Valentines Day at our house didn’t look particularly sexy yesterday. We went to church, came home, put on comfy clothes, then hung out with our kids. A few hours in, the baby took a nap and the three older kids started entertaining themselves. Mom and dad ended up cuddling and kissing on the couch. It felt incredibly romantic and sexy – even a bit forbidden. We managed to sneak off to take a quick “nap” ourselves. This is sex after marriage.
Too much information? Sorry about that. My point is that our love – and sex – lives are not doomed simply because we’ve been married a decade, have careers, or are surrounded by children. I’m no expert on sex, but I have been married 12 years and definitely experienced the ebbs and flows of libido.
4 Tips for Sex After Marriage
A Healthy Marriage is a Sexy Marriage. Sometimes we see sex as the problem, when it’s really just a symptom. Both men and women have more fulfilling sex lives when they have a healthy relationship with their partner. Consider things like improving communication, spending dedicated time together, forgiveness, and holding hands as serious ways to improve your sex drive.
Think about the times when you feel the closest to your spouse. For me, this is when I feel heard, loved, supported, and appreciated. If I’m practicing self careand actively working on a strong partnership in my marriage, my sex life often reflects that.
Sometimes things are going along swimmingly in my marriage and stress, exhaustion, or health factors still impact one partner’s libido. A healthy relationship helps both partners support each other through these challenges.
Self Care is Key. When I’m nursing a baby, sleep deprived, and never alone, the last thing I want is for someone to touch my breasts. I don’t love my partner any less and I still crave intimacy, but sex doesn’t always appeal to me. And I feel guilty. So guilty. The truth is, I’m not alone. A survey conducted by Down to There found that 69 percent of women experienced issues with desire, and 45 percent of men reported issues with a low libido.
Keep the lines of communication open with your spouse, take care of yourself the best you can, and explore ways to increase your libido. Be open with your partner about how an uninterrupted nap on a Saturday might help you feel more in the mood later on.
Health issues that effect sex drive are real. These include depression, medication, sleep deprivation, stress, eating habits, and more. Self care is not selfish. Make self care a priority and encourage your partner to do the same. Your sex life will thank you.
Rest assured that there is nothing wrong with you and a changing libido is something experienced by both women and men in loving, healthy relationships. I really appreciate these 7 questions to ask if your sex drive is low. Let go of the guilt and take care of yourself. The sex drive will come.
Adjust Your Expectations. Notice that I didn’t say “lower” your expectations for sex after marriage? Romantic and sexy often get new definitions in marriage. There simply isn’t as much time to set the mood, go on a date, or don some lingerie. Work schedules, kids, commitments, exhaustion, and more get in the way. But this also means discovering the fun in a “quickie,” the shower, sex over the lunch hour, during nap time, and more.
I confess to reading far too many romance novels and watching my fair share of romantic comedies before marriage. I also saw the numerous sitcoms. comedies, and commercials declaring sex dead after marriage. Needless to say, I was confused about what to expect and what was expected of me.
Luckily, I don’t live in a romance novel or sitcom. My breath still catches when my partner walks into a room and the sexiest thing he can do sometimes is offer to put the kids to bed by himself. Romance is found in small, thoughtful gestures. Sexy is appreciating his behind in a pair of jeans while we take the kids to the zoo.
Prioritize Intimacy. Sometimes what qualifies as foreplay after marriage is surprising. I find my husband incredibly sexy when we are laughing together. The intimacy of shared laughter is intoxicating and I can’t get enough of it. I’m also turned on by long, vulnerable conversations and kisses with no expectations.
Recognize that intimacy might not look the same through all periods of your life. A partner who is experiencing a low sex drive still craves intimacy. What turns you on when you are nursing, for example, might be different than other times. Intimacy is a shared joke with one look, holding hands across the church pew, and getting tangled in the sheets. Intimacy is feeling connected even when you’re not touching.
Not all intimacy immediately leads to sex. But it’s certainly a good place to start.