I coach hundreds of women on sex, love and issues around intimacy. I even run small intimate retreats for women so that they can somehow connect again, and more fully to their sexuality. I can tell you from experience that the lack of sexual desire on either their part, or their partners, is the number one issue women come to me with. One of my clients recently said to me:
"Do you believe that lost desire can be reclaimed? Specifically, in a long, happy enough marriage, where sexual desire and satisfaction used to exist, can we find a new way to pleasure when it's been gone for a while?"
It's a great and timeless question, that has kept marriage counselors, sex therapists, and intimacy coaches in groceries for a very long time. The first thing is to acknowledge that many marriages are just like this woman's marriage. They are good enough, happy enough, and functional enough. These marriages raise children, support communities, provide important emotional support, and companionship, while offering a level of financial security to the people who are in them. There is often plenty of love and attachment in these unions, which for a great many people is something worth staying for - even if the sexual fire in the relationship has long faded.
I want to say: Start with your own body. Take your focus off of orgasm, and put it on arousal. It's such better advice then to start spouting about how to relight that dying sexual fire with 101 Sex Tips.
Once you explore arousal in your body, you may begin to ignite some in your partner's body. Another piece of good advice is giving each other space so the air can come in again followed up by taking intentional time to be together. Taking separate retreats, or even separate time out from each other over a weekend can do wonders. Flames need air.
Bringing desire back into your own life and your partnerships takes some action. It is not just going to happen.
We have all heard it before—and frankly I have written it before. But as a grown mid life woman, who has been in a mostly traditional marriage for close to 30 years, I know the truth about most things. There is no Santa Claus, it is nearly impossible to lose weight and keep it off, the sales are never on anything you really want to buy and sexual boredom can grow like moss over most long term relationships (no matter how hot they were in their inception).
Are we all really doomed to live like happy room mates into our golden years, sharing popcorn and pay per view night after night? Contented and dulled into our good night? That's goes for those of us that live alone too!
Don't Live Within Your Partners Limitations!
I have found that a tremendous libido killer is trying to live within my partners sexual limitations. It is really okay to refuse to live within your partner's limitations! Long term relationships often lose their sexual spark, fail, or go into sexual boredom when when we agree to live in the box of each other sexual limitations, shame and fear. Work with keeping your own unique balance for desire, relationship, with your desire for sense of individuality and self-direction. Agree to to a willingness to experiment with opening each others limitations and moving past them. It will create the possibility for healthier living and just might spark a renewed sexiness in your relationship. Neither you nor your partner gets to stay small and in a box, while the other just accepts it. Sexual desire needs growth in order to thrive.
It's Time To Demand a New Kind of Love From Each Other
Living as powerful and creatively expressed people is a revolutionary act. How can I balance my growth and need to explore while continuing to create and expand intimacy? What's revolutionary about this is that it demands a new kind of love from people, and asks them to engage with themselves and the world intentionally and with curiosity instead of shutting down.
It takes self aware, passionate people to create intimacy. Go explore the Arousal Principle!
I agree that it is rare, because nobody shows us how to do it! I didn't have a teacher, minister, scout leader etc. who could model that for me. Consequently I fell into the socially programmed co-dependent model of relationship that my parents learned.
Should we put up with our partner's limitations? Or accept our own? I guess that depends on what we want and how much it will cost us. We always have a choice; I can stay or I can go. Personally I choose not to tolerate my partner's limitations, while simultaneously having compassion and curiosity and belief in their potential to grow and change.
There are no easy answers to making your "Good Enough" marriage or your "Good Enough Life" a place of continued hot desire. It is really challenging work, and can take a lot of guts. It is all about taking yourself and your partner to a new level - and that can feel frightening. No one is going to make this happen except you.
Everyone can bring desire, and dare I say it - a hot sex life - back into their lives. it just takes courage to live past our comfortable boxes and the television set. And it starts with us, not our partners!
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To learn about Pamela Madsen's private retreats for Women to help them regain their sense of desire, "Back to The Body" click here.
To learn more about Pamela's first book where she shares her personal journey through sexual desire and monogamy please check out "Shameless: How I Ditched The Diet, Got Naked, Found True Pleasure and Somehow Got Home In Time To Cook Dinner" (Rodale, January 2011) please clidk here.