How To Improve Sex In Marriage – The Ultimate Guide
Sex is symptomatic of what happens in a relationship. ~ Samantha, Sex and The City. (Tweet this)
There are many factors that make a marriage a happy one. Besides the inexplicable love, before we decide to spend our lives with someone we look for understanding, compassion, common interests, chemistry, friendship, support, vision of life, goals, dreams. The list is endless. But it’s easy for all of that to lose its meaning simply because one specific area of your relationship isn’t working.
This is what sex does.
I often say that only great sex can help a horrible relationship last, but consistently horrible sex is guaranteed to end a great relationship fast.
Obviously you have had a good sex life at some point, after all you married each other. But life changed. Responsibilities grew, kids came, mortgages that have to be paid, financial issues, even physical changes entered your calm existence—all to stay. Maybe your husband gained a few pounds or your wife doesn’t shave her legs as much anymore. Either way, the combination of all that affected your sex life to the point where you either felt you didn’t have sex often enough or you felt you didn’t have sex well enough. Or, horror of horrors, both!
You may find some consolation in the fact that you are NOT alone. The National Opinion Research Center recently reported that the average American couple has sex 66 times a year. Talk about the Devil’s number! Worst than that, 15%-20% of husbands and wives out there have sex less than 10 times a year, which is quite fairly defined as a “sexless” marriage.
While one group of scientists are busy exploring just how little sex we have, others are busy exploring how important sex is for a happy relationship, hoping they will motivate us. Take Adena Galinsky and Linda J. Waite for example. These researchers from the University of Chicago went out of their way, interviewing 732 couples between the ages of 57 and 85 to prove that it is important for marital quality to stay engaged in sexual activity even while experiencing health problems and other physical challenges.
What’s making matters worse is we live in a society where sex is still a bit of a taboo topic. Yes, they write about it in Cosmopolitan and the Internet is full of funny info-graphics, but the truth is it is still difficult for married people to share their problems in the bedroom. Talking about it with one another or with a professional is often out of the question.
After we brought all that evidence of the importance of sex to your attention, it’s time we do something about improving sex in marriage and bringing your life back on track starting now.
6 Marriage Sex Myths
Let’s begin by breaking 6 marriage sex myths that we are sure you have heard and you probably believe with all your heart. We will then give specific tips about how to improve sex in marriage, how to keep things hot—or bring them back to hot if you let them cool off.
Sex in Marriage Myth #1: It’s normal that sex is a lot less when you’re married for a few years
It’s not just that the Law of Attraction states that what you focus on will happen and therefore thinking that sex should be less after a few years of marriage directly causes less sex after a few years of marriage.
It’s also that similar thoughts only justify our own lack of effort. Having sex is not like winning the lottery. It depends on you and your partner to do it. In the beginning of the relationship, sex tends to “just happen.” The truth is, at this stage, you are not only attracted to your partner, but also doubtful about where things are going. This doubt helps you in repeatedly making the decision to have sex now rather than later, because later the possibility may be gone.
Have you noticed that fear is a great motivator? Yet, the fear is not key here because it’s still your decision to have sex. The ball is always in your court.
Other factors change but if your relationship is a priority, you will make it a must to have a good sex life. This means finding the energy, the time, the place and the way to do it and enjoy it. Sex after a few years of marriage doesn’t have to be a lot less, unless you choose so.
In fact, the different phases of a married life offer a great variety of experiences, if you can use them right. Here is what Leah Heffer, a married mother of two, shares: “I have gone from newlywed, to pregnant, to baby, to post baby, to getting back in my groove, to pregnant, to bed rest, off bed rest, on again, baby, and post baby. Each chapter is a whole new opportunity to learn about likes and dislikes, what works and what doesn’t. It’s always changing, never boring.”
Sex in Marriage Myth #2: Sex becomes boring when you only do it with one person
You probably know your partner’s body perfectly at this stage of your relationship. The thrill of experiencing new moves and demonstrating yours is gone. But guess what—the fear of embarrassment, of whether or not they will call you after, of whether or not sex will be good is also gone. What a relief! The less fear, the more fun.
You are at the point where sharing what you really want is perfectly okay. In fact, if you are not often suggesting fantasies or new places, you are just not making the best of your marriage. In short, you are free to be “you” and celebrate your spouse for who they are also. Many married people say that sex gets better with time. Some singles will try to tell you that’s not true. Don’t believe them!
