But if, when you stop to think about it, either you or your partner find your intimacy lacking, then it’s time to get to the root of the issue. It’s easy to get distracted with life, and it’s even easier to blame your sexual struggles on being busy or tired or in the middle of some huge life event. And all of these are valid challenges. You’re allowed to be tired and busy and stressed; I get it!
I’d argue, however, that pushing sex under the table and ignoring it until you’re less busy or tired or stressed isn’t going to work, because news flash: life doesn’t slow down. Part of a partnership is being able to be flexible, complement your partner and work together to approach what life throws at you. We need to learn how to apply that flexibility to our sexual intimacy.
So ask yourselves, ‘How does sex fit into our lives right now?' Then, talk openly with your partner; use “I” statements.
Example: ‘When I have sex with you, I feel safe and connected. I’ve noticed you haven’t been in the mood recently. I want to make you feel good, too. Can we talk about figuring out a solution that works for both of us?’
Example: ‘I know we’ve both been busy and haven’t had many opportunities to be intimate recently. That’s okay, and can we put aside some time on X day to spend together?’
Example: ‘I want to talk to you about why I’ve turned down sex recently. I’ve been struggling with X’. I’m sorry if you felt shut out, and I still want you to feel satisfied in our relationship. Can we work through this and brainstorm some ideas?’
I watched a TED talk by Emily Nagoski recently, and she gave the best sexual metaphor I’ve ever heard. She says planning for and having sex in a long-term relationship is like going to a party.
You accept the invitation, but as the event gets closer, you start to dread it. I mean, being social is so much WORK and it’s much nicer to go back home and put on your PJs after a long day. But, Nagoski says, you should go home and ‘put on your party clothes.' Because, once you’re at the party, you remember why you accepted the invitation in the first place and have a great time. You don’t even think about your stressful work stuff or how you look.
If you value sexual intimacy in your relationship, make sure you keep it a priority. Remind yourself and your partner why you value that connection and why you both enjoy it. Communicate openly and don’t assign blame. Put on your party clothes — also known as your birthday suit, or lingerie of your choice.