Sex

The Instant Way To Keep The Spark Alive When It's Quickly Dying

Photo: Elena Kharichkina / Shutterstock
couple in bed

Every day, couples end up in my office, struggling with a myriad of issues. While no two partners or problems are exactly the same, one unifying factor remains: loss of spark.

After a thorough assessment of what’s lacking in the relationship, an intimacy disconnect is always at the core. It may start innocently enough. Exhaustion, stress, child care, work, and family commitments start to usurp the priority of physical intimacy.

We tell ourselves that it’s just a busy few days and that we’ll get back on track momentarily. The following week comes and the story and stress repeat. That week turns to two, two turns to four and soon we don’t remember the last time because we are out of the habit.

Sex has officially been put on the back burner.

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Loss of intimacy will eventually and ultimately lead partners down a road of resentment and withholding, furthering the difficulty of finding the path back to one another. Say yes to the sex!

Here's how to keep the spark alive when your sex life is dying.

1. Honor the differences in your drives.

Often, your other half may operate differently than you do when it comes to your mutual sex drives.

If one of you can be ready at the drop of a hat but the other needs warm-up time or may be more inclined to want intimacy at a particular time of day, start getting creative about how to get each other there by thinking about the following:

What can you both do to stimulate your individual desires? (i.e., Putting on clothing that makes you feel sexy, thinking about the last time you felt turned on by your other half, candles, erotica, the greater frequency with general kissing, touching, etc)

What can you both do to stimulate each other’s desires? (i.e., Sexy texts, more foreplay, help around the house, etc)

Have a conversation about these facts and discuss the answers you’ve come up with from the questions above. Isolate the factors most important to you both so that you can create and replicate successful scenarios. If you find that your lack of desire stems from your sexual dissatisfaction, use this opportunity to ask for more of what you want.

2. Remember that there is always a reason to say no (but say yes anyway).

If you watch movies or television shows you may have learned that sex is something that is always wanted and welcomed, fueled by a never-ending supply of heat and need. In real life, however, our minds and bodies don’t work this way.

Sadly, if we wait to “want it,” we may be waiting a very long time and that kind of delay can wreak havoc on the relationship. Sometimes we have to initiate when we don’t feel like it or say yes when it’s the last thing on our minds. Here is why:

1. Because when we are truly focused on the moment (the sensation of touch, what it feels like to be near our special person etc) our drive will start to ignite within the first few minutes and then you will legitimately “want it” after that.

2. Because when we take the bull by the horns or “say yes,” we remember that we are sexual beings capable of more than fulfilling work commitments, child care, chores, and running errands. This fact adds excitement and vitality that can rejuvenate not only your sense of self but your relationship as well.

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3. Because having sex consistently recharges the positive energy between mates, creating more of a willingness and ability to meet each other’s nonsexual needs as well (i.e., Going out with friends, picking up an item at the store, cooking dinner, cleaning out the garage, and so on)

4. Because sex and romance often go hand in hand. Craving more romance? Cultivate the sexual component of your partnership. Physical intimacy increases the endorphin release in our brains, bonding us more tightly to our mates and this sense of closeness can spark creativity in the expression of that connection.

3. Don’t panic — nothing is 100%.

To be clear, the necessity of initiating or “saying yes” doesn’t mean that you have to be ready and willing all the time. Sometimes, it really is a bad or difficult moment and it’s more than okay to say no or ask to pursue things later in the day or week.

In a healthy relationship, you want to end up averaging somewhere around 80-90% effort in your sex life (barring, of course, illness, life emergencies).

This simply means that you will be more receptive to your other half’s advances or heat things up of your own volition.

4. Together, you set the 'normal'.

There is no standardized amount of sex you “should” be having. You as a couple know what is “normal” for you and there is no reason to deviate from that number if you don’t wish to.

This is simply about staying cognizant of your “normal” and working to maintain the frequency or get back to your level.

Unless you have both agreed upon an asexual partnership, sex has to be on par with any other “relationship must” including communication, compromise, and trust.

Say “yes” to the sex and watch the sparks come alive, popping and crackling like fireworks.

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Allison Cohen, M.A., MFT, is a licensed marriage family therapist who helps her clients find long-lasting love, with themselves and others.

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