In long-term relationships, it’s common for sexual frequency and passion to decline over time as life gets busier. However, a satisfying sex life remains important for many couples. On a recent Wild & Sublime podcast episode, host Karen Yates moderated an insightful panel discussion with three experts – sex therapist Tom Doctor and relationship coaches Helen Wyatt and Tazima Parris – about reigniting physical intimacy in long-term relationships. They shared practical strategies grounded in realistic expectations.
This blog post thoroughly examines the insights shared during this lively discussion, exploring misconceptions, practical tips, and unique perspectives on sustaining passion in long-term relationships.
Biggest Misconception About Long-Term Sex Lives
A significant misunderstanding couples have is expecting sex to stay the same over 20+ years as it was initially. In newer relationships, sex can happen more spontaneously and frequently since it’s a main shared activity. Over decades, other priorities like kids, jobs, chores, etc., dominate time, lowering physical intimacy opportunities.
As Wyatt explains, in our productivity-focused, non-sex-positive society, carving out time and making pleasure a priority requires concerted effort since it won’t just naturally occur. However, sex remains a core emotional and physical need. The relationship expert emphasized realistic goal setting given limited time and energy rather than pressuring unrealistic standards.
Common Problematic Magazine Advice
The panelists critiqued several common long-term sex life quick fixes often touted in mainstream media that ignore relationship foundations. For example, medications like Addyi promise to spark instant chemistry despite interpersonal issues. Overly pressuring certain acts like roleplay can flop without mutual enthusiasm. There’s excessive focus on immediate, constant wetness that disregards women’s natural arousal process. Quick tricks may work situationally but frequently backfire by adding performance pressure versus nurturing intimacy.
Effective Strategies For Sparking Novelty
Instead of demanding spontaneity, the panelists advocate planning purposeful, intimate encounters like setting standing date nights or wake-up times for sexual connection. Trying new locations like vacations kindles novelty from the change of context. Creating restrictions like no sound taps into the light power play. Multi-sensory immersion via touch, smell, or music builds eroticism through creativity, presence, and fun versus goal-oriented acts. Subtracting overstimulation rather than constantly adding new toys or props directs focus to essential sensual connection.
Communication And Self-Knowledge Are Key
In a long-term relationship, talking and understanding each other is super important. You can’t assume you always know what your partner wants because people change over time. Maintaining a healthy relationship means consistently checking in about what feels good, what activities you still enjoy, and what emotions you’re going through.
Spending quality time together is essential. You should also explore what makes you feel good by yourself. This self-discovery helps you guide your partner on what you like. Instead of blaming your partner when things aren’t perfect, taking charge of fulfilling your relationship is better.
Especially if someone is dealing with a long-term health issue, it’s crucial to be open to different ways of being intimate. Sex doesn’t always have to be the same, and that’s okay. Keeping a strong connection through gentle touches and other intimate activities is still very important, no matter what challenges you might face.
So, talking openly, listening well, and understanding yourself are the keys to ensuring your relationship stays strong and satisfying over the years.
Additional Read: How to Talk to Your Therapist About Sex
Strategies For Polyamorous And Kinky Partnerships
Polyamorous and kink relationships often intentionally build intimate, solid communication skills, given their greater complexity. However, the core advice remains apt. Without superior time management, emotional availability, and sexual priority setting, polyamorous bonds can become inactive. Kink partners may alternate scenes with tender lovemaking or non-genitally focused play when health issues necessitate creativity. Ultimately, for all relationship structures, regularly revisiting erotic foundations from courtship-like flirtation and affirmative desire-sharing maintains vitality. When both partners (or more, for polyamorous bonds) take personal and joint responsibility for intimacy, long-term sexual vibrance is achievable.
The Bottom Line
While reviving physical closeness in long-term relationships takes proactivity, the encouraging insight is lasting sexual vibrance is realistic. Through applying research-backed techniques like carving out couple times, planning encounters, regularly rediscovering each other’s evolving desires, creative intimacy expansion, and direct intimacy conversations, couples can enjoy satisfying sex lives and lasting relationships for decades. Prioritization and collaboration enable intimacy to thrive amid life’s endless distractions.
Listen to the full insightful discussion with helpful techniques between host Karen Yates and relationship experts Tom Doctor, Helen Wyatt, and Tazima Parris in the Wild & Sublime podcast episode “Spicing Up Long-Term Relationships” here.
Ready to strengthen your relationship? Contact Best Therapies for expert advice and guidance on cultivating deeply connected, fulfilling, long-term relationships.