Sex when you are attracted is good . . . . Sex when you are in love is great . . . . But sex when you know each other, trust each other and adore each other enough to get married is out of this world ah-mazing! Anyone who has had all three will confirm my words.
Sex in Marriage Myth #3: Because I changed I’m not attractive anymore
Maybe you used to be a supermodel and now you are a mother of three who’s not exactly in her best shape. Maybe you used to go to the gym four times a week and now you’re too busy providing for your family. Maybe you let all that ruin your sex life.
I am not here to tell you that you shouldn’t keep yourself up and look good when you are married. Quite the opposite really, you should always do what you can to keep yourself attractive. However, what you can do now and what you could do before are two whole different dimensions. What’s important is that you don’t beat yourself up.
Confidence is sexy! Chemistry is chemistry and does not care about details. I’m sure your spouse is still attracted to you, so let go of any inhibitions and get ready for some wild action tonight.
Sex in Marriage Myth #4: After having a child, we can’t get back in the mood
Motherhood is awesome and definitely among the greatest things a woman can experience. But it can affect your sex life in a negative way. The reasons are twofold.
- First of all, motherhood requires constant attention and complete devotion. It is difficult to combine your role as a mother with any and all other roles in your life, but if you set your mind to it, it’s not impossible. We will give specific tips about how to do that later in this piece.
- The second reason is something many couples are ashamed to talk about. Once you’ve had a baby, certain changes in your body make sex . . . well, different. As usual, in this matter too it all depends on your focus.
If you chose to see this as a problem, then it will be a problem and will come to stay. If you chose to see it as another challenge, which could be quite fun to overcome, you have nothing to worry about. Discuss it with your spouse and try to find new ways to make it work together. Also, for all the ladies out there, do your Kegel exercises. They help. True story.
Sex in Marriage Myth #5: We don’t have the time or the energy for sex anymore
I’m quite certain you do. When we talk about time, there is something I read once that blew my mind and made me experience the world in a whole new way: it’s not about quantity, it’s about quality.
Many people miss that and hey, I was one of them. Spending five minutes to teach your kid to tie their shoes is much more valuable than spending five hours watching TV together. Prioritizing your work in a way that will give you the best long-term results for the least effort is often what smart people do. The 10 minutes you spent arguing about who would do the dishes could have been spent having sex.
The great thing about the quality strategy is not only that it leaves you with more time, it also leaves you with more energy. Why? Because when you focus on what you believe is important, that is a success and we build on success. Success gives us energy. And what’s better than having some left over energy when you go to bed with your spouse at the end of the day . . . ?
Sex in Marriage Myth #6: But he/she wants too much sex!
The “normal” frequency of sexual encounters is something very individual to everyone. It often happens so that the man wants more sex and the woman wants less, but in my career as a coach I have seen the opposite too.
With time, confusion builds and creates certain beliefs. The one who genuinely needs less sex feels like they are not fulfilling their partner’s desires, which affects their confidence levels. They often start wondering whether he/she won’t go look for more sex somewhere else. On the other hand, the person who genuinely needs more sex feels like they are not attractive enough to get it. The “Is there something wrong with me?” self talk is typical for both.
The truth is nobody wants too much or too little of anything. Everybody wants exactly what they want. And if in time you find it differs, maybe you can talk it out and find a way to meet in the middle. By the way, scientists have recently estimated what “the middle” is to make this conversation easier.
The International Business Times stated that the magical number is 11. “According to a new study, unhappy newly-married women have sex for three to four times a month while the happy women have it 11 times a month” the online edition reported.
We hope that after busting those few very popular myths about sex in a marriage, you will change your mindset and start seeing sex for what it really is: a great, fun, necessary, part of your relationship. In fact, there are innovators out there that propose we use sex as a tool for overcoming marriage ruts and they do it in a very straightforward way: by “sexperimenting” and sharing the results.
In the two recently released books “365 Nights: A Memoir of Intimacy” by Charla Muller and “Just Do It: How One Couple Turned Off the TV and Turned On Their Sex Lives for 101 Days” by Doug Brown, the authors share how daily sex helped them strengthen their marriage and go through rough patches. They both confirm it made them happier and less stressed and here’s the deal: if you want to argue with that, I suggest you try it first.
