Valentine’s Day is all about expressing love and creating romance; but, not for everyone. While these are a high-priority concerns for those who are in new relationships, many folks who have been married for a while have a different experience.
Many report that, although getting together sexually was never a problem in the beginning, over time things changed. The addition of kids, busy schedules and familiarity would often interfere with spontaneous exciting rendezvouses.
As a result, occasions like Valentine’s Day can be awkward and stressful for couples who have not learned how to communicate their intimate desires and carve out time for intimacy. For others, Valentine’s Day serves simply to reveal that a couple’s sexual routines have gone stale and fallen into a rut. What was once new and exciting can become predictable and ho-hum.
One reason for this dilemma is that the fact that many couples take sex for granted and assume that having good sex in marriage just happens naturally. In fact, it does not. Sustaining good sex in marriage takes planning, good communication and novelty.
An essential factor for good sexual communication is clear sexual messaging. Sadly, many couples are uncomfortable revealing their desires. Likewise, little attention has been paid to help couples overcome obstacles such as embarrassment which inhibit talking freely and honestly about sex.
Today I want to offer some suggestions to help couples improve their intimate communication and create fresh and comfortable sexual signals. Undercover Sex Signals Summary of USS – The Power Moves
Tips to Improve Sexual Communication There are five pillars which support good sexual communication: 1) Mindfulness 2) Realistic expectations 3) Honesty, 4) Empathy and 5) Creativity. Breaking out of the Sexual Doldrums | Pastoral Counseling Syracuse NY (revmichaelheath.com)
The best way to refresh and have good sexual signaling in marriage is to understand that our sexual desire wanes without care and nurturing. Thus, it’s important not to take sex for granted. If couples value intimate relations, they must understand that it will take effort to keep the flames of desire burning brightly.
Having regular date-nights and planning times to talk about how things are going in the relationship, including sex, is important to maintaining good intimate communication. Ironically, we understand that having regular oil changes are essential to keeping our cars running properly but we fail to appreciate the importance of marital maintenance.
It is essential for couples to know about the physical and emotional complexity of good sex. Many marital conflicts are the result of one or both partners holding erroneous beliefs about their own or their partners sexuality.
Understanding that things like stress, fatigue , unresolved relational or over-booked schedules can interfere with passion. Addressing each of these issues is critical to having a good love life.
Reading or listening to podcast together is a good way to not only have more realistic expectations about sex but to also to get over embarrassment that may interfere with talking frankly about sex.
It is important to reflect upon and share with one’s partner how satisfied one is with the intimacy one is having in the relationship. Likewise, it is important to check in with one’s partner about how happy they are with intimacy in the marriage.
The most difficult part of sexual communication is signaling when there is a problem. It’s difficulty notwithstanding, it is absolutely essential that couples be honest with each other about sexual conflicts or problems. Often seeing a counselor is a good way to overcome any reluctance to speaking openly.
The flip side of being sexually honest is the importance of being empathic and considerate of one’s partner’s feelings and experience. Since our self-esteem and our sexual desirability are tightly interwoven, it is easy for a simple observation to be heard as a putdown or criticism.
It is important that, as well as being direct and honest, one be mindful of how what is being communicated can be heard or misinterpreted by one’s partner. Using I-statements is crucial to having productive conversations about sex.
As mentioned earlier, one common challenge to keeping romance fresh in marriage is the difficulty that many couples have speaking honestly about sex. The key to restoring excitement in marital sex is for couples to learn to be open and honest about their fantasies.
A great way for couples to learn how to relax about sharing fantasies is to think of sexual communication as play. Instead of being serious or regarding the effort as work, couples can be playful and uninhibited in exploring their sexual turn-ons. Giving oneself and one’s partner permission to be silly about sex is a great way to let go of any uptight feelings.
The most important message that I hope you take away from today’s discussion is that while romantic excitement in marriage can fade, it can also be re-ignited. With mindfulness and effort, romantic bliss can be regained. As long as a couple enjoys reasonable health, sexual fulfilment in marriage need not diminish with the passing of time. Indeed, it is a lifelong entitlement of joy.
Rev. Michael Heath LMHC, Fellow AAPC 2 /15/2023