Guest post by Coral, your guide to horizontal happiness. Achieve your best intimate life through a mix of science, stories and practical exercises created by experts, curated for you.
As much as we might want to maintain the same level of desire and sexual satisfaction throughout our relationship, it rarely works that way. Life often gets in the way of sex, and if you’re committed to someone or married, it’s hard to keep the spark that initially drew you together alive. The good news? No one expects you to be going at it like rabbits forever. Studies have shown that, while sex frequency is different for every couple, a frequency of once per week proved to be the sweet spot for most people in longterm relationships (1). At Coral we advocate for a quality over quantity approach to our sex lives.
Like many things in life, sex should be about the journey, not the destination.
If you love your partner but not your sex life, there are many issues that can contribute to not experiencing intimacy the way you once did, and knowing how to understand them is half the battle.
Unbalanced Sexual Desire
It’s no surprise that desire changes with age, stress and any number of other variables. You and your partner will likely switch off between wanting more or less sex than the other throughout your lives and relationship. Instead of pushing each other away at these times, it’s important not to blame the other for this discrepancy and instead try to find a middle ground. Effective communication is equated with higher sexual satisfaction (2), so communicating and finding a compromise is important.
The solution will look different for every relationship. The middle ground for the person with higher libido could be pleasuring themselves more often, while the lower libido person could say yes to a once-per-week minimum even if they’re not feeling it.
Mutual masturbation, make-out sessions and massages can also be good compromises when sex feels out of reach. Responsive desire, or when you get in the mood for sex only after physical arousal, is very common and can be helped along by foreplay.
Curious about mutual masturbation but not sure where to begin? Coral’s got you covered.
Infrequent Sexual Desire
While infrequent sex is common sometimes, zero sex should not be the norm. There are plenty of reasons sex drive and effort can be lowered. Medications like antidepressants can impact sexual response, which can lead to a decreased libido. Nearing menopause can also impact desire because of declining hormones.
Work or financial stress is another common hinderance to your sex life. Studies have shown that financial stress is associated with male sexual dissatisfaction (3), and for women, psychological distraction can lead to difficulty orgasming (4). Becoming a parent can also upend your sleep schedule and overall routine, and all these factors are associated with your sex life taking a back seat.
If you can’t immediately identify the reason you’re not getting intimate as often, try taking stock of your whole relationship to see if there’s an issue. An unhappy relationship can lead to an unhappy sex life and vice versa. If this describes you, faking it ’til you make it can actually be a solid approach. By trying to recreate times when you had a healthier sex life, you could create the sex life you want now.
Struggling to understand what’s going on with your desire? Try Coral’s quiz to see what factors are affecting you specifically.
Tips for Better Sex
Whether you’re dating, committed or married, you and your partner know each other the best out of anyone, but that’s not to say you don’t get stuck sometimes and need a little variety to spice things up. Studies show that more rewarding relationships come from great sex (5), so investing in your intimate life can work wonders.
Try a new position if things have gotten dull between you. Talking about it and acting it out can help break the ice and heighten pleasure for both parties. Incorporating a toy like a dildo, vibrator or penis ring can have the same effect and provide more stimulation. It’s been shown again and again that introducing novelty into your sex life can help heighten sexual function, desire, arousal and ultimately orgasm (7).
Looking for something a bit more cerebral? Erotica or porn can serve to give you plenty of stimulating ideas for sex. And sharing fantasies is an excellent way to get to know each other and make things more exciting. Coral can help you get inspired with plenty of tools, how-tos and tips for when you’re feeling unsure. It’s like having a sex coach in your pocket!
Healthy relationships are a result of open and honest communication. Whatever your sexual issue is, by approaching it in a loving and honest way is the first step towards greater intimacy, happiness and satisfaction.
Want more tips for mind-blowing sex? Check out Coral’s guide to upping the novelty in your sex life here.
- Muise, Amy and Schimmack, Ulrich and Impett, Emily. (2015). Sexual Frequency Predicts Greater Well-Being, But More is Not Always Better. Social Psychological and Personality Science. 7.10.1177.
- Kristen P. Mark and Kristen N. Jozkowski (2012): The Mediating Role of Sexual and Nonsexual Communication Between Relationship and Sexual Satisfaction in a Sample of College-Age Heterosexual Couples, Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy.
- Allsop, David B.; Hill, E. Jeffrey; LeBaron, Ashley B.; and Bean, Roy A., “Sex and Money: Exploring How Sexual and Financial Stressor, Perceptions and Resources Influence Marital Instability for Men and Women” (2017). FHSS Mentored Research Conference. 311.
- Tavares, Ines Margarida Matos. “The Relationship Between Sexual Stimulation and Female Orgasm: The Mediator and Moderator Roles of Psychological Variables.” University of Porto, 2016.
- E. Sandra Byers (2005) Relationship satisfaction and sexual satisfaction: A longitudinal study of individuals in long‐term relationships, The Journal of Sex Research, 42:2, 113-118.
- “Role of Partner Novelty in Sexual Functioning: A Review.” Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, vol. 41, 15 Sept. 2014.
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