Are You Victim to ‘Marital Bed Death’?

This might be a tune that’s familiar to you: you and your partner were once tearing each other’s clothes off, having sex whenever and wherever the whim struck you. Years pass. Sex then gets relegated only to the bedroom and by appointment only. Over a little more time, those appointments get shifted from every weekend, to twice a month, then twice a month to just a few times a year.

Marital Bed Death

In the United States alone, there are an estimated 20 million people in sexless marriages, otherwise known as ‘bed death’. Sounds scary, right? Of course, this isn’t a uniquely American problem; all over the world, passions can fade. In fact, there’s the concept of ‘passionate love’ — the phase early on in a relationship where you can’t get enough of each other — and ‘compassionate love’, where two partners care for each other, rather than desire one another.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with compassionate love — and there’s nothing particularly wrong with burning passions fizzling down to little embers — however there are so many benefits to maintaining your sex life (for your health and your relationship) that you’ve got nothing to lose and pleasure to gain!

So, how do you avoid BED DEATH?

First off, consider your ‘sex number’. No, this isn’t the number of people you’ve slept with over your sexual lifetime. This is the ideal number of times per week or per month you’d like to be engaging in sex. Think of yours. Have your partner think of theirs. Then, tell each other.

Once you’ve both said your ideal sex numbers out loud, that’s where you can start working towards a compromise — isn’t ‘compromise’ what marriage and long-term love comes down to, in the end? Finding the middle ground, at the very least, will serve as a starting point for the dialogue.

Make time for it. Yes, I am talking about making a schedule for intimacy — not necessarily sex. Now that you’ve compared your sex numbers, make an appointment with your partner where the focus isn’t on intercourse; simply be together comfortably. This could be cuddling and just being close to see where it takes you (even something as simple as snuggling has relationship benefits), or you both can become reacquainted with each others’ bodies through some erotic massage.

Sometimes the way we deal with a lack of sex is to avoid the subject as well as the act altogether. Making time specifically for intimacy is when you both directly confront your issue, however doing it with no goal in mind aside from enjoying the time you spend together is a pressure-free avenue to delighting in each others’ bodies.

Do something new. Being in a long-term relationship means that you’re seeing the same person. Every day. Every night. Before work and after work. After a while, it’s time to break out of the normal routine and see each other in different contexts than you might usually do.

We’re not even talking about getting out of your routine in a sexual way — take up a new hobby together, be amongst each others’ friends for a night out — and get reminded of what your partner is like outside of the usual day to day and why you fell for them in the first place.

Make a deal to ditch distractions. Choose a time that both of you agree to put aside all distractions for at least an hour, and commit to talking one on one. This can be as simple as having a glass of wine together over the dinner table when the meal is done rather than rushing off to finish the washing up.

Talk about anything at all to start — but the point is just to talk. The hope is that eventually you’ll reach a time again where you’ll forego all distractions to listen to your partner without having to set a schedule for it.

Written by: Colin Hanna

Colin Hanna
Colin Hanna is a Volonté contributor and freelance writer who lives in Shanghai, China with his wife. He's written extensively about sex and human sexuality for LELO since 2010.

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