Most long-term couples experience something called desire fatigue (the slow decline of sexual connection and/or activity the longer you’re together) but most couples don’t want to accept low desire as an inevitability.
In today’s podcast Gina and Julie explore the common contributors to desire fatigue in relationships and the understanding you need to overcome this very common issue.
On the beginning of a relationship -
“In the beginning you'll stay up all night long having sex even though you have to work in the morning and then go to work without taking a shower and smelling like sex because you don't care. And then over time you say, “Are you kidding me? It's 9:00, I have to go to bed! I have to work in the morning.”
“The emotional intimacy can parallel the sexual intimacy. I know some folks who will stay up all night talking - “Oh you love broccoli, I love broccoli! We have so much in common. This is so exciting!” And then a few years down the road, broccoli isn't as exciting any more”
“Earlier in a relationship we are more invested in our individuality...we are more autonomous and that both fuels me personally, makes me feel confident and alive...and over the course of a relationship I might start stripping away some of those things to spend more time with my partner.”
On the honeymoon stage and chemistry -
“In the beginning there are also the chemicals going off in our body, which are hard to replicate. The brain scan of someone on heroin can look the same as the brain scan of someone who is in love. Love is a drug for a lot of people. And if you know anything about drugs, you need more of a substance to get the same high. How do I get more of you? Eventually, I'm not going to feel as high. And that's a bummer for a lot of folks.”
On the ways desire fades -
“Comfort and stability are very good things for a relationship and many of the practices that build those up, also eat away at the heat portion of the relationship – the mystery, fascination, intrigue.”
“Think about the other areas of your life – your dream job or dream home or dream city or a shiny new car or new toy or cell phone, something that you've been pining for - and you get it and it's awesome, but it's not as awesome for the rest of your life. Part of our nature does that. Something is shiny and new and exciting and over time, it's not that we don't value it any more, we just aren't as lit up by it any more. Those chemicals aren't going off.”
“Some of it is the newness and uncertainty and some of it is that new phone has started wearing sweatpants and watching Netflix every night. Part of it is that we also put more energy into showing up and being present for each other in the beginning.”
On relationships taking work
“Life requires energy. Anything that I want to have in my life long term requires energy and intention.”
“We have this idea that relationships should be easy without work, that causes a lot of us to think we can not invest much energy there, which can then lead to our partner feeling neglected”
Action Steps from the Podcast
Reminisce about one your favorite erotic shared experiences.
Set up a time you can be fully present. And share a story about a time you felt connected and erotic.It doesn’t have to be about sex. Paint a picture with your words. Share the details. What did it feel, smell, sound, look or taste like? This can remind you of a time there was a lot of heat and desire. And it can give you ideas about things you can reinvigorate or bring back from earlier times in your relationship. Take turns. And as the listener, hear your partner with warmth and engagement.
Gina Senarighi, MS, MA, CPC is a sexuality counselor and communication consultant specializing in healthy boundaries, passionate relationships, jealousy, and infidelity. She supports non-traditional couples all over the world as a retreat leader and certified relationship coach.
Connect with Gina
Julie Jeske, LPC is a sex and relationship counselor. She has a private practice where she helps clients increase intimacy, ignite passion and deepen their connection to themselves and others. Julie especially loves to help women discover who they are sexually. Through counseling, online classes, or in-person retreats; her clients learn how to talk about their sexual and relationship desires, and explore ways to make them a reality.
Connect with Julie