Easy-to-Follow tips to help improve sex in marriage
In the movie “Sex Tape”, the boss of “You Porn” tells the main characters something I find so profoundly truthful and useful that I never expected to see it in this type of comedy. He says (and I am paraphrasing) “I have seen many couples make videos of themselves having sex and let me tell you, it’s not something you do when everything else is great. It’s something you do when you have forgotten why you have sex in the first place.”
While I believe the bottom-line reason for being intimate should be your love and affection for each other, which is the reason we started this article focusing on your internal state and breaking some myths, I also believe once this is working properly, there is no harm in making your sex life even more interesting. No, I am not suggesting sex on video, but maybe these few things won’t hurt your libido.
1. Exercise together: Sweating together must not necessarily happen between the sheets. Exercising side-by-side offers amazing benefits:
- It gives you quality time together. It’s no secret exercising creates happiness hormones and what better than you two sharing your happiness.
- It keeps you accountable for doing sports.
Supporting each other in doing that even when one of you feels like laying on the couch watching TV will build up the trust and credibility in the relationship. Plus, you can always share the shower afterwards . . .
2. Experiment with underwear: While this is a tip mainly for the ladies, it could well be given to the gentlemen as well. For example, I don’t like baggy boxers as much as fitted ones. There it went. That’s all there is to say as far as men are concerned. Now let’s bring our focus back on silk and lace. Wearing beautiful underwear is a treat not just for our bodies, but for our confidence as well and it all starts with the experience of buying it. This is why I just adore shopping in Victoria’s Secret. A couple of years ago, in a San Diego store a girl told me I was wearing the wrong bra size. It may sound funny, but it changed the way I look forever! Also, their dressing rooms are beautifully decorated and the lightning is flattering enough to make you feel like a queen. So you better be sure when I wear what I buy there, the state of a queen comes back to haunt me and neither me, nor my husband mind.
Don’t forget to have fun with your underwear either. Yes, I know red may seem “slutty” and black may not be ideal to wear under your white shirts. I am also aware you are not a “pink” kind of person and garters are only used on very special occasions. Now how about we change all that? As long as you are not flashing it at strangers, red underwear is just the right amount of slutty and you can always get some black shirts too. Don’t be afraid of bling and accessories. I support you in being you. But how about being a better version of you? Underwear is a great way to start. And I guarantee your husband will enjoy the transformation.
3. Change roles, change routines: Before your raise a judgmental eyebrow, hold your horses. The role playing I refer to does not require purchasing any kind of uniforms. Though if you are into it, go for it. What I mean is shifting your roles in the bedroom on a very basic level. In every relationship, there is one who is more sexually active and another, who is agreeing or not agreeing to sex. Why not change that up a bit? There is also a certain routine, be it gentle or a bit more rough. Why not change that up a bit? There are also a few favorite poses. Why not change that a bit? Interesting sex doesn’t have to be extreme sex. More often than not, it’s just about you two having more fun together. Sounds good?
4. Get the best of a night out: What do girls do before a night out? Chose a nice dress, do your hair, pluck your eyebrows and put on make up. Did I get it right? Whatever your ritual, it is all with one purpose: to look like the best version of yourself. If you think about it, the longer we are married, the less our partners see the best of us. I know my man likes me in my pajamas and doesn’t mind my “I’m cleaning up” look, but I also know he deserves to see the girl he first hit on from time to time. Right?
So whether you will brush yourself up for him (recommended) or just for a night out with friends, let him enjoy it fully by initiating sex while looking amazing. Of course he still loves you because of you, but a little eye candy never hurt anyone.
5. Hot kisses: Try to mentally go back to the time when you were a teenager and got your first boyfriend/girlfriend. It was “All . . . . ” about the kiss. Most of us were not ready to have sex in our first “relationship” and the only way to physically express what we felt (and we felt a lot!) was via this single act of intimacy. As we grow, kisses somehow fall back on our intimacy priority list. We either hold each other while watching TV (and that’s often for the luckiest only) or go directly at it with just a little lip-touching to get the moment going.
I am here to tell you kisses are back! Or they should be, if you want a great sex life. Play with them as much and as often as you can. They don’t have to be just a foreplay, though they are a great foreplay if you pay enough attention to them. But kissing is also a great way to greet the one you love, to surprise them and even to make them shut up. You hear that, men? If we babble, there is a way to stop it and I can guarantee we will not mind.
