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There’s nothing wrong with candles and baths — or, for that matter, lingerie and scented oils. “Those are all stand-ins for the little signals most couples have,” says Epstein. “Most couples’ signals are subtler: being in bed and awake at the same time, reaching out to one another on a weekend morning, making some gesture.”

You may pine for the days of spontaneity that you enjoyed when your relationship was young — making love at odd hours, in the least likely places, just because you felt like it. But if you have small children, and two careers, and the usual laundry list of responsibilities, the chances of you spontaneously hooking up without some planning are about like the chance of your playing in the NBA — when you’re over 40. And white. It takes a little doing to have a passion in marriage.

There is nothing wrong with planning to have sex, is there? Thinking about it ahead of time might just get you in the mood, just as thinking about what you’re going to eat before you go to a good restaurant only whets the appetite.

“People have to get in the habit of making time to be sexual in the same way they make time for everything else that’s good in life,” says Weston. “Some people will just sit and let the hours wash over them in front of the TV rather than do something that takes a bit of energy and a bit of intention. You have to kind of get conscious about what you’re doing.”

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Sometimes a man’s lack of desire is really about something else. “In those situations there is often something going on that is unexpressed or unknown, says Mark Epstein, MD, a psychiatrist in private practice in Manhattan and the author ofOpen To Desire: Embracing a Lust for Life.

Most often, Epstein says, that lack of attraction stems from anger. Perhaps your anger is misplaced; perhaps you are angry at her because you are not attracted to her. You can get to the source of your anger and beyond in therapy. But getting down to getting down is the relationship equivalent of advanced physics.

“You have to be able to experience conflicting feelings, or difficult feelings,” says Epstein of the rapprochement process. “If you are holding yourself back all the time, you don’t have to face what you might be feeling. But if you get close to her in bed, if you get aroused, there might be a lot of conflicting stuff that comes up. You want to be with her, you want to make her happy — but you are angry with her.” To get past the anger, and on to the fun part, you have to be willing to let down your guard, and let love in.

Those same darn women’s magazines often offer intimacy as the tonic to save the foundering sex life. You’ve drifted apart, the logic goes. Take interest in his life, his work, his recreation — even if it’s watching retired athletes yelling at each other on cable. But there is a fine line between being cared for and being crowded — and the latter is definitely a buzz kill.

“Sometimes too much closeness stifles desire,” says Esther Perel, a licensed marriage and family therapist in Manhattan and author of Mating in Captivity: Reconciling the Erotic and the Domestic. “Separateness is a precondition for connection. When intimacy collapses into fusion, it is not a lack of closeness but too much closeness that impedes desire,” she tells WebMD. Don’t call each other ten times a day, she cautions, and don’t ask each other about every little thing. “These questions turn intimacy into surveillance.”

And don’t be so sure that you know that woman that you’re with. In her work with couples, Weston has found that people don’t always know what creates sexual arousal in their long-term partner.

“I try and lay out their own idiosyncrasies — what ‘does it’ for them or what did it for them when they were younger and first dating,” she says. “There is often a moment of revelation: ‘I always thought you liked that!’ Or, ‘I always thought you hated that!’ And it’s often based on something the other person said 18 years ago when you tried something once. So they closed off one portion of sexual experimentation or behavior because of one errant comment.”

A lot can happen in those intervening years. Isn’t it time you found out what’s going on beneath the surface?

 

In dealing with people who have been married or together for a while, she has found that familiarity breeds — if not contempt — then at least too much familiarity. “Sometimes with a long-term partner, a person feels like they know every freckle on that other person’s body,” she says. The solution may lie in exploring the unfamiliar — though not necessarily.

“For some people, predictability is very exciting,” cautions Weston. “You have to figure out if you’re a ‘surprise’ or ‘predictability’ person. If you’re a surprise person, asking your partner to surprise you is a good first step. If you’re a predictability person, and there is something predictably bad or neutral about your sexual experience, getting some changes in there can be a positive thing.”

By: Sean Elder, WebMd

You can still rekindle passion and improve your sex life in a low-sex marriage.

Generally speaking, magazine articles about how to improve your sex life — especially in marriage or a long-term relationship — contain the same advice: candles, hot baths and soft music are often invoked.

That may be because these “better sex” stories are a staple of women’s magazines. I don’t know about you, but candles always make me think of church, baths are something my mother made me take, and soft music reminds me of going to the dentist. Definite turn-offs all.

But how do you regain the passion in your relationship when you feel it’s slipping away? Is it possible? Or when that train has left the station, is it too late to bring it back?

“A lot of people get to that point and have to decide what to do about it,” says Louanne Cole Weston, PhD, a marriage and family therapist and board-certified sex therapist in Fair Oaks, California. “Novelty is sexually interesting to most people — not always to the point that they will act on it, but the idea has a little bit of a thrill to it, for men or women.”

The following posts will go into detail about sex in marriage.

From WebMd.com

by: Bill Hendrick

It may be common for couples to have sex before marriage, but a new study shows that couples who wait until marriage are happier with the quality of sex than couples who have intercourse before their vows.

What’s more, couples who delay sex until their wedding night have more stable and happier marriages than couples who have premarital sex, according to the study, which appears in the Journal of Family Psychology.

The study involved 2,035 married participants in an online assessment of marriage called “RELATE.” According to the study, people who waited until marriage:

  • rated sexual quality 15% higher than people who had premarital sex
  • rated relationship stability as 22% higher
  • rated satisfaction with their relationships 20% higher

The benefits were about half as strong for couples who became sexually active later in their relationships but before marriage.

