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TheRelationshipCafe 04/22/08

What Happened to Our Sex Life Anyway?

God created sex. As the author of sex, I have no doubt He intended it for our pleasure as well as for procreation. 

In spite of obvious pleasures, it is surprising how many couples have all but abandoned their sexual relationship. For this reason I think it’s time to check the sexual pulse of our readers.

My interest in this topic comes after receiving numerous inquiries regarding “what is normal” in a married relationship when it comes to sexuality. Many inquiries ask why their sexual relationship has dwindled and all but disappeared after beginning with such vigor.

I have no intention of making this article X rated, or for there to contain any explicit information. Rather, I want to ask some difficult questions. I want us to address a rampant problem which needs to be talked about.
Consider this recent letter I received on the subject.

Dear Dr. David. I have been married to my husband for fifteen years and we have three children. When we were first married my husband and I enjoyed a very active sexual relationship. We seemed perfectly suited for each other, enjoyed the same pleasures, and respected each other’s boundaries.

Over the past five years my husband has shown a decreased interest in sexual activity. We commonly go for months with neither of us showing sexual interest in the other. When I try to talk to him about it, he makes lots of excuses. He promises that things will improve, but they never do.

I’ve grown increasingly suspicious. I can’t help but wonder if he’s having an affair. He promises me that he isn’t, but what else am I supposed to think. He shows no interest in me, even though I’ve kept myself attractive. What is the problem? Is it something I’m doing, or is it common for men to lose interest as they approach mid-life? I’ve begun doubting him, doubting myself, and am at my wit’s end.  Please help.

Your questions are good ones. Many wives, and husbands, wonder what has happened to their sex life. Let’s consider a few possibilities, and then I want to open this topic up to others to comment on their experiences.

Yes, it is common for sexual energy to wane a bit with increased years, but your concerns certainly raise red flags. It is a myth to believe that simply because you’re approaching mid-life, your sex life has to suffer. The research suggests this isn’t true.

You are experiencing a significant problem and you must begin by obtaining an accurate diagnosis. As with any problem, an accurate diagnosis leads to an effective solution.

When experiencing sexual problems, here are a few questions every couple should explore:

1. Have you ruled out physiological problems?
2. Have you talked to a physician together about your issues?
3. How is the emotional aspect of your marriage?
4. How exciting is your relationship?
5. Have you built adventure and surprise into your marriage?
6. Is your relationship free from excessive tension and conflict?
7. Are you and your mate best friends?
8. Do you talk about your sexual relationship, always endeavoring to keep it new and exciting?
9. Have you created healthy boundaries so that the possibility of an affair is minimized?
10. How is your spiritual relationship, and have you invited God into this aspect of your marriage?

Your answer to these questions will help with an accurate diagnosis.

Having determined whether your waning sexual relationship stems from physiological or emotional problems, address the cause and commit to a solution. Insist that your husband join you in seeking an accurate diagnosis, and then move forward with a solution.

If the problem is physiological, there are solutions. A specialist can assist in finding the right medication or remedy to assist with the problem. While the solution may take creative exploration, solutions are available.

The vast majority of sexual problems stem from problems in the marriage relationship. Excessive tensions, busyness, unresolved conflict, anger and other relational problems create distance. Distance is incompatible with intimacy—especially sexual intimacy. Agree together to fix the problems that lead to this distance.

Finally, studies show that the more robust sexual relationships occur where both partners commit to keeping their relationship filled with surprise, tenderness and adventure. There isn’t room in the dynamic bedroom for boredom—a chief culprit in a dying sexual relationship.

Let me know your thoughts about this rampant problem. What has helped your sexual relationship? What has hurt your sexual relationship?

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