6. Change the light: You can tell a lot for a couple by knowing the usual lightning they use during love making. If it’s dimmed or completely dark, chances are they are rather romantic with a hint of low self confidence. If it’s as it comes, then they are confident and straightforward, but maybe sex is a routine already. So, whatever your usual lighting is, change that. I usually don’t mind seeing and enjoying, but darkness can intensify all other senses in an amazing way. If it’s usually dark in your bedroom, even only a few candles or a reading lamp will give you a whole new experience. It’s a great subtle way to bring some variety in your sex life.
7. Quickies: I know that sooner or later a large portion of marriage sex becomes scheduled: when you are ovulating, or on the weekends, or on Tuesdays, when the kids go swimming. It’s probably inescapable. The good news is there are ways around it. Any few minutes you get alone in the house or even only in your bathroom are a potential opportunity. Speaking of bathrooms, taking showers together is a great thing to do both for your marriage and the environment. So everybody wins. Sneaking in quickies will keep you in the mood and make you feel hot as hell. It’s true what they say: appetite comes with eating.
8. Habit building: We all have our empowering and dis-empowering habits. Some of us smoke, some of us check their work e-mails all the time and some of us barely have sex. What kind of habits do you think those are? You are right, dis-empowering ones. It may seem a bit drastic to compare smoking with not having sex, but you’d be surprise how physically and mentally harmful both can be.
The best way to get rid of a bad habit is to replace it with a good one. If you only focus on not doing something, your focus is still on that something. In the case with not having sex, if your focus is only on the fact of how busy you are, how you don’t feel sexy and how tired you are, saying to yourself that “you should have sex more often anyway” will not help. Why? Because you associate sex with the wrong thing.
In your minds, sex is not pleasure any longer. Sex is a task that needs to be done among all other tasks, so all it brings is trouble and a mess in your schedule. To change that, focus on what you want sex to be. On how satisfying it can be. On how happy it can make you feel. On the level of closeness it gives your relationship. That’s the true face of sex. Once you start focusing on that, you will naturally want to have it more often. And once you start having it more often, it takes between thirty and ninety days to turn it into a habit. Imagine what a great habit that is.
9. Talk about it: While sex can be a delicate subject to talk about even—or maybe especially—with your spouse, trying to keep a healthy communication about your life in the bedroom is imperative. There are two ways to approach any discussion: by focusing on the problem or by focusing on the solution. Sex is no exception. Focusing on the solution when talking about as sensitive a topic as sex is especially important. Instead of starting with “We are not having enough sex” or “I am faking my orgasms,” describe what you do want. Now, if you don’t know what you want, that’s a whole other thing you need to work on before you even think about bringing it up with your partner.
10. Don’t look at your partner as a spouse: For me, my husband is so many amazing things. He is not just a handsome man, he is also super smart, extremely caring, my future baby’s daddy and a friend I can always rely on. I know I have many faces for him also. But when it comes to the bedroom, I try to forget all those things and focus only on him being extremely sexy. Because our spouse represents so much in our life, sex can become stressful and difficult—it’s not easy having sex with all those people! And you don’t have to. You can fully enjoy having sex with just one of them—your incredibly hot roommate.
11. Chase kids away from your bedroom: Many mothers know the easiest way to calm a crying a baby at night is to take it in your bed. Soon, it becomes both your’s and your baby’s habit. Sometimes, in his intention to get a good night sleep so he’ll be able to go to work, the husband chooses to leave the master bedroom and this is how problems start. It’s not that you can’t go back to your routine later, but it’s difficult and you lose at least a few years of hot sex and good rest. Nurseries and kid’s rooms were invented for a reason. Let your adorable children stay there and give your husband the attention he deserves—at least from time-to-time.
If your sex life has fallen in a rut, I hope this article made you re-think the element of sex in marriage, some obstacles, and inspired you to improve your sex life. Making love has so many advantages and we haven’t even began describing the health benefits it holds. So it deserves to be higher on your priority list.
And now, we’d love to hear from you. Have you ever lived in a “sexless” marriage and how did you get out of the situation? Do you have any additional advice to improve sex in marriage? The discussions that happen in the comments section are always the most fun part. If you think there are other couples out there who can benefit from reading this article, feel free to click the buttons bellow and share it. We’d be so grateful.
And if you want to know more about how to build and sustain a happy marriage, you can check out some of our Happy Marriage Series articles below.
1. How to survive the first year of marriage – The Ultimate Guide
2. The 43 Ultimate Happy Marriage Tips