Any marriage, no matter how passionate at the outset, eventually hits a rough patch in the bedroom. The stresses of daily life start to encroach on a couple’s private time and sex can cool down considerably. It happens. And sometimes that phase can stretch out into weeks, a month, or longer.
“Droughts happen for a million different reasons,” says Dr. Claudia Luiz, an award-winning psychoanalyst and author. “You’re not feeling well, you have a chronic back condition, you’re working too hard, there’s children around, you’re sick of your partner, you’re bored. I mean, sexual droughts can’t be avoided and they will come up again and again.”
Just because they happen doesn’t make them easier. Whatever the reasons for the drought, there is hope. Here, then, are a few simple tips that can help bring your sex life back from the dead.
Talk It Out
As Luiz laid out above, sexual dry spells can happen for a variety of different reasons. But whatever the reason, one partner will inevitably interpret the lack of mattress time as a reflection on themselves. This could lead to a gnawing case of the ‘Maybe it’s me?’s “A drought can mean, You don’t want me, you don’t love me, I’m no longer desirable, Maybe there’s something wrong with this marriage,” says Luiz.
In the event of a dry patch, couples need to shine a light on those feelings and examine them. Will it be pleasant? Not always. But bringing everything out into the open and revealing your vulnerability can create a strong bond and help you navigate current and future dry spells. “Whatever your fears, share them,” Rebekah Montgomery, Ph.D., a Boston-based clinical psychologist, urges. “You want the negative emotions to be something that connects the two of you rather than unspoken tension between the two of you.” In short, you can’t get out of the desert if you’re not walking in the same direction.
In the barren sexual wasteland that some call parenthood, it can be easy to see your partner as, well, just a partner. Sure, you split duties and support one another. But it can easily turn into a working relationship. The way to defeat that funk is simple: flirt. “I tell couples to sexualize each other every single day,” Dr. Chris Donaghue, author of Sex Outside The Lines and co-host of CBS’ Loveline with Amber Rose previously told us. This means general affection, romantic notes, handholding — whatever. “Anything that creates a romantic moment,” he said. “The goal is not sex, but eroticism and romance, which sometimes means sex.”
Find a Shared Activity
When things in the bedroom have cooled off, you might need to rekindle the flame with an outside activity. Xanet Pailet, a sex and intimacy coach in San Francisco, suggests that sexless couples might want to consider something that involves intimacy, such as a dancing class. “Getting your bodies reconnected and feeling each other’s rhythm can definitely start to re-kindle desire,” she says. “Just spending time in the close embrace dance position will bring back sensual feelings.”
Realign Your Desire
A dry spell could also be the result of misaligned sex drives. Parenthood makes couples acutely aware that their desires might not match up. One needs to get down on the reg; the other has neither the time or energy for such things. That difference may have always existed, even during the courtship phase. But now, consumed by the stress of parenthood, it’s just more pronounced. Realigning your sex drives can be a bit complicated, but it often requires incorporating new stimuli into your relationship to get that dopamine a-flowin’ and create new opportunities to discuss. Learn more here.
Plan a Getaway (Even if It’s For an Hour)
Speaking of stimuli: New scenery does wonders for a stalled sex life. Whether it’s a week away at a beach resort or a night on the town, a change of scenery can awaken a couple’s dormant feelings. “Getting away from the stress of everyday life, as well as the routines of domestic life, can often serve as a relationship reset button,” says Pailet. “Vacations give us time to relax, enjoy each other’s company, and remember why you chose each other in the first place.” They also give you opportunities to feel like adults who have interests and ideas that make them more than just “mom and dad”.