For some reason, it is generally accepted that sex worsens over the years of marriage, and then completely disappears. This is not true! We decided to debunk the most popular myths so that you can enjoy your intimacy even after 20 years of family life.
Myth 1: passion lasts three years
The hormones responsible for making us feel the sexual desire for a partner – oxytocin, dopamine, testosterone – really stay at a high level for only the first few years. Evolutionary mechanisms work, creating the motivation to continue the relationship: we want each other longer, which means we stay together longer to care for the offspring.
Hormones play a huge role in sexual and romantic relationships – this is a fact. But their levels and meanings at different stages of life change: women are aware of these changes even within the framework of one menstrual cycle, when during different periods of the month their sexual desire intensifies or weakens.
If hormonal fluctuations within a single menstrual cycle are common for a person, what can be said about such conditions as pregnancy, depression, or chronic diseases that affect hormone production (for example, diabetes)?
The longer we are in a relationship with one partner, the higher is the likelihood that we will go through different stages of life together: recovering after childbirth or taking birth control pills (many of them reduce libido), falling into a period of age-related changes – a decrease in testosterone levels in men or pre-menopause among women.
Most likely, passion has not disappeared from your relationship. It’s the body that falls into different periods of hormonal activity throughout life and marriage, which is not related to how many years you already live together – five or fifteen.
And yet: if you or your partner feel an obsessive decrease in sexual desire, it makes sense to turn to a specialist – a gynecologist, an urologist, an endocrinologist, a psychologist or a sexologist.
Myth 2: The frequency of sex decreases
This is also an erroneous judgement. Many couples attribute this to the fact that intimacy is boring, and sex becomes boring because the partners already know each other perfectly.
In fact, instead of the word “decrease” it is better to use the term “normalization”. We often compare the current period of our relationship with the first months (or years), when the hormones and feelings used to rage inside us, and sex was a natural way to express what was happening to the heart.
Over time, not only the level of hormones returns to normal, but we ourselves learn to express love for a partner in alternative ways – for example, through hugs or long heart-to-heart talks at dinner.
In addition, accepting the fact that a couple has less sex with time, no one pays attention to the fact that, with a decrease in the number of sexual contacts, the quality of intimate life often increases.
And yet: the most important guideline in the process of normalizing the number of sexual contacts in a couple will be the partners’ comfort. If the two of you have become more comfortable having sex three times a week instead of seven, then there is no point worrying that sex has gone.
Myth 3: the partner ceases to be sexually arousing
There is a very popular opinion that sex in marriage is boring and trivial. This happens because of the thought that there is no point trying to impress your partner since you are already together.
We all heard thousands of jokes about life after a wedding: how a beautiful girl turns into a housewife in a stretched nightie, and a seductive handsome man becomes a pot-bellied grumbler who just lies on the couch after work.
In reality, everything is not so comical. One should not deny that, for many of us, marriage is directly related to the need to share life routine.
You used to meet less often, but chose the time of dates when both of you were in a good mood and nothing distracted you from each other. Now, living together has taken away the opportunity to see the partner only when you want it, when you are in a good mood and dressed properly.
Instead, you share the same space 24/7 and see each other even when you are sick, sad, undergo stressful periods, raise children, or get tired after work.
Household issues also take a lot of time, leaving nothing for sex. What kind of sex are you going to get after eight hours of work, a couple of hours of cooking or cleaning and the eternity spent trying to save your child from a bad mark and solve a math problem that the school curriculum includes in the fifth grade?
Life is really not the sexiest setting, and it can be difficult to maintain sexual desire against such background. Psychologists and sexologists advise meeting outside the home environment more often, which means: dating, dressing up, spending time only with each other, excluding worries about children, work and other non-sexual things.
Myth 4: feelings cool down, and sex goes away with them
Let’s make it clear: most likely, you will not cease to love each other with time.
In a marriage, partners open up new facets of interaction. You used to be only lovers, but now you have become partners or spouses. Being nothing but a sexual object for one another is insufficient now.
Over time, you learn to be more than just lovers in a harmonious relationship. Due to age-related changes, sex sooner or later will completely disappear from the relationship – and instead of stubbornly clinging to the status of lovers (which will be gone), you have every chance to become friends and soul mates in the present and future.
In a relationship, you learn to provide support, listen, share feelings, comfort, share joys and losses. You do not need to have sex to be able to share all of this.
Marriage is valuable precisely because of the variety of forms of communication between the partners that are so comprehensive that sometimes even the need for communication with other people disappears.
However, sex is an extremely important form of interaction in a marriage. Some people can neglect the sexual component so much that their relationship turns into a sisterly relationship. Returning from this state back to the status of lovers is extremely difficult.
Combining marriage and sex is not easy. It is even harder to let the relationship develop at a pace that is comfortable for both of you without regard to everyone else. Do not drive yourself into a dead corner thinking that sex and love in marriage will disappear sooner or later. After all, this will not happen if you yourself do not want to.