for moments of desire to come to you because you likely won’t be aroused as easily as you used to when your relationship was new. Take it upon yourself to understand what makes you tick in the desire department and what makes you feel sexy. As a couple, you should get to know your arousal mechanisms and invest more time in those mechanisms prior to sex. And lastly, address other factors, such as health and your relationship status. Now practice makes perfect, so get to work, work, work, work work (RiRi voice).
BMWK, have you brought your sex drive back to life? Tell us how?