IT’S not just headaches – there are officially 78 reasons why couples stop having sex during long-term relationships.
Lack of time, long work hours and plain old bad sex are just some of the niggles that see lust wane, according to a study in Evolutionary Psychology journal.
But you don’t have to give in to the gripes.
Here, our sex expert lists the eight biggest passion-killers and offers tips on how to fix them so you can get back to bed with a bang.
1. Fading enthusiam
IGNORE your friends who boast they are still having sex 36,000 times a week — despite being together since 1982.
Most of us lose interest in making love as the years go by.
In fact, 57 per cent of couples start having less sex after just six months, according to a recent survey by health website zavamed.com.
FIX IT: The best cure for falling out of love with sex is change. Our brain’s excitement levels are fuelled by dopamine, which is boosted by new experiences, so shake things up.
Ban your most-used sex positions.
Swap the predictable bedroom for a more risqué location.
And watch plenty of sexy films and TV shows together to get new ideas you can try out.
2. Feeling crowded
THE second-biggest reason people go off sex is feeling crowded by their partner — that feeling of having to constantly report where you are or what you’re doing.
Lockdown has made this situation worse, with us all feeling like we are on top of each other.
And without some distance, it can be hard for a spark to thrive.
FIX IT: Desire thrives on mystery, not predictability. Reassure your clingy partner that you love them, but set boundaries that allow you each to keep your own life. For example, you do not have to check in every time you are apart.
Try to encourage them to build up their own interests too by being positive about their hobbies and social life.
In bed, make sex intimate and reassuring, by building romance, not just passion.
3. Work zaps energy
LONG working hours can torpedo your sex life, mainly because getting less sleep can dramatically decrease your sex drive.
In one study, men who had just five hours of sleep every night for a week lost 15 per cent of their normal testosterone level — the same decrease usually found after ten to 15 years of ageing.
Women who gained one hour of extra sleep were 14 times more likely to cuddle with their partner the next day.
FIX IT: Schedule sex into your calendar as an urgent appointment, and look for ways to fit it in to your hectic work day.
For example, you could try sharing a steamy shower before you head out in the morning.
If you are working from home, indulge in a lusty lunch hour.
Or if you commute on public transport, use your journey to flirt with messages so you are both in the mood for a happy homecoming the minute you walk in.
4. Bad sex puts you off
MORE than 35 per cent of people in the survey cited “bad sex” as the reason they had lost interest — with more women saying so than men.
It can be hard to get into a sexy mindset when the memory of a disappointing romp the last time around is still fresh in your mind.
FIX IT: The sexiest way to let your partner know what you want in bed is to show them.
Take them on a guided tour of your body, demonstrating how you most like being touched at each area.
Be careful not to imply they have been getting things wrong. Just suggest sure-fire ways they can get everything right.
5. Mismatched libidos
ONE of you wants it twice a night, the other wants it twice a year. Having a different sex drive from your partner is surprisingly common, and can be hard to reconcile — especially when it becomes the elephant in the room.
FIX IT: Couples that took ANY kind of action to address mismatched libidos reported much higher levels of marital satisfaction than those who ignored it, according to a study this year published in the American Archives of Sexual Behavior journal.
Start by talking honestly about how often you want to have sex, and things that put you off, such as chores, work stress or unresolved arguments.
Then agree on things you can do to bridge the gap, such as taking turns to pleasure each other or making time for non-sexual connections, such as hugging and kissing.
6. Different desires
YOU are all Fifty Shades but your partner is strictly vanilla. If you have different expectations of your love life, chances are one of you is going to end up disappointed.
Differing desires can also lead partners to feel they are always compromising, rather than pursuing their own pleasure.
FIX IT: Very few couples’ desires are perfectly in sync. The secret is to find things that satisfy both of you. Talk about what turns you on, from your sexiest books or films to your hottest fantasies and the best sex you have had together. This will help you discover kinky thrills you have in common.
Take turns to surprise each other if you both get off on spontaneity.
If you both love being watched, make a naughty video together.
Recreating a romp you enjoyed when you first met can remind you of why you fell in love, too.
7. Kids tire you out
AFTER a day running round after the children, juggling school runs with work or coping with moody teens, sex can feel like just another job on your To-Do list.
And if it’s right at the bottom of that list, you know it is not going to get done.
FIX IT: It is tempting to devote all your energy to your children, but it is vital that you retain some for your relationship, too.
One study showed that parents in happy relationships agreed with the statement: “My partner focuses as much on our marriage as our children.”
Ask your partner honestly what they believe your priorities are, and vice versa.
If it has all gone a bit child-centric on the home front, decide as a team how you can both find more time for just the two of you.
And then spend most of that time in bed.
8. Not making an effort
LAZINESS in any area of a relationship will show up as a dip in your sex life.
Partnerships work both ways, and if you have given up, you can’t expect your partner to make up the difference.
FIX IT: Psychologically, we are most likely to feel committed to a relationship when we actively give to it — not just presents but time, care and attention, too.
Test this theory by devoting an evening to pleasuring your partner selflessly.
Thinking of your ex… and other don’ts
RESEARCHERS in Cyprus and China surveyed 1,099 people for the Evolutionary Psychology study into what puts couples off sex.
Among the 78 reasons they found were: BOREDOM: People get tired of sleeping with the same person and spending all their time together.
THINKING ABOUT THE EX: Many make comparisons with previous relationships, which becomes a turn-off.
NAGGING: Constantly asking someone to do something is a big no – for both parties.
IN-LAWS: Not getting on with your partner’s family can strain relationships, with negative consequences in the bedroom.
CHEATING: Many simply can’t resist the temptation of having sex outside of the couple.
BEING TOO QUIRKY: Those who are eccentric or have unconventional interests face severe difficulties in keeping relationships going.
SELFISHNESS: Solely thinking about yourself will not turn your partner on.
SOCIAL CIRCLE ISSUES: It’s not good news if couples don’t get on with their partner’s pals.
TAKING FOR GRANTED: Lack of appreciation can increase the longer you have been together – and is a real mood-killer.
Focus on giving them everything they love, from cooking their favourite meal to treating them to their favourite foreplay and position in bed.
Similarly, re- ward your partner when they give things to you, by complimenting them and showing gratitude.
Over time, you will both feel more motivated to make each other happy, which will also boost your own commitment.
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