Sex in a marriage changes a lot over the course of a long-term relationship, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse.

When couples first get together, sex typically happens more frequently than at any other time in a relationship. As the relationship progresses, sometimes sex does not. In the beginning, everything is carefree and wonderful and it’s easy to have loving and sexual feelings towards your partner.

But when you have been married for 10 years, have 3 screaming children under the age of 5, and are tens of thousands of dollars in debt, things are not so carefree and wonderful anymore. Sex in a marriage just isn’t always easy to maintain.

Struggling with sex problems in a marriage? Ready to improve your sex life? Wondering how to keep sex interesting in a long term relationship? Keep reading for our favorite tips on how to improve your sex life.

Why Sex in a Marriage Can Be a Challenge

There are a lot of factors that can impact sex in a marriage. Things like pregnancy and having small children at home can definitely put a damper on a couple’s’ sex life, but so can the everyday routine of life. The increase in stress and frustration with life, in general, can lead to decreased satisfaction in your relationship and decreased sexual feelings towards your partner.

Many couples describe being too exhausted to even think about sex let alone initiate it enough to have a good sex life. Their schedule is so packed, they can never fully unwind enough to even get in the mood. Other couples report being bored with sex and unsure how to approach the topic with their partner or how to keep sex interesting.

Sex problems in a marriage or other problems arising in the relationship can be another reason sex sometimes decreases (or even stops entirely) in long-term relationships. If you are constantly fighting with your partner, you probably aren’t going to be in the mood to sleep with them very often. It’s challenging to feel attracted to the person who just screamed at you about some trivial issue. Conflict can be a major cause for couples experiencing no sex in a marriage.

This is especially true for women. When things aren’t great in the relationship, men are more likely to want to continue having sex whereas women are not (though this is not always true and men can definitely be the lower sex drive partner). Many men experience sex as a way to connect and repair the relationship whereas women may see it as a perk of a happy, healthy relationship rather than a solution. Many women need closeness and connection to want to have sex. Of course, this is a generalization and not true in all cases, but it may resonate for you.

Another issue that couples often address in online couples therapy is how to keep sex exciting in marriage. After several years, many couples find themselves in a rut sexually. Foreplay always starts the same way, they have sex in the same positions, say and do the same things to each other, and then roll over and go to sleep afterward. While there is some comfort in familiarity and it’s nice to have a partner who knows exactly what you like, it’s also nice to have some mystery and switch it up a bit, even with sex in a long term relationship.

So, what can you do to keep sex interesting? Follow these tips.

How to Keep Sex in a Marriage Interesting

Sex in a marriage isn't always easy. But online couples therapy can help.

1. Switch it up

Get creative with your sex if you want to improve your sex life. Try new positions, bring sex toys into the bedroom, initiate sex at different times of the day, try role-playing, watch pornography together, read an erotic novel together, go to a Tantra workshop together or look at a Kama Sutra book and pick something new to try at least 1x/month. In other words, do anything that is different from your normal routine. 

This will probably require some conversation ahead of time to make sure your partner is on the same page as you and willing to explore. Just remember that trying new and novel experiences as a couple is bonding. So even if you try a role play and end up finding it more awkward and funny than sexy, you’re still doing something great for your relationship – and for a good sex life – by sharing a new experience together. 

Try to go into each new sexual experience with no expectations of how it will go and no attachment to the outcome. Just focus on having fun and being in your body and see what happens. A lack of spontaneity toward sex in a marriage is often one of the most common issues couples face – trying new things can help overcome that challenge!

2. Commit to making sex in a marriage a priority

As your lives get busier, it becomes easy to put sex in a marriage on the back burner. The problem is, when you do that for too long, you may find yourself or your partner feeling disconnected and suddenly realize you have some major relationship issues to work out. 

Many couples find it awkward to initiate sex after going a long time without having it. If you’re at that point, you may find yourself holding back even if you do feel like initiating. Rather than allow the awkwardness to continue to hinder sex in a long term relationship, address it. Ask your partner how they would feel if you were to initiate sex sometime and how they feel about the fact that you two haven’t been having sex as often as before.

If your partner also wants to improve your sex life and increase sexual activity in the relationship, suggest that you both commit to having sex a certain number of times per week or per month and rotate who is responsible for initiating. 

Often, the partner who has the higher sex drive is the one initiating (and getting rejected) all the time. This is a lot of responsibility for one person to carry in the relationship and it’s not fair for them to have to carry the weight of maintaining your sex life as a couple. 

Once you have agreed on how many times per week or month you will have sex, follow through with it, no matter how busy or how tired you are.

3. Realize that sex in a marriage is not just about sex.

As I mentioned earlier, especially for men, sex in a marriage is about feeling connected to their partner and being intimate. Many men in long-term relationships say they feel most connected to their wives during and after sex. 

Unfortunately, many women have to feel connected emotionally before they want to have sex. Herein lies the difficulty; men need sex to feel connected and women need to feel connected to want sex.

What’s the solution to having more sex in a marriage? Make sure you set aside time to connect in both ways. Men; do the dishes after dinner, pour your wife or girlfriend a glass of wine and have a conversation with her, making sure you really listen to everything she is saying. Ask questions, make eye contact, hold her hand as she talks. 

In fact, here are 82 fun questions you can ask your partner to get this party started. Connecting with your partner in this way is the real foreplay. Next, bring her to the bedroom, light some candles, put on some sexy music and offer to give her a massage. By the time you are halfway through the massage, she will be fully relaxed and focused on how good it feels to be seduced by you.

Women, when your husband initiates sex, even if you aren’t in the mood, realize that this is his way of saying “I want to be close to you” and see if you can figure out a way to get in the mood rather than just shutting him down. 

Most people find that once they are actually in it, they enjoy sex. You can even make getting you in the mood a game by saying something like “I’m not in the mood but I bet you could change that 😉 I’m at a 2 on the arousal scale right now. Think you can get me to a 10?” Most men love a good challenge.  

Struggling with sex in a marriage? Online couples therapy can help.

4. Jumpstart your sex life with your partner

If you’ve been in a rut and not as sexually active as you would like to be, a great way to get back into the swing of things is with the 7 Days of Sex Challenge. Commit to having sex for 7 days in a row no matter what. No is not an option for these 7 days (barring extenuating circumstances like sickness or an emergency). 

You’ll probably find out that it’s easier than you think to make sex in a marriage happen when you are both committed to it. You also might find that it’s easier than you think to get in the mood when you don’t allow yourself an out. You may even get a little more creative with when and how you do it over the course of the 7 days. The best part of the challenge is committing to reaching a goal as a couple and following through with it.

5. Communicate properly with your partner about sex in a marriage

This one may seem obvious but it is so important to talk to your partner if you are dissatisfied and are looking for ways to improve your sex life. There are ways to have this conversation without hurting your partner’s feelings. He or she might be feeling the same way but is afraid to bring it up too. It’s normal to get in a sexual rut during a long-term relationship – you’re certainly not the only couple to wonder how to spice up sex in a long term relationship! 

There are many ways to overcome sex problems in a marriage and they all start with a conversation. To help you get the conversation started, we created these 29 questions to rekindle your sex life.

Need More Help with Sex in a Marriage?

We hope these tips give you a great start toward discovering how to keep sex interesting in a relationship.

But if you’re still struggling with sex in a marriage, personalized support could be the best next step. At Couples Learn, we offer a variety of online couples therapy services, online individual therapy services and online sex therapy services.

For more personalized support in this area, schedule a free 30 minute consultation with one of our therapists today!

Sex in a marriage or other long-term relationship can be challenging, but online sex therapy can help.