It sounds crazy, but IT'S TRUE.
Marriages have their sexual ups and downs. When you first marry, the sex is usually intense and happens often. Heck, you can barely keep your hands to yourselves! Gradually, work invades, children come and intimacy often gets placed on the back burner. Sex might only happen when the kids are sound asleep (if you are still awake) or when you run off for a romantic weekend.
Later, as you get older, physical issues and changes in libido can impact how often you and your spouse physically connect. Your sexual dance may begin to move to a very different tune and weeks can go by without any sexual activity. During the time when you don't have sex, your marriage can still grow strong. Here are a few suggestions:
1. Tap into an ancient way to connect!
For centuries, married Orthodox Jews participate in a unique sexual schedule. For approximately two weeks out of every month, these couples enjoy regular intimacy. For the remaining two weeks, which starts when a woman begins her menstrual cycle, they avoid physical contact altogether. During this separation period, they develop the non-physical side of their relationship. They talk, laugh and share as platonic roommates.
Because they both agree to this separation, which they believe is divinely mandated, neither feels manipulated; no one withholds sex to emotionally punish the other. They spend this time connecting on a totally asexual plane. They can talk about their feelings and negotiate challenging issues.
Concerns are worked through and solved, not dismissed with a simple passionate embrace. If you and your spouse want to discontinue intimacy, your relationship can grow richer, but you must both agree to be physically apart.
2. Address the darn elephant in the room.
Let's examine the "elephant in the room" and discuss the obvious question: why do you want to disconnect sexually?
As an expert who speaks and writes about diabetes-related sexual complications, I encounter many people who stop having sex with their partner because of physical issues that make intimacy emotionally or physically uncomfortable. Many men give up on sex when they develop erectile dysfunction (ED) and can’t achieve a satisfactory erection. Some women give up on sex when intercourse becomes painful or their libido drops.
Many couples stop being sexual because they don’t feel emotionally or physically connected to their partner any longer.
Ask yourself the following — if sex felt good again, would you want it back in your life? If your answer is "yes," then great treatment options exist. Men who can’t have erections can try pills, vacuum pumps, suppositories, penile sleeves, and even penile injections (sounds awful, but they really work!). Penile implants require surgery, but offer a natural-feeling orgasm.
Women also have options. There are many terrific lubricants on the market. Pick one up at your local pharmacy or order online. Ask your OBGYN about medications that can help your body produce more vaginal lubrication. You can also try to reduce the stress in your life and take time with intimacy. As we age, many women need additional arousal time.
Don’t forget the old adage, "If you don’t use it…you’ll lose it." Self-pleasuring with a vibrator can help your body respond more quickly and may help you become more responsive to your loved one’s touch.
3. Grow your friendship in and out of the bedroom.
If you want to turn up the heat in your bedroom, you can watch erotic films together and read suggestive material to one another. If your relationship is strained, seek help from a marriage and family therapist or other behavioral health professional who can help you and your spouse communicate more effectively.
If you want to take a sexual break, go for walks, discuss issues and great books, attend lectures, develop shared hobbies, etc. Continue to connect on a different level.
Whichever you choose, I hope you find ways to enjoy all the moments you share together!
Janis Roszler is a therapist who specializes in diabetes-related sexual and relationship issues. Her blog articles and books can help transform your intimate life. Have diabetes? Learn how you can reconnect sexually with the one you love. Read Janis’ book Sex and Diabetes: For Him and For Her, check outher website and follow her on Twitter.