Keeping Up Good Sex in Long Term Relationships: Top 4 Ways  

For most couples, the beginning of a relationship is marked by a sense of intense passion, and it isn’t hard to keep up an active sex life marked by novelty, intense arousal, and mutual satisfaction. This is important as couples forge a bond and attach to one another. In fact, the drive to forge a sexual connection is so powerful at the start of a relationship that many people have a hard time thinking of much else beyond the desire to connect with their new partner. We know that as routine settles in with a relationship’s longevity, sex loses the novelty and passion of its earlier days, and can become less of a regular event for many couples. If sex starts becomes too infrequent, or begins to lack arousal and satisfaction, the relationship can suffer. Lack of intimacy often results from a lack of communication, leading to confusion from both partners. Thankfully, there are ways to keep up a healthy sexual relationship with a longterm partner, and maintain good sex in long term relationships.

Top 4 Ways to Keep Up Good Sex Long Term  

Sex doesn’t exist in a vacuum, but rather is part of a whole. Here are four ways to keep up the relationship connection that will impact a couple having good sex regularly. Note that these ways are not in any particular order. Depending on your relationship dynamics, these tips could be equally beneficial, or some might work better for either or both of you at any given time. Use them how they will best work for you.

1)    Routine Touch. Touch releases oxytocin, colloquially called the “love hormone” or even the “connection hormone,” and is fundamental to human connection, and thriving. As such, when you take the time – even a few seconds – to integrate regular physical connection with each other, you ignite your connection as a couple. Babies need for skin-to-skin contact. The army wife whose husband is stationed abroad for six months misses his hugs. Widows and widowers report missing the touch of their late loved ones.   To maintain habitual touching, here are some ideas: Cup your hand on his shoulder before he leaves for work. Come over and give her a hug after she sits down to relax after a full day. Just cuddle up together even if you’re both checking your email on your respective tablets. Sit right up close to each other when you eat dinner. Make sure you touch when you are in the bed together. Getting into a regular habit of literally feeling close will serve to continually kindle warmth between you.

2)    Novelty. Doing the out-of-the-ordinary as a couple is a key to retaining excitement in your relationship. In fact, renowned brain researcher Helen Fisher, who focuses on romantic love, says novelty releases dopamine, a hormone and neurotransmitter associated with feelings of pleasure. Try new things, mix up your routine, and look for ways to do novel things. One surefire way for couples to have novelty in their lives is to schedule time together where you can do new things together. Schedule a date night weekly, or at least biweekly, and don’t do the same thing every time. Make sure to mix it up and fill your dates with novelty. . If creativity isn’t your thing, just open up the weekend section of your local paper to get ideas.We might think of novelty as a sort of guilty pleasure, but if we instead view novelty as a necessary facet of our relationship, the guilt is allayed. Novelty doesn’t have to mean spending money either. For a quick novelty boost, drive home together a different way, take a walk in a different neighborhood, try a new activity together. Novelty is not only fun, it’s bonding.

3)    Conversation. Couples often feel remorse that they don’t get to speak to each other meaningfully on a regular basis. Make sure to take the time, even if it’s 20 minutes, to really connect with purposeful conversation. Instead of, “How was your day?” ask, “What did you like about your day?” Also offer phrases like, “I missed you when…” or, “I thought about you when…” as a form of connecting your separate lives together. In addition, look for ways to offer compliments to your partner – even flirtatiously. The act of giving a complement has been shown to drive up happiness, in you, and your partner. Converse in ways that you continue to get to know each other, and to be known by being verbally vulnerable with your partner.   Another idea for conversation is to learn interesting subjects together (or even teach each other) and then have a discussion. With both types of conversation, you forge connection by speaking with each other.

4)    Sex, Sex, Sex. Want to have good sex? Have it! Believe it or not, sexual activity is one of the most important things we can do in our relationships to keep our attachment. Even if you haven’t been able to connect as much with regular touch, novel activities, or even conversation, there’s no reason not to have sex for the sake of it. The stimulation of sexual organs will trigger the release of oxytocin, dopamine, and testosterone just on its own. This cocktail of neurotransmitters allows for you to pair sex with your partner with feelings of attachment (oxytocin), pleasure (dopamine), and arousal (testosterone).   Sex might need to be scheduled – literally, as in making an appointment on the calendar. Sex does not need to be left as spontaneous – given the reality of routine, if most longterm couples waited for spontaneity, they would end up not having sex much at all! So go for it.And do make sure to talk openly about your sexual needs and desires to ensure mutual individual satisfaction and satisfaction as a couple. This open communication is bonding, as well.  

While the above points are delineated separately, they all interplay with each other. The more connective strategies a couple employs, the more their sex life might reflect it. The idea is to make connecting in your relationship central to your routine as a couple. By touching warmly, engaging in novelty together, conversing connectedly, and making sure to maintain regularly-scheduled physical intimacy, you are well on your way toward having a well-rounded relationship, including satisfying, good sex.

To hear more on how to keep up good sex in your relationship, check out this video, where I sat in with Anthropologist and Human Behavior Researcher Helen Fisher, YourTango Experts VP Melanie Gorman, Marriage and Family Therapist and Consultant SaraKay Smullens, and