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Q. I am 42 and have been in a relationship with a man of the same age for almost 5 years. We do not live together and since I have two kids our “alone time” can be limited.
In the last two years, our sex life has dwindled down to only once every few months. He never really seems interested. I know there is no one else, and he says he functions fine when he is alone. But somehow our exciting and passionate sex life has disappeared and left boring occasional sex in its place.
Also, even though I enjoy and am willing to perform orally for him, he has never for me. He said he just doesn’t like that. Said the smell and taste bothers him. But he also hardly ever touches my breasts (which I must say are quite nice and rather large) and never touches my crotch or fingers me (which I love!). It is like he is afraid to touch me there!
What do you make of this? I’m dying over here! We love each other so much, but I have tried everything I can think of to fix this and nothing seems to affect him! I was married at 19 for 17 years. I have dealt with the ups and downs of attraction, but nothing like this! Can you help?
A. This may or may not be comforting to hear, but you’re not alone. At some point, every couple’s sex life shifts from mind-blowing to meh (i.e.,the sex is connective and comfortable, but it’s lost its toe-curling pizzazz).
When this happens, a there are a few avenues to take, depending on what works for your relationship.
This too shall pass. Despite what romance novels and Hollywood RomComs teach us, sexual intimacy ebbs and flows. If all else is solid in your love for one another, it’s likely that you both can see this downtime as an “ebb” period and let it be.
Of course, it’s easy to become alarmist about it and freak out. This is it! We’ll never have fabulous sex again! Red alert! But likely, you will reconnect, it will just take some time. How long? I’d bring it up if the “boring” sex continues for more than a month.
Go with the flow. There are couples who accept the passing of passion as a milestone. The vibrant sexual electricity between partners serves as a foundation for healthy long-term intimacy. Once it passes (except for the occasional resurge), it’s gone. But that doesn’t mean the relationship is dying! It means you’ve moved into a new phase of being with one another.
At this point, other aspects of intimacy can be explored. What other ways besides all-consuming carnal passion can you indulge in together? Sometimes that’s as simple as a hot bath, deep kissing or holding hands on the street.
Do a sex reboot. If neither of the above applies to your situation, you and your partner could benefit from a sex reboot. Just like a computer stuck in a glitching loop, a sex reboot gives us the chance to wipe the slate clean and begin again.
Step 1: Shut down. This means letting go of past experiences, particularly those that involved a less-than-ideal sex life.
Step 2: Restart. Sit down with your partner and have a good talk about your concerns. Choose a time that you are both relaxed and able to talk without interruption. If that seems impossible, remind yourself how important this is to your relationship. You’ll find the time. And if you can’t find it, you’ll make it.
Step 3: Reset the system. In your case, it sounds like you have a few predominant concerns to discuss with your man—the lack of alone time, the absence of passion and your specific sexual need for oral sex and to be touched in places that arouse you. Perhaps the lowest hanging fruit here is passion.
Step 4: Sign on. After five years, it could be that your partner has become accustomed to less sexual intimacy than you’d desire. The only way to find out if this is the case is to talk to him. Find out what his needs are, share your needs, and see if you can’t come up with a mutually pleasurable middle way.
Step 5: Open a new program. A great way to rekindle passion is to return to the love you shared when your sex life was as you wanted it to be. Since time travel hasn’t been invented yet, the best way to recreate that time is to create the scene. Even though you have children, I’m sure you found ways to slip away and create sacred one-on-one time with your partner. Do that again. It may seem awkward at first, but if you both enter the exercise with the health of your relationship in mind, you’ll get into the playfulness of it.
Step 6: Adjust your usage. It could be that when you came together for sex you were not entirely comfortable expressing your needs. Since you’ve decided to reboot, those concerns are no longer applicable. You’ve both agreed that the health of your relationship is of vital importance, and that means both of you should receive the amount and type of pleasure you need. If oral sex is essential to you, but “the smell and taste bother him,” take some extra steps to accommodate him. Taking a bath together beforehand is one idea. If that’s not feasible, you can always clean yourself thoroughly on your own. There are also flavored lubes that he might enjoy. Before you do anything, I suggest you read my article, “When Oral Sex Sucks.” If he doesn’t touch you where or how you like, teach him. Do it with love. Move his hands where you want them. Make telling him what you like part of your sex talk. We all get turned on by seeing (or hearing) our partner surrender to pleasure. If he’s doing something that feels good, tell him that too.
Step 7: Keep up the maintenance. Your relationship requires loving attention on a regular basis. Make sure that you don’t lose focus of your intention to create sacred alone time. As a mother with a partner myself, I know how easy it is to overlook this step—and how fast complacency with the mundane can set in. It takes effort to make time for your relationship (it is its own entity, after all), but it’s more than worth it.
Regardless of your living situation, your relationship is a living being. Treat it with care and respect, as you both treat each other. You’ll find that once you do, all three of you will thrive.
Author: Rachel Astarte
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina