Yeah, it happens. Desire and passion fade in long-term relationships.
Most of us believe terrible myths about desire; that if we're in love, our sex should be intuited without conversation, consistently fulfilling, and if it waxes and wanes there is a problem in the relationship- and one of us is doing something wrong.
God, it stresses me out just to type that. It's an awful lot of pressure to put on a relationship. The truth is desire does fluctuate in long-term relationships. But if you are unsatisfied with the frequency of quality of sex in your relationship there are some things you can do.
Yeah, this post if about you- not your partner.
All too often the couples I support point fingers at one another.
Finish this statement: I turn myself off when...
Not the same question as "I turn myself off when..." or "you turn me off when..." Both of those questions look outside of you to blame. We all choose to turn ourselves off sometimes. Here are a few examples of responses:
I don't have time for myself
I'm overwhelmed with too much work stress
I'm distracted by the kids
I feel old
I don't believe I deserve pleasure
I don't feel safe
I feel dead inside
I am too busy hating my body
I don't trust you
When do you shut yourself or your desire off? Knowing when gives you a new access point for the conversation about passionate connection.
Now finish this statement: I turn myself on when....
Take a minute and actually write out your responses. When are do you turn yourself on? Learning to turn yourself on will only amplify the desire you feel from others. Here are a few examples of responses:
I am sweaty from a workout
I wear special underwear, shoes, and perfume
I am well-rested
I'm on a dance floor
I am doing something I know I do well
I make people laugh
I'm making music, cooking, painting, or writing
I'm the center of attention
I feel respected
I have space for friends, rest, and play
Learning what fuels your desire is critical to keeping desire alive for two reasons:
1. It helps you feel strong and confident- not clingy. Instead of relying on others to get your needs met, knowing how to meet your own allows you empowered independence instead of codependence.
2. It helps you know what to ask for in partnerships. Once you're clear when you turn yourself on you can set up a life that fuels your inner fire of passion. Create space for the things that turn you on.
These notes are based on a video I recommend to most of my clients. If you want to watch the full TED Talk from Esther Perel check it out below.
And if you want to talk more about passion and desire in your relationship give me a call, I'd love to help you.
Gina Senarighi offers non-judgmental sex-positive, gender-affirming, LGBTQ relationship support online and in the Pacific Northwest.
She often says, “I love love, in all its forms!”
She’s helped thousands of couples deepen their sexual connection, repair trust, and build sustainable lasting partnerships.
She uses her multi-disciplinary professional training to teach communication skills and help her clients handle conflict with compassion.
Gina has supported many couples experimenting with open relationships based in trust and integrity. If you’re considering polyamory you should check out her online resources here.
Although most of her couples are experimenting with less traditional relationship structures, even her more mainstream clients appreciate her open-minded non-judgmental approach and diverse expertise.