What’s one of the most highly charged personal issues we are facing in our lives that we’re uncomfortable discussing? Sex and marriage over the long haul. We are all curious to know how it compares with other couples’ sex lives but it just doesn’t make great cocktail party talk.
Being married for 36 years myself, I have my own experience to draw from but have also spoken to other couples and done my own research as well. So let’s dig in.
One thing we all agree on is that the initial infatuation and discovery phase at the beginning of a relationship naturally wains over time. Instead of feeling like a failure trying to regain it, it is better to understand the next phase, how it affects our bodies, and offer remedies. so you can continue to enjoy satisfying sex. You may find the next phase provides greater pleasure and more satisfying intimacies t. To understand these let’s first look at the biology of sex.
The Facts About Your Brain on Sex
Biologically, humans want and need to have sex. It’s not in your head – the brain is very involved in the various stages of it. Here are the three main stages your brain goes through.
Having Maintenance Sex is Healthy
After years of having sex with the same partner (i.e. the long haul), sometimes you have sex just to please them. We’ve all been there and it is officially called Maintenance Sex. According to Dr. Brian Jory – a relationship psychologist, maintenance sex essentially is being “not really in the mood but let’s do it anyway,” sex. All good relationships require compromise and usually, this one ends up satisfying both people. He says it’s a good thing because maintenance sex is essential to the success of a long-term relationship for three reasons;
- The biggest problem for most couples is getting in the mood to have sex. However, couples say that although they were reluctant at first, once they made the plunge to have sex it was a positive experience. No one regrets having done it and likely enjoy the outcome.
- Most couples are not synced in their sex drive. So long as both parties are wholly on board, indulging one partner in a romp when one isn’t initially in the mood can be beneficial.
- Better communication about sex to ensure each partner is aware of how the other feels, their preferences and dislikes improves satisfaction. In other words, tell your partner what feels good.
Biological Changes Affect Sex As You Age
So now we know sex and marriage over the long haul changes. The initial volume of sex decreases, it’s not in your head and you need to be open to having it even when you’re not in the mood.
Another challenge to spontaneous and passionate sex comes with life stage changes such as having kids, increased job stress and physical changes in the body. For women, the onset of Menopause is a tough curveball that comes with all sorts of side effects.
Because women’s estrogen levels drop at this stage it causes vaginal dryness and can make penetration quite painful. There are various methods to get around this condition including natural supplements, hormone replacement therapy, lubricants, and the insertable”Estring.” Read about the benefits of Estring here. Figuring out which one is best for you and your partner takes some time and experimentation.
Simultaneously, men’s testosterone levels decrease with age and their sex drive as a result. The penis doesn’t get hard as often and men have a harder time maintaining an erection. Viagra has helped this problem immeasurably. But again, men need to take it at least a half-hour before having sex – also killing spontaneity.
Sex and Marriage Over the Long Haul Can Be Extremely Satisfying
A sexless marriage is defined as having sex less than once per month. It’s an easy pattern to fall into because of the above-described biological challenges.
Getting a bit creative with the type of sex one has, helps to overcome these challenges. Sex doesn’t only include intercourse.
As a couple, open communication to redefine what your sex life looks like will help you overcome the above-described challenges. For example, oral sex and mutual masturbation can be extremely sexy and satisfying. Using objects like vibrators and butt plugs can be quite stimulating as well. Hi-tech vibrators for men and women use heat and motion to increase blood flow to the sexual organs heightening stimulation and orgasm. There is a wide variety of them and you can see some featured here.
It can’t be emphasized enough that couples (though somewhat embarrassing) need to openly discuss their options, fantasies, likes, and dislikes in order to keep sex apriority in a marriage over the long haul.
Most relationship experts agree and my own experience is that if you are in a loving (marriage/partnership) for many years, while the volume of sex decreases over time, love, trust, intimacy, and companionship increase. These bonds are profoundly satisfying to the human psyche, reduce stress, and improve health. And, with a little creativity and effort, you can also enjoy a healthy, extremely satisfying sex life that you may experience as equally arousing as when you first met.