Sexual dry spells. They happen to the best of us.
Anyone practicing sexual monogamy in a long-term relationship is going to experience periods of time when the sexual juices just aren’t flowing (so to speak). It’s normal. But still, problems with sexual desire can feel really difficult to address.
In general, dry spells don’t tend to improve on their own, so if you are experiencing one, you need to take the bull by the horns and do something.
The good news is, that something may be easier than you think.
Here are 6 suggestions for getting back in the saddle.
- Look within.
It can be really easy to blame the other guy for any and all relationship problems, even sexual ones. Instead, ask yourself: How am I feeling about myself these days? Am I taking good care of myself? Negative self-talk exhaustion, stress, and/or lousy choices with food and exercise can compromise libido big time and keep you from wanting to connect with your partner.
- Name it.
Sometimes all a couple needs is for one person to say what both people are thinking: “Ugh. We are really in a dry spell. I miss us!” Sometimes a dry spell is self-perpetuating and giving voice to the situation might be all it takes to bring back that loving feeling. But be careful. Naming it will not work if you focus on blame. Low sexual desire is a couple problem, not your partner’s problem.
- Shake it up.
Much has been written about the crazy, long hours that we find ourselves working these days. Intimate relationships often pay the price. In order to get out of your dry spell, take some time to experience each other in a setting other than side-by-side watching “Game of Thrones” exhausted at the end of the day. Seeing your partner in a new light can fan the flames of desire. Exercise together, take a cooking class, go out dancing, or head to a hotel overnight.
- Start small.
When I am working in therapy with a couple in a dry spell, we often brainstorm about how to start small. Jumping back into sex can feel really overwhelming. How about slow dancing in the family room? Taking a bath together? Holding hands on a walk? Hugging hello and good-bye? Putting your bodies back in touch, even if it’s not sexual touch and even if it’s not foreplay, can help rebuild intimate connection.
- Spice it up.
Even though like many people I have mixed feelings about pornography, I do support couples who want to use it together, especially when they need a little jump start. Look for websites that feature ethical or feminist porn. One example is After Nine Tonight, a high-quality erotic site designed for married women.
- Just do it.
My mentor, Cheryl Rampage, gives this advice to married people, especially women: “If you partner wants to have sex, and if you can’t think of a really, really good reason not to, go for it. Chances are your body will catch up, and you’ll end up glad you did it!” Sex is kind of like exercise in that way. Even though sometimes it can be a struggle to get started, you’re usually glad you did!
So, there you have it. Suggestions to help you out of your dry spell and into the sack!
Keep in mind also that many, many couples need the support of a couple therapist in order to understand and heal their sexual problems. There is no shame in asking for help. Rather than revealing a couple’s weakness as many fear, hiring a couple therapist is an indicator of commitment and care.