(Q) My husband and I used to have a very passionate relationship. But now we’ve been together for nearly five years and our sex life has cooled. We average sex three to five times a month (it used to be three to five times a week). We don’t have kids, which I hear kills one’s sex life; it just seems like the excitement is gone. I’ve committed to this man and we’re only in our early 30s. Am I complaining unnecessarily? What is normal?
(A) “How often is normal?” is the most frequently asked question I hear as a sexologist. Australian national research indicates that the average is 1.8 times a week, but don’t get hung up on statistics. It’s natural for our sex drives to fluctuate and some of the biggest killers of libido have nothing to do with being parents – such as stress, fatigue, anxiety, illness and feeling disconnected from our partner. But even in the absence of any of these factors, it is still natural for libido to go up and down, and very common for passion to change. When a couple first get together, their bodies are flooded with biochemicals designed to attract, mate and bond. One of these primary love chemicals is PEA, or phenylethylamine. PEA is responsible in part for those excited feelings you get when you look at your partner across a crowded room and your knees go weak. That falling in love and lust stage, driven by PEA, only lasts for around 18 months, then a normal cooling off begins. But this doesn’t mean you are relegated to a dampened sex life from then on. It just mean that “doin’ what comes naturally” takes a bit more effort to keep it spicy.
1. Priorities. Make sure your intimate time is a priority, not just an activity at the bottom of your list. Intimacy is essential for a successful relationship.
2. Playfulness sex for procreation is the minority expression of our sexuality. Couples, over a lifetime, will have far more sex for recreation. Sex is your adult playtime, so have fun with it! Laugh, giggle, play games, tease and please.
3. Pleasure sex and intimacy is about pleasure, not necessarily about orgasm. Focus on the giving and receiving of pleasure, rather than the goal of orgasm for a total experience of physical and emotional pleasure.
4. Pampering. We’re more in the mood for sex when we feel good, and have the energy for sex. Sex takes time, concentration and some effort, so to be primed for pleasure, take time out for yourself. De-stress, exercise, do things to make yourself feel sexy and sensual: beauty care, massages, exercise, hobbies.
5. Partner connection. Research shows good sex is about connection, so make sure you feel connected with your partner outside the bedroom too.
by Sex & relationship expert Dr Gabrielle Morrissey (body+soul)