Read on as our relationship columnist explains how maintaining a healthy sex life can strengthen your relationship, improve mood and increase your chances for future happiness.
“It’s not that I don’t want to have sex. It’s just that sex is not even on my radar,” says my client, a 30-something year old mom of two who lives with her husband of five years. These days we, as women, wear so many different hats throughout the day that sex and intimacy tend to keep getting demoted on our list of priorities. It’s really not a matter of not wanting sex, not being attracted to our partner or not being in love with our partner; by the end of the day there is truly nothing left to give. Depletion leads to stress and stress is kryptonite to eroticism.
When sex becomes the last thing on your to-do list it’s a good indication that your relationship has taken a place on the back burner as well. The reasoning behind this is because our relationships and our sex lives have a cyclical relationship. If our relationship become resentful and negative then you don’t have sex. Not having sex causes more resentment and negativity in the relationship, and so on.
We all go through peaks and pits of frequency and quality of sex; this is normal. I work with many women who have recently had children and are breastfeeding. Nine times out of ten they tell me, “I am being pawed at all day long. And it already feels like my body doesn’t belong to me anymore…I don’t want to give my body to anyone else.” This makes sense, and is an absolutely natural and necessary part of the parenting process. Being moms also comes with a whole lot of changes. The result: body image issues. How can we enjoy sex if we can’t stop thinking about how awful we look naked? It is important to remember that we are and always will be our own harshest critic. Our partners can almost always look past any flaws we think we see.
So how do you prevent this stage from wreaking havoc on your relationship? During this time, it is important to facilitate open and honest communication with your partner so that they understand and don’t feel completely isolated and rejected. Situations like these only become problematic if they becomepermanent or if communication with your partner shuts down.
It’s hard to remember why we put ourselves through all of this, but being in a stable, happy relationship is a luxury. Oftentimes we take our partner for granted. Ask yourself, “once all of this craziness settles down, will my relationship still be in tacked? Will this all be worth it?” Hopefully the answer is yes.Beginning to distance yourself for the day-to-day chaos and look at the big picture can help you remember why prioritizing your relationship is so important.
One of the first questions I always ask my clients who are struggling with low interest in sex is, “do you want to want to have sex?” and the answer is almost always a resounding “yes!”. Women’s desire looks a whole lot Women tend to begin to experience sexual desire halfway through the sexual experience. Being open to intimacy with your partner and shifting the goal from orgasm to connection can help us relax and enjoy closeness with our partner. Also, research has shown that the more you have sex the more you want it. This doesn’t mean having sex when you don’t want to, but being open to closeness, cuddling, touch and intimacy. Human beings need physical touch- it reduces stress and increases bonding.
Remember, it’s a marathon, not a race. Putting energy and effort into our relationships (this includes our sex lives) reaps huge rewards. Set time aside, help your partner feel special and allow yourself to receive the love that is being given.