Plus: How to keep things HOT.
There's a very common myth about infidelity, supported by Hollywood hype, that says people are unfaithful because of sex. She's younger, he's buff, they have hotter sex in exotic positions.
In real life, affairs are NOT love stories and they are rarely about sex. Infidelity experts agree that the majority of affairs start in an attempt to have emotional needs met.
One of the biggest ways you can kindle the blazing love in your marriage is to have a vibrant sex life that meets the desires of both partners. Having a dynamic, vivacious married sex life isn't something that "just happens," especially as the years roll by.
To maintain a level of emotional and physical intimacy that's satisfying to both partners over the decades takes investment and resources, but meeting the need of satisfying physical intimacy is a strong step towards affair-proofing your marriage. Sex can be great for both of you, for a lifetime. Here's what to expect in the different stages of your life.
Sex in your 20s...
In our twenties, we're usually at the peak of health and in the prime for physical intimacy. To affair-proof your marriage at this age, the best thing you can do is share sex with your partner as frequently as you both wish, and go on a journey together to learn what turns you on, what turns you off, and where your boundaries are as a couple.
Some of this decade's sexual health issues can be urinary tract infections, sexually transmitted diseases, birth control, and period cramps. So work with your doctor to find a UTI treatment that works for you, but don't neglect intimacy during a UTI — it's a perfect time to consider oral for your partner.
Although STDs can occur in any decade, if you're going to have more than one sexual partner, safe sex can't be emphasized enough. And remember, birth control pills prevent pregnancy but don't protect against STDs. For women, it's important to know that hormonal birth control does chemically change your hormones and can affect your libido and sex life.
Sex in your 30s...
In their thirties, many couples have the added stress and responsibilities of homes, careers and children. All of these things can lead a couple to neglect their sexuality and forget that they're lovers first and parents second.
In addition, some of this decade's sexual health issues can also be sex-dampening: pregnancy, yeast infections, endometriosis, andPMS. Taking the time to affair-proof your marriage in your thirties isn't just a good idea for "someday" — it's a requirement that needs to be addressed now, while the kids are young and the bills are high, or else the marriage will be vulnerable to the temptation to stray.
Pregnancy and fertility can be a big stress for both partners, as hormones change over the monthly cycle. Once a woman is pregnant, her body goes through such rapid change it's hard for her to keep up with it, and hard for him to know what to do for her. If one partner is infertile, it can be such a shock that an affair can easily be born during this period.
Sex in your 40s...
Once you and your spouse are in your forties, your sex life can have a re-invigoration that can sometimes feel like a second honeymoon. Both partners do go through some physical changes at this age. For example, women may experience incontinence after pregnancy, her periods may be fewer and lighter, and many women in their forties enter perimenopause: that time just before menopause. For men, some common health issues that affect your sex life are heart attack, stress, diabetes or increasing weight.
This decade is also ripe for either one of the partners to have a "mid-life crisis" as they seek to regain their youth and prove to themselves that they've "still got it." But despite these changes, now that you've been together a long time and gotten through the years when young children demand your time and energy, this decade is a great period to reconnect deeply. You know yourself and your own body, what brings you pleasure, and now is the time to share the desire you've had for each other for so long.
Sex in your 50s...
Our love lives last into our fifties and well beyond. The most important thing to remember in the fifties and beyond is that sex is much more than just intercourse. Make your partner a high priority. Pay attention to his or her needs and wants. Take time to understand the changes you both are facing. Try different positions and new times, so you both enjoy it and are both sexually satisfied.
Believe it or not, even after a lifetime together, men and women are still both vulnerable to affairs in this decade because their needs are changing but their partner doesn't want to make the effort to change with them. So make the time; take the time.
During this decade are also some typical health issues than can affect a satisfying love life: arthritis, chronic illnesses such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, cancer, and medications that need to be taken for those ailments.
In your fifties, sixties, seventies and so on, it's still possible to have a deeply fulfilling, intimate sex life by paying attention to the changes, remaining flexible, and meeting your partner's needs, physically and emotionally.