Developing Relationship Skills

“Most research on the topic is focused on individuals’ experiences and not the timing within a relationship,” study author Dean Busby, PhD, a professor in Brigham Young University’s School of Family Life, says in a news release. “There’s more to a relationship than sex, but we did find that those who waited longer were happier with the sexual aspects of their relationship.”

It may be that couples report greater satisfaction and sexual quality if they’ve waited because the extra time gives them longer to learn about each other and develop the skills necessary for good relationships, Busby says.

About 92% of the respondents had attended college, 32% completed some college, 24% obtained a bachelor’s degree, and the average age was 36. The majority of the couples had sex within two months of starting to date, while 16% delayed intercourse until marriage.

Prioritizing Sex at Start of Relationship May Not Be Optimal

Mark Regnerus, PhD, of the University of Texas, who wasn’t involved with the study, says it suggests to him that couples who “prioritize sex promptly at the outset of a relationship often find their relationships underdeveloped when it comes to the qualities that make relationships stable and spouses reliable and trustworthy.”

He is the author of a forthcoming book titled “Premarital Sex in America,” being published by Oxford University Press.

Busby and colleagues controlled for the influence of religious involvement in their analysis because it often plays a role on when couples choose to initiate sex. “Regardless of religiosity, waiting helps the relationship form better communication processes, and these help improve long-term stability and relationship satisfaction,” Busby says.

The study says 21% of respondents were Catholic, 39% Protestant, 6% Latter-Day Saints (Mormon), 17% members of “another religion,” and 17% who indicated no religious affiliation. The authors write that sexual intimacy in the early stages of dating is sometimes viewed as an important part of testing compatibility, and determining whether a relationship would work later on.

But the researchers say their findings are clear, that “the longer a couple waited to become sexually involved, the better that sexual quality, relationship communication, relationship satisfaction and perceived relationship stability was in marriage …”

 

Trying the following “true” aphrodisiacs will add some spice:

  1. Show Some Heart: Noted author Ingrid Trobisch says, “The greatest erogenous zone in a woman’s body is her heart.” We think this should be true of women and men alike. Sex was never meant to be a single act of expression or feeling. On the contrary, gentleness, understanding, acts of kindness, and self-sacrifice all combine to become the building blocks of sexual satisfaction. Sex is about joining with your partner, as God designed, for warmth, intimacy, and bonding. Study Song of Solomon 7:10–13; Proverbs 5:15–19; 1 Corinthians 7:3–5; Hebrews 13:4.
  2. Take Some Time: African writer Ernestine Banyolak illustrates beautifully the concept of time in lovemaking. Husbands and wives must take the time—not just during sex—to show their spouse they care and love him or her.
  3. The Lost Art of Touch: Most sex therapists agree that meaningful touching is the gateway to helping couples bond emotionally and physically. Unfortunately, after the marriage vows, many forget or don’t take time to simply touch one another—give back rubs, hold hands, kiss, hug, and caress. These acts, if remembered often, will serve to draw you closer to enhance intimacy.
  4. Communication: Great lovers are great communicators. Good sex speaks clearly and gently about caring for, accepting, and valuing your spouse. Be sure to express your heartfelt needs and feelings. Openly share your love before, during, and after lovemaking.
Here are some suggestions for seeking mutual pleasure when creating an intimate marital relationship:
  • To experience long-lasting passion in marriage, couples must focus their sexual times together on delighting in each other’s body. Arousal, intercourse, and orgasm do not measure sexual satisfaction, but result when pleasure is the focus.
  • If pleasure is the sole focus of sex in marriage, instead of marital intimacy or mutual happiness, the couple misses the mark.
  • The couple has to accept their differences as a man and a woman— the husband’s more predictable constancy and the ever-changing complexity of the woman. Then sex will be more interesting, less goal-oriented, less pressure-filled, and more deeply satisfying.
  • Western culture glorifies spontaneity. However, for most couples, the anticipation of planned sexual times builds quality, and the secure scheduling of those times increases quantity. Put simply, setting aside specific times for pleasure means more great sex.
  • True passion and great sex do not just happen. Yet by affirming God’s design and pursuing mutual pleasure and sexual fulfillment, couples will discover the sexual satisfaction God intended for them in marriage.
  • God made us sexual beings and has placed within us the capacity to enjoy a healthy, physical bonding relationship. He doesn’t prevent it—we do!
  • When expressed as God desires, sex can be one of the most romantic and loving experiences a husband and wife can share.

 

The first step in creating great intimacy in marriage is finding mutual fulfillment. Here are some ways to do that:
  • Husbands and wives must consistently practice the concept of mutuality—mutual respect and mutual responsibility—in their sexual relationship. When there is a spirit of mutuality, passion will be expressed, sexual freedom discovered, and true “oneness” fulfilled.
  • Sexually speaking, men and women are different. Women function on two tracks—the emotional track and the physical track. For a woman to be sexually aroused, these two tracks must intersect.
  • Essentially men function on one track or they have the emotional and physical reversed. This means that when physically aroused, men will almost always be emotionally ready to have sex. It is also true that (in general) women open up sexually when they feel connected with their husband, while men connect emotionally and open up through sex and physical touch.
  • Because of these differences, a husband must start the process of discovering mutual sexual fulfillment by connecting with his wife. A husband’s love, adoration, and connection will help ignite his wife’s sexual passion. He feels loved by her positive response to his advances and they both end up fulfilled.
  • A woman’s responsibility is to receive her husband’s affirmation and lead by invitation, as did the bride in the Song of Solomon. For a woman to do this, she has to believe she is worthy and has a right to be sexual. She has to know that her body was designed for her sexual satisfaction.
  • When the husband connects lovingly with his wife and the wife embraces her sexuality and shares it with her husband, a platform for mutual fulfillment is created.

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