Sex can be so easy in the beginning of a relationship. You’re both feeling passionate, emboldened, and down (or up!) for whatever. After time, it seems like you and your partner have settled into a routine––whether that’s cohabitating, years of marriage, parenting, or all three––the sex slows down quite a bit, both in frequency and passion. It’s an incredibly common situation for all couples––even if we vow we’ll never be the gal watching Netflix instead of testing out different positions in bed, it totally happens.
So, what can you do to ensure you and your partner are still getting busy on regularly––and enjoying it, too? Here, eight people in committed long-term relationships share how they keep their romantic lives hot, heavy, and healthy, even when life wants to get in the way.
- Jill, 33, and Gordon, 35, who've been together for three years
“My advice is to make it a priority. At the beginning of the week, my partner and I always make at least three 'sexdates' for the week, and we stick to them. It is too easy to get lost in the day-to-day household routine, and without prioritizing and committing to nurture your sex life, you could easily slip into the negative spiral of never having time to connect.” -- Jill
- Mary 39, married to a 37-year-old woman for 12 years
"We used to have a difficult time matching up the timing of our sexual desires to each other. It was hot, hot, hot in the beginning, but eventually it just became less of a priority, especially after having kids. LBD (lesbian bed death) is a very real thing; most lesbians go into this 'why bother when there is other stuff we need to do: laundry, sleep, get ready for tomorrow, etc.' But we knew that if we could just push a button and be making love again, we would. What got us back on track to a fantastic sexlife was both of us agreeing that we did indeed want to return to that and to schedule a sex date. What we both loved most was the way intimacy with our bodies drew us back into a stronger partnership and made us better parents (more loving, a more united front). We feel like a team again. And now we can speak more openly to each other about what we want in bed and the frequency that we'd like to have sex. We trust each other more than ever and can be vulnerable.”
"What got us back on track to a fantastic sexlife was both of us agreeing that we did indeed want to return to that and to schedule a sexdate."
- Lynne, 42, married to a 46-year-old man for 20 years
“My husband was the first man I'd been with who seemed to see sex as more than just a bodily event, a key to instant pleasure. Because of this, I felt safe to be myself, to be vulnerable, which I think is key to good sex. If you're too self-conscious, or performing, or worried about something, it interferes with the sex. And yes, the communication of the relationship itself is probably what makes our sex life happiest. We talk, we work stuff out, we do small things throughout the days that remind each other we love each other, even after nearly 20 years together. It's been a journey, but mostly I'd say that was more about each of us healing past hurts and wounds in ourselves that we brought from before we met.”
"My advice for others is to share what turns you on, even if you feel a bit awkward at first."
- Natalie, 36, and her husband, Brad, 36, have been together for ten years and married for eight
“We were best friends for several years before we started dating, so we had talked about our sexlives. When we started dating, we had great chemistry from the get go. We’ve been married for eight years now and still have a fun time together. We talk about what we like and don't. We try different things. We share our fantasies. We are still very attracted to each other. My advice for others is to share what turns you on, even if you feel a bit awkward at first. Send dirty texts. Try getting it on during different times of the day. Wear something that makes you feel great in bed.” -- Natalie
“I have two main pieces of advice: Be honest about fantasies and frequency. Honest communication about what you enjoy keeps it interesting. And making the effort to find time to have sex. If we’re both too tired at night, we have a quickie in the morning." -- Brad
"If you're too self-conscious, or performing, or worried about something, it interferes with the sex."
- Susan, 28, and her husband, John, 43, who've been together for eight years
“Make sure your goals are realistic and not based on anyone other than the two of you. Your sex life shouldn't be a competition with the 'Joneses.' Make it only about each other's needs." -- John
“Wipe clean any expectations except to give and receive love. Make your relationship a safe place for the both of you.” -- Susan