How to Deal With Sex Problems in Marriage

Three Methods:Improving Your CommunicationEncouraging Sexual ChemistrySeeking Professional Help

Many married couples struggle with a lack of sex or issues in the bedroom. In fact, it is estimated that one out of three couples has a sexual desire gap.[1] According to a study by the National Marriage Project in 2011, happily married couples ranked sex right up there with communication, commitment, and generosity.[2] If you and your spouse struggle with sexual problems, it might be time to focus on ways to improve your communication, your sexual chemistry, and perhaps seek professional help.

Method 1
Improving Your Communication

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    Choose a time when you are both alone and not distracted. Having a conversation about sexual issues can be difficult and awkward, especially if you are both feeling the lack of sexual chemistry in the bedroom. Don’t spring the conversation on your partner when you’re having dinner at a restaurant or surrounded by friends. Look for a time when you are both alone, in a private space, to bring up the topic. [3]
    • A good time may be when you are both getting ready for bed, or after you have dinner together at home.
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    Broach the topic of sex in your marriage. A big part of strengthening the sexual relationship between you and your spouse is maintaining open and honest communication between you and your spouse. Bringing up the sexual issues in your marriage will show you are trying to make sex a priority in your relationship, instead of an occasional occurrence. [4]
    • Perhaps you have grown distant from your spouse or your spouse has grown distant from you. Regardless, be proactive and get the conversation started. Let your spouse know that you realize it’s important to have an intimate connection in a relationship, especially in a marriage.
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    Focus on how you can both meet each other’s needs. Tell your spouse that you realize you have both been unhappy with your love life and that you want to try to do something about it. If your partner responds with, “Well, I’ve heard that before”, don’t take it personally. Instead, ask your partner how you can meet their needs, sexual and otherwise. Discuss what your partner feels is lacking in your sexual relationship and what you feel is lacking, as well. [5]
    • Often, couples with sexual problems also have other emotional issues that have not been worked out and are hovering over the relationship. You could be lacking sexual chemistry due to boredom in the bedroom, a low sex drive (for you or your partner), a negative body image (for you or your partner), exhaustion due to the stresses of life, or a lack of connection mentally and emotionally.[6]
    • Try to work together to identify possible causes of your lack of sexual chemistry. It can be difficult to talk about issues around sex. But as partners, you owe it to each other to be honest and to share any concerns around intimacy and sex.
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    Hear each other out. Don’t interrupt your partner when your partner is sharing any feelings or concerns. Focus on listening before you respond or speak.
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    Ask if there are any specific issues or concerns. Try to get to the root of your issues. Don’t be afraid to be specific about your concerns, as this can lead to solutions to address them.
    • If your partner brings up a feeling of boredom in the bedroom, think of ways to spice up your usual sex routine. Maybe your partner is feeling exhausted by their workday, or experiencing a negative image of their body. Discuss possible solutions to these issues, like taking less hours at work, going on a vacation just the two of you, or taking up exercise together.

Method 2
Encouraging Sexual Chemistry

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    Set the mood. This could be staging a romantic evening at home, with candles, a massage, and rose petals. Or it could mean thinking of a situation in the past where you were both turned on and feeling sexually connected. During these moments, were you taking more time for foreplay? Were you having sex in different positions, times of day, or locations? Try to create a situation where you were both turned on in the past and may be turned on now. [7]
    • Some couples find it difficult to have sex after having children. If you cannot recreate some of the past situations where you were both sexual due to your current commitments, focus on adjusting your daily schedule to make time. Ask your in laws to take the kids for the night, or plan a weekend getaway, just the two of you. Though it may not be exactly how it was in the past, you can still create moments now where you both are in the mood.
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    Turn off any distractions. Agree to charge your cellphones on the kitchen counter and leave your laptops in the living room. Reclaim your bedroom for the two of you to be intimate together, rather than text messaging or email. Eliminate distractions that may be coming between you and your partner, especially in the bedroom. [8]
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    Experiment with novelty. Boredom is one of the major causes of sexual issues between married couples, especially when you both tend to fall into a routine or the usual go to positions in the bedroom. Discuss more adventurous positions or elements and be willing to try things you both haven’t done before to see if you both find them enjoyable. Don’t be afraid to experiment together. [9]
    • This could be as simple as taking a hot bath together, or a long massage with scented oils in bed. Sexy lingerie can also be a simple, but effective way to surprise your partner.
    • You both may be interested in certain kinds of touching, different sexual positions, or integrating sex toys into your sexual routine. Look up positions or toys online, or go to a sex shop together and have fun browsing. Keep the experimentation fun and light.
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    Be open about your preferences. Rather than be embarrassed by your sexual desires, focus on being open and honest about what you prefer. Let your spouse know what you’re interested in doing, or trying, so you can both work together to create a healthy sexual relationship. [10]
    • Use action-oriented terms and be specific. Rather than tell your partner, “I’d prefer we ‘make love’, rather than ‘have sex’”, describe what “making love” means to you. This could be something like, “I’d like us to spend more time kissing and touching”, or “I like it when you touch my hair or touch me lightly on my face.” It may seem strange to be so specific about your sexual needs, but the more detail you provide your partner, the more your partner can respond in kind.
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    Show, rather than tell. It can be difficult to put into words the things that turn you on. Offer a “hands-on” demonstration and show your spouse what you like. Chances are, it will be clear very quickly what turns you on, and your spouse will be able to follow your lead. [11]
    • Take turns showing each other how you like to be turned on. Be generous towards your spouse and focus on pleasing them. Your spouse should then do the same for you.
    • If the prospect of showing your partner what you like seems uncomfortable, or daunting, get an “improve your sex life” self-help book and read it together at night. It will likely stimulate some great discussions and maybe some laughs.
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    Schedule sex dates. Though it may seem formal to schedule in time for sex, this can act as a form of reassurance that you will both make sex a priority. Try scheduling sex dates on a trial basis for six months. Focus on meeting the date and getting together in an intimate way, even if you don’t have sex. This will help you to organize your time around being intimate, rather than trying to fit intimacy into your schedule. [12]
    • If you find it hard to get in the mood during the scheduled time, start by cuddling together or flirting with each other. Give each other compliments or simply listen to each other’s day while lying in bed. Focus your full attention on your spouse and don’t let distractions get in the way of your sexual chemistry.

Method 3
Seeking Professional Help

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    Get a medical check up. Schedule an appointment with your family doctor to rule out physical issues that may be causing your sexual issues. Check if any medications you are taking or any medical conditions you have may be a factor. .
    • You may want to ask your doctor about possible remedies if you are experiencing a low sex drive or other sexual issues, such as impotency. Your doctor may suggest medication or dietary changes
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    Schedule an appointment with a sex therapist. A sex therapist is certified to help couples or individuals deal with sexual issues. You may be experiencing performance anxiety or impotency, or you and your partner may be having trouble sticking to a sex schedule or routine. If you and your partner are having issues discussing your sexual problems, or if you have sexual concerns, it may be time to consult a professional. [13]
    • Most sex therapy sessions are one hour weekly meetings, for four to six months. To find a sex therapist near you, visit the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists; the Society for Sex Therapy and Research, or the American Board of Sexology.[14]
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    Seek individual therapy. You may be working through your own personal problems, like body image issues, or psychological issues, and these may then be affecting your relationship with your spouse. Consider individual therapy, whether it is with a sex therapist or a general therapist. This may help you achieve a healthy self image that can then be channeled into your relationship with your spouse, in the bedroom and elsewhere. [15]

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Categories: Marriage Issues