Do you remember the anticipation of going on a date with your future spouse and how desperately you desired one another? And how the sexual tension seemed to mount as you moved toward marriage? Today you may be wondering, "Where's our energy and desire for sex now?"
After 20 years as sex therapists, we're convinced that good sex in marriage doesn't "just happen." Couples who keep the sexual spark glowing through the changing stages of marriage are those who are deliberate about their sexual relationship.
Setting the Stage
Vibrant married sex depends in part on getting off to a good start. Newlyweds must compare and work through their conflicting expectations. The most common surprises couples face are differences regarding how often they have sex and who initiates it. If couples discuss and negotiate their differences, they can avoid a good deal of frustration and confusion.
A few possible solutions to differences in desire are: compromise on frequency; the husband brings his wife pleasure with or without release, even if he doesn't feel the need himself; the two can cuddle while the husband or wife bring him release; increase the amount of nonerotic cuddling; or enjoying sexual intimacy without intercourse or orgasm.
Surprisingly, couples often think they are arguing about frequency when the real issue relates to who initiates sex. In therapy, when we ask spouses how often each of them initiates sex, a common response is that the husband initiates sex 90 percent of the time and the wife 10 percent. And yet when we ask the same couple how often they each desire sex, he answers three to four times a week, and she says two to three times a week. Frequency isn't the issue, so what's going on?1