Valentines Day comes just once a year but a passionate relationship takes nurturing all 365 days of the year. Here is my advice based on both research and experience on how to rekindle the flame regardless of how dim it has become.
If You Find the Passion Waning, You’re Not Alone
At some point in the course of any long term relationship one or both partners probably will lose their sexual desire.
“Is our passion dead?” is a question we relationship therapists often hear
It is not uncommon to notice the couple grimly holding their collective breath as they await my answer, convinced that news will not be good or a sign that they are doomed as a couple. Fortunately they are usually relieved and they start breathing again when I tell them . . .
Not to worry! As long as the passion was once there and you are willing to do a little work, it can be rekindled.
First, rule out the possibility of depression. Loss of libido is one of the primary symptoms of depression.
Next, take a good look at your health. Hormonal imbalances, heart disease, diabetes, new medications (as benign as antihistamines or as common as antidepressants) can all contribute to loss of libido.
I always insist my patients get a thorough physical with their medical doctor to be certain there isn’t anything physiological contributing to their lack of desire.
Once the above have been ruled out or attended to, take a good look at your relationship’s health.
Sexual problems can be a red flag that your relationship is ailing. Before you run off to a sex therapist, consider the possibility that your sexual problems are actually a symptom of deeper emotional problems that are not being addressed.
Some possible underlying causes and cures for bedroom doldrums for you and your mate to explore:
With women in particular, unacknowledged anger or resentment – especially if it builds up over time – is the number one reason passion disappears. For true emotional and sexual intimacy you both must have the emotional courage to talk about anger and resentment in your relationship as it occurs. If left unaddressed, what starts as a manageable conflict can turn into a mountain of resentment.
For men and women, family and personal pressures can leave little time or energy for desire in the bedroom. We all need this reality check: balance your life. Carving out and committing to alone time together, without the kids or the myriad other distractions, to be intimate is as important as household chores, time with the kids, time at the office, checking your Twitter account, and the million other things that seem to take precedence.
Men’s sexuality is particularly vulnerable to financial and career woes. The sexiest lingerie in the world won’t fix this one, but an empathetic ear can. Lovingly encourage your partner to open up and discuss any pressures or fears he may be experiencing at work. Let him know that who he is not what he does or how much money he makes is what has value to you .
Most of us are seriously sleep deprived, making the thought of sex yet one more chore. Even if it takes a long weekend’s worth of sleep, recharge your batteries. Feeling well-rested can do more than a year’s worth of sex therapy ever could.
5. Transition Trouble
It can be difficult for women in particular to make a smooth and effective transition from mom or office manager to sexy bedroom goddess. Build in a “transition time” agreement for both of you. A specific amount of time and your own specific way to move from work/ mommy/ daddy mode to Me mode in order to happily move into we mode For example, when I come home from a full patient day my husband knows that after a big hug and kiss hello, he won’t see me again until I put on my sweats, take off my makeup and just chill for about fifteen minutes. Only after I’ve gone through my personal transition routine am I ready and willing and happy to be completely present with him.
Men may need twenty minutes of decompression time in from of the TV to check the baseball scores before he tackles the issues with the kids, his Mother or the leaky roof.
Just make sure you both have an agreed upon set time frame to pre-empt conflict.
Research has shown that women who exercise are more sexual have a more positive body image and actually feel more sexual immediately following exercise. Exercise affects the hormones responsible for a woman’s libido. For men, a regular exercise program can increase testosterone levels, which is especially important as they age.
Last piece of advice… Try something new.
Research shows that couples who have new and even challenging experiences together have a more intimate and passionate relationship. The novelty of the adventure translates into experiencing one another in a fresh and novel way. So travel somewhere exotic, learn how to scuba dive or take a Spanish class together at your community college.
Just don’t give up!