When faced with choosing between pre-marriage sex and married sex, it’s safe to say that most people would go with option number one. While lust is often replaced by a deeper emotional connection after many years together—which is definitely a recipe for amazing sex—the earlier stages of getting to know someone between the sheets are undoubtedly more, well… exciting.
But experts say it doesn’t have to be that way. Armed with the knowledge of what could (and probably will) happen to your sex life as the years go on with your spouse, you can recognize patterns and signs that things are cooling down in the bedroom and then nip them in the bud. Plus, it turns out that there are some ways that sex actually gets better after marriage, if you can believe it. Read on to find out what they are. And we have plenty of great advice on how to spice up your sex life.
For better or worse, hours-long lovemaking sessions are generally off the table after a few years of marriage. That’s not to say you won’t indulge in longer encounters once in awhile, but probably only on very special occasions. “This happens for a couple of reasons,” explains NaDasha Elkerson a relationship expert and coach. “Life gets more complicated with all the adulting you must do as a team and your spare time gets shorter.”
This is especially true if you have kids, since you never know when you might be interrupted. “When you don’t have a ton of time, a quickie becomes an artform.” If you have kids, here’s how to have amazing sex after parenthood.
The fast and furious approach isn’t without its benefits. “The better reason that it will get quicker is that over the years you will understand one another very well and both of you will know the ‘combination’ to unlock pleasure in the other,” Elkerson says. In other words, you’ll both be pros at getting the job done. For more great ways to spice up your post-marital sex life, it might not hurt to consider an open marriage.
It might not sound that romantic to set aside time to have sex, but bear with us. “When married couples begin to develop a rhythm around work and home life, they also develop a rhythm around married sex,” says Weena Cullins, a licensed marriage and family therapist and relationship expert. “When partners are dating and not living together it’s realistic to make love whenever they get a chance to see each other, especially if those opportunities are few and far between.
However, when a couple lives together, they may have more physical access to each other, but still feel limited by the demands of their work schedules and other commitments, she explains. In that sense, the scheduling approach is pretty great because it affirms that you both care about having sex and that you’ll have enough time to do it.
Yup, you read that right. “The longer you know one another, the better you know what to do to give your spouse pleasure, “ Elkerson notes. “The pleasure is more intense because there are less uncertain moments. You know one another very well and feel comfortable, and relaxation translates into being able to orgasm more easily.”
She also says that having a higher level of familiarity can make it easier to experiment, which helps keep things interesting and passionate. It’ll also get better if you follow this handy advice on how to improve your sexual performance.
“In the dating phase it’s not uncommon for passions to run so deep that couples are pretty carefree about where and how they have sex,” says Cullins. “Ripping clothes off in the heat of passion or even soiling sheets isn’t a big deal as long as the sexual connection is made. My clients report sheepishly report that they think to put a sheet over the couch or bed or carefully remove their clothing before making love, citing that while they truly want to engage in the act they also want to preserve their nice things!”
Precautionary items that were once a complete necessity, like condoms, are reasonably likely to make an exit from your sex life. The same goes for other methods of birth control and protection, since “fear of pregnancy or STI may be lowered,” says Eric Marlowe Garrison, a sex counselor, author, and instructor for Masculinity Studies a William & Mary college.
Sometimes being with your spouse for a long time can result in feelings of strong sexual attraction morphing into a much deeper, more emotionally-charged type of love that’s less focused and dependent on sex. “This is safe and healthy, but the ‘exhilaration’ of sexual attraction and lust decreases,” says Lisa Bahar, a licensed marriage and family therapist based in California. For more great marital insight, learn how to make your marriage last forever.
But it definitely doesn’t have to be that way. “Sexual experimentation can drop off as couples adopt the persona of ‘your average, happily married couple,’ not realizing that happily married couples do swing, do have sex toys, do experiment with BDSM, and do watch porn!” Garrison explains. So while the tendency to be adventurous in your sex life often diminishes as your relationship goes on, you can certainly make an effort to spice things up to avoid getting bored.
Maybe your courtship was filled with rose-petal-covered beds and sensual bubble baths, but those gestures tend to fall away as your partnership develops. “Couples grow secure with one another and complacent and no longer feel the need to put effort into wooing their partner,” says Rhonda Milrad, LCSW, relationship therapist and founder of online relationship community Relationup.
While it’s certainly not necessary to do these things every time you head to the bedroom (see: the virtues of the quickie mentioned earlier), it can make things more exciting to consciously up the romance factor every now and then. Although if you still feel compelled to make a romantic gesture, try one of these.
Before, sex was just about fun, but now, married sex could be more about getting pregnant. For some couples, getting pregnant is a piece of cake, but for others, careful planning is necessary in order to achieve the desired goal. “When couples find out that they have to be intimate during a woman’s ovulation window—which could be as small as a few hours every month—it can cause feelings of pressure, anxiety, frustration, and sometimes resentment,” Cullings says.
Sometimes the pressure can cause performance anxiety, but the goal of conception can also make sex even more meaningful. And if you are planning on becoming a parent, make sure you know how to be the best dad that you possibly can.
“It might have been hot and heavy at the beginning, but if you’ve been married awhile, it’s not uncommon for the sex to be less frequent,” says Elkerson. “This doesn’t mean anyone is unfaithful or less attracted, it’s just a symptom of life happening to you and your relationship.” Basically, it’s just par for the course.
This is mainly true for couples who lived apart or in different cities before marriage, says Garrison. The novelty of being able to have sex whenever you want can make for super frequent romps for the newly-cohabitating.
You know which positions work well for you, what turns your spouse on, and how to get the job done like the back of your hand. But sometimes, doing the same thing over and over again can get a little monotonous. “You’re not necessarily less in love or less attracted,” Elkerson says. Sometimes, people just get lazy after being together for a long time. “If you find married sex becoming less interesting than it once was, try something new with a good dose of enthusiasm,” she suggests. “You’ll surprise your spouse and perhaps inspire them to try something new themselves.” You can also try spicing your sex life up with some of these strategies.
“There is less foreplay after marriage,” says Milrad. Mainly, this is because the goal is to orgasm and finish. “This often occurs because when you are in the dating phase, you are trying to win and keep your partner’s interest, and the insecurity you feel in the relationship keeps you motivated to put effort and attention into lovemaking,” she says.
As mentioned earlier, though, there’s no reason it has to be this way. If you’re not loving the super-quick nature of your time between the sheets, all you have to do is make an effort to focus a little more on foreplay and romance.
While things are likely to settle down in the category of married sex, it’s also highly probable that there will be times when you have more sex than you did before. “Sex will change all the time because you have a whole lifetime to live together,” Elkerson says. “If you’re in one phase, be patient; another phase is coming. If you stay open to having sex instead of waiting to be ‘in the mood,’ give it an enthusiastic effort, and try to have fun, you can have a fulfilling sex life for many, many years to come.”
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