It’s a big question, but one that commonly enters the mind of a woman who has lost touch with her desire: should I have sex for the sake of the relationship even when I would rather watch 30 Rock and then go to sleep?
A woman’s interest in sex in a long-term relationship can wane for loads of different (and very legitimate) reasons – hormones, new baby, busy toddlers, irritating teens, money problems or busy work schedule, just for starters. Or, maybe the sex has never been so hot so she’s happy to leave it behind and dive into some dark chocolate to satisfy her cravings. But if you do want to leave your sex life completely in the dust – and some couples are content to do just that – there are potential consequences for your relationship.
“When sex has completely left the scene, the relationship takes more of a friendship or roommate structure,” says Vancouver-based sexpert Teesha Morgan. “Also, sex is usually the first thing that goes when there are other issues and it’s often an indication that other things need to be worked on.”
Trina Read, sex coach and author of Till Sex Do Us Part: Make Your Married Sex Irresistible, agrees. “If you’re having decent, once-in-a-while sex, it adds 10-15 percent to the happiness of your relationship; but when you’re fighting about sex or just not having it, it takes about 30-40 percent from your happiness.”
Once you get into it….
Both Morgan and Read agree that a woman should never be coerced into anything she doesn’t want to do – but there are ways for women to seduce themselves into wanting to have sex with their partner. “Women should start thinking about what would make sex enjoyable,” says Read. “I have heard from countless women that they don’t want to have sex, and only really get into it once they’re actually having sex. It can give you those nice, close feelings with a partner but sometimes you have to push yourself [to get started].”
While research on women’s sexuality is still scant, there are many indications that we have a different pattern of arousal than men. Rather than feeling the desire to have sex and then putting the moves on a partner, women often do not find themselves in the mood until after the physical foreplay has already started. “Sometimes you decide to have sex with your partner to feel emotionally close and then the body follows,” says Morgan.
How to boost your sexual appetite
So how to psyche yourself up if you want to have more sex with your partner? Read suggests plugging into what you really enjoy and then incorporating it into your sex life with your partner. For example, if you really like chocolate, try making eating a piece of chocolate part of the ritual before you have sex. Or, if you’re into erotica, keep a stash in the en suite and then take a gander right before hitting the sheets. Or perhaps a particular scent of type of music floats your boat?
Morgan says there are all kinds of things to boost your appetite for sex: try exercising more to increase your energy levels and sex drive; find time in your day for yourself, like things that release stress, like journalling or meditation; address any self-esteem or body image issues that are standing in the way of better sex; schedule a date in a kid- and work-free room in your house so you’re not distracted from each other; try something new every month so you’re not just doing the same old things; and embrace fantasies, whatever they may be.
Finally, don’t be afraid to make demands. If you’re having very functional sex that lasts 10 minutes and leaves you emotionally unfulfilled, think about what you really want out of the experience and communicate that to your partner. And then you can go and watch 30 Rock and fall asleep.