Let’s Talk About it – Sex and Intimacy in a long-term relationship.
A while ago there was a thread in Mum to Mum all about how someone had lost their sex drive and how to approach it within their relationship. Lots of comments came through so we could see it was something our members had a view on.
One thing struck out for me in these comments – the common thread of women not feeling as though sex stayed on the cards and how it was communicated about in these cases within their relationship.
There was almost a feeling that some women – ‘gave in’ every so often just to keep the peace, but also on the flip side that there was an expectation that their partners should expect sex to go off the boil, so as to speak, as the relationship went on and in particular when they started to have a family, get older, go through the menopause, in fact a whole host of reasons.
As a therapist who works with women in the area of relationships – with themselves and with others, I will admit some of the comments made me want to say. Well shout. – ‘No – Wait Stop … it does not have to be like this’!. So, let’s take a look at this common challenge but one that is often not talked about enough!
A few things to keep in mind –
1. For most couples, sex was on the cards in the beginning. It was often what kept you excited about the relationship and was a part of who you were as a couple in those early days.
2. Sex plays an important part in the overall communication of a relationship when this is the case and whilst the relationship changes and evolves and becomes more than that – there is no reason to think that it doesn’t stay important to either partner.
Yes, women can go through periods of their life when they just aren’t feeling it – starting a family can wreak havoc on your body and your hormones and you don’t get any time and you can’t sleep, etc… no one is expecting you to feel like swinging from the chandeliers then. – and often your partner feels the same BTW.
Menopause and perimenopause ( the actual longest part of this process which can start at different stages for women) can also lead to a change in how you feel about being intimate with a loss of libido and discomfort physically in some cases
Finally, changes in body shape can lead to you feeling less sure of yourself …
But – it’s so important to remember that there are two of you in the relationship and so communication is vital. Staying connected with your partner is so much more than the act of sex itself but when it gets relegated to something you ‘ give in to’ every so often just to keep them quiet – sit back and think about how you would feel if your partner was describing you in this way.
No one should engage in intimacy based on this approach – if you do feel coerced – that’s a whole different conversation and blog – which will be coming along in the future – but for those of this you are in healthy loving relationships it’s got to be about both of you and you need to talk about it… and you need to find solutions which work for you both and may need compromise on both sides. Simply expecting it to no longer happen or ignoring it and hoping it will go away just leads to resentment for both parties and in some relationships leads to temptation (no I am not condoning it but honestly it can be a factor and it’s important to be open about this).
1. Be honest with yourself about what is holding you back.
2. Find time to sit and talk to your partner about it – make it clear you are not placing blame but simply discussing how you feel and ask your partner to be honest in return.
3. Once you have done this you can look for solutions… perhaps spending time together without the pressure of expecting sex – dating all over again can be exciting.
4. Agreeing times when you will get together outside of your normal routine. Showing each other affection without it leading it sex is a great way to rebuild that bond – holding hands, sitting with each other in the evening, cuddling often throughout the day again with there needing to be anything else.
5. Remembering together how you used to feel about each other and getting reconnected to those people rather than focusing on what is not working now.
It might take time and it might initially feel difficult but it’s important to work through this if you want things to change.
The fact is we all have a choice – and if sex was a part of your relationship there is no reason to expect it to stop – yes old people can do it to!
I find that the biggest block to a relationship is not whether sex is on the cards or not but it’s the lack of communication about it that causes the frustration.
Of course, if you really don’t want to have sex anymore or be intimate with your partner – that is your absolute choice. Then they and you will need to decide what that means for the relationship as a whole – because it may not work for them and that is absolutely their choice to make as well. In any case – just get talking about it!
Award Winning Psycho spiritual – Self Esteem Therapist and Coach – Author of ReconnectYourLife.
National Coach Finalist & Spiritual Celebrant.
Building a Healthy Relationship with Yourself, Your World and Your Future.
Ali Moore @ https://www.bemoore.uk/