8 Ways to Make Desire Last in a Long-Term Relationship

Spicing up a sex life is one of the main reasons why many couples come to see me for coaching and its not surprising because when you really look at it, long-term pair bonding, constant mind-blowing sex and familiarity do not form an ideal threesome. Lets try and work out why.

One reason the idea exists around sexual desire diminishing with length of relationship is the strong sexual desire in passionate love that is replaced by increased intimacy in companionate love (said to occur around two and a half years).

Ive found that when we love someone, we feel responsible and secure and this can clash with desire. So as the length of our relationship increases, we become closer to the individual, we have a greater sense of security, and we lose that animalistic sense of “throw down” that was such a large part of early sexual scripts in the relationship.

Is it the relationship length that is decreasing the desire?

The research Ive come across – there seems to be patterns. Murray and Milhausen – 2012 recently tackled the length of relationship and desire connection, and found that length of relationship in couples who were together for an average of 2 years impacted sexual desire for women, but not men. In research by Klusmann – 2002 – men’s sexual desire tended to remain high while women’s sexual desire is found to decrease as early as one year into the relationship. If you, the reader, are female and these findings don’t match your life experience – congratulations! You buck the trend! and if you, the reader are male, and your sex drive is diminishing and you are not happy about it – maybe it’s time to see a doctor or some other professional and work out whats going on.

It is completely understandable that you want to feel the passion that was there at the beginning. Well, the bad news is that quite often it is not possible. This does not mean that you have to look for a new partner to feel the heightened sexual energy again. Quite the opposite! There are a few strategies to reverse declining desire in a long-term relationship and make sex great again.

And how do we keep the desire in our relationships over the long term?

  1. Start by having realistic expectations

In the initial stages of any sexual relationship, usually, lust and desire to take the lead. Many people think that this chemistry will stay with them forever. You can imagine how disappointed they are when after a couple of months, or 1 to 2 years in some cases, it kind of wears off. They start thinking something burned out between them. The truth is, it just… normalised, which is actually a good thing!

New relationship energy is amazing. However, to some people, it might be quite draining, both mentally and physically. If this state would last longer, some of us would simply run out of energy to function. Not to mention abandoning our hobbies and friends. And yes, being high on love might be pleasant, but for the human body and mind, it is also extremely exhausting. So enjoy the high but prepare for the normal.

2. Solve conflicts immediately – don’t let issues fester

As they say, you should never go to bed angry, and unresolved conflicts are real libido killers. If you find some of the issues and disagreements are too hard to ignore, it is in your (and your sex life’s!) best interest not to allow the problems to build up. Animosities that are not addressed on time quite often cause mutual resentment. It is hard to focus on desire when all your energy goes into avoiding confrontation.

This point cannot be stressed enough.

3. Learn each others’ languages of love and speak them fluently

Many couples fall into the trap of automatically saying “I love you”, often to the point that it becomes meaningless. If you hope that these two words (or the time-saving heart emoji in the text message) will do the trick, you are probably not familiar with the concept of 5 Love Languages. As it turns out, people can express their love through words of affirmation, acts of service, gifts, quality time or physical touch. It is about time to learn your partner’s love language and become fluent in it. They should do the same, of course! It is much easier to focus on desire in your relationship when everyone feels loved.

4. Give each other a little independence

Falling in love often makes us want to be one with the other person. Yet, when we spend all our free time with them, we start to have less space for things that are just for us. According to Esther Perel, creating a little distance helps rekindle desire in otherwise stagnant relationships. Make effort to give yourself and your partner some alone time, have hobbies and connections outside your relationship. But also try to see the other person in their element, doing something they are passionate about. You will soon discover that this decreased familiarity makes them more attractive, both sexually and romantically.

5. Plan sex/play

Do not buy into the idea that only spontaneous sex counts. Of course, at the beginning of the relationship, most of the sex kind of just happens. You see your partner, you catch the whiff of their scent and you are ready for some action. But the longer you are together, the chances for spontaneous sex become lower. As I mentioned before, this does not mean something burned out. Most likely you are coming out of the high. So do not give up on your sex life just yet.

Instead of sitting around and hoping for the desire to come back, take matters into your own hands. Have you ever heard about responsive desire? It is the concept introduced by dr. Emily Nagoski in her book, “Come As You Are.” This type of desire occurs as a response to sex or erotic stimulation but does not proceed it. 

In my personal experience, planned proves to be as satisfying, as the spontaneous one. This is one of the big reasons why I enjoy the kink lifestyle so much is that planning sex and play is a ‘thing’. It allows you and your partner to start fore-play many days ahead and draws your focus to connection.

Planning sex and intimacy is particularly important if ‘quality time’ and ‘physical tough’ are one of your highest love languages.

6. Role Play

Another reason why I love the kink lifestyle is that, in essence, kink = roles. Even without a fantasy role play for eg. police officer and criminal, you are still taking on a roll (most commonly Dom/sub).

Why does role play work so well?

It allows you to get over your inhibitions
The reason a majority of the people don’t want to try role-playing is that there is a struggle in being overly sexual. Not just that, they are inhibited by what the other person will think of them. While all these fears are natural, you’re forgetting that your partner is probably as excited as you are to try it out. Try and have a frank chat with him, to make sure your insecurities are addressed before you plunge in.

It adds spark to your character
Role play can boost your confidence, make you more aware of your body and also add spark to your character since you’ve tried something refreshing and new, which has probably led to great sex.

and lastly…

It gives you a variety
You can choose who you want to be in the bedroom. From the teacher-student fantasy to the cop-criminal fantasy, or even just pretending that your partner is a random stranger you’re picking up from the bar, you have a variety of options to choose from.

Have fun with it! If you are still struggling, hit me up for some coaching.

7. Explore Tantric Sex

I consider tantra to be one of the best kept, not so secret, secrets.

Practicing Tantric sex can enhance your relationship and your sexual pleasure in several ways. First, emphasising breath and connection creates a deep level of intimate contact. In our modern over-scheduled lives, we rarely stop and intently focus on our partner. This alone can open your heart to feeling closer, more loving, and more forgiving. Second, the slow pace of Tantric lovemaking will allow you to explore the sensual range of your bodies and minds. Put simply, it involves slowing down and enjoying all of the build up to the main event, rather than rushing to get there.

The whole topic of tantra is a thing unto itself. Start Googling.

8. Don’t buy into someone else’s version of a perfect sex life

It needs to suit and be fulfilling you and your partners. This is all that matters.

Remember there is no ideal number of sexual encounters per week, no ‘ideal’ penis length or pussy tightness, no benchmark of how long you should last in bed. Ignore stupid sex statistics. You, not them, are in charge of creating your unique sex life.

Celebrate and cultivate what is satisfying to you. Instead of setting sexual goals, enjoy sex in your relationship by focusing on the pleasure it brings. Just changing your attitude and taking some pressure off yourself can be extremely helpful!

(One thing you may have noticed is that I didnt talk about kinky sex in depth in any area of this blog post.. why? Cos if you are reading my blog you probably already know about kinky sex and how much fun it is!)