In the early days of a relationship, sex is fun and discovery. You have boundless energy and you are young. But as your relationship develops and you perhaps have children, the demands of life can mean that your sex life suffers or is neglected.
This is a natural response to getting busier and older, and doesn’t mean you can’t still have a fulfilling and desirable sex life. It does however mean that you need to talk more and be willing to adjust your expectation knowing that your relationship is going through change.
Like any other part of your relationship, your sex life needs care and attention if you want to keep it in good condition. So here are some tips to keep the passion alive in your relationship.
Talk and listen to each other
If you don’t talk about it, the silence can create a distance between you. You have to talk to each other about how you’re feeling. You probably talk about other important parts of your life, such as career choices and your child’s school, but sex is equally important.
If you find it difficult to talk, just start by saying how you feel and asking how your partner feels. For example, "I get the feeling you don't want to make love to me these days, and I wondered how you feel about that". Then listen attentively to what your partner says.
Reassure your partner that you love him/her and enjoy being close to him/her. Your desire for sex might not be as frequent, but that doesn’t mean your desire to be with them has dwindled.
Don’t let your conflicts fester
The Bible teaches us to find ways of resolving our quarrels before the Sun goes down. That’s because conflict is like a cancer. It eats away at your soul and turns the one you love into the enemy. Intimacy and sex always suffer when conflict is allowed to fester.
So, although conflict is common to every relationship, the way you handle it is a choice. Choose to let go. Choose to forgive. Choose peace not war. Insist that conflict will not become the elephant in your house, because in the end, it will damage your sexual attraction for each other.
There’s more to sex than penetration
Many of us have come to believe that the most satisfying thing about making love is the penetration and the orgasm part. But as you grow older you may have to learn to enjoy the intimacy, the closeness, the touch, the long strolls, the holding hands and the feelings of arousal with your spouse.
This kind of mature intimacy is often the trigger for the other kind. So don’t belittle it. Keep courting each other. Keep the non-sexual romance alive. Date each other again. Do little fun things together. Cook together. Watch a film together. Ski together. Dine under candlelight together. And, when necessary, have sex together!
Don’t be afraid of hugs and kisses
Several years into my marriage, I discovered that my wife flinched every time I tried to hug or kiss her. She was worried that my hugs or kisses meant that I wanted sex. And, there may have been some truth in her assumption!
So we had to agree that a hug was just a hug, and a kiss was just a kiss – so that we could simply enjoy this non-sexual physical contact for what it was. Find a similar way of enjoying each other without resorting to full-blown sex. It will reduce anxiety and increase affection.
Take time to be more sensual
• Kiss softly.
• Hold hands.
• Bathe together.
• Undress each other.
• Massage each other.
• Touch each other’s skin.
• Explore each other’s bodies.
• Affirm your spouse regularly.
• Give your spouse a surprise gift.
• Do something special for your spouse.
In short, find out what your spouse loves or enjoys and do it. Just do it!
Anything you like goes
The passage at the beginning of this article teaches that the marriage bed is not defiled. Amongst another things, that means that anything you mutually agree to do together on your marriage bed (to show express love to each other) is okay.
It means you have the freedom to experiment and try out different styles as part of a healthy and enjoyable sex life. If you’re not sure how to suggest something new to your spouse, try saying, "I enjoy it when we make love, and I wondered how you might feel about trying……".
The important thing is that it needs to be consensual and your partner needs to feel loved by it. If you like it and are happy, God says, He is okay with it too.
Find out what you like
Even if you think you know what you like when it comes to sex, it’s worth exploring a bit more. You might be surprised to find out that there are things you will come to enjoy that you never imagined before you tried them.
Everyone’s body is different, so you may need to explore each other tenderly to find out what works best for you. Don’t be afraid to experiment or ‘go there’!
If you both want different amounts of sex
This happens in many relationships. Losing the desire to have sex can happen for a number of reasons, such as getting older, illness, having children or worries about work, money or the relationship itself.
Be open about how you're feeling. Explore why you want less sex, and how it makes you both feel. If one partner has a higher sex drive than the other, work out how to manage it within the relationship.
I don’t personally advise masturbation or sex toys, as they don’t strike me as natural, but I understand why some couples would be happy to give their partner that kind of pleasure if they don’t feel able to accommodate full intercourse as often as they would have liked to. In the end, it’s nobody’s business but yours.
Sex is often more of a sacrifice for one partner than it is for the other. But so are many other aspects of marriage. If you are willing to make these sacrifices for your spouse, he/she is more likely to sacrifice for you or reciprocate in other areas of the marriage.
But even if your partner doesn’t reciprocate or match your sacrifices, you will know that you have played your role in the marriage with honour and dignity. God too will know; and He will reward you in ways that will blow your mind. That’s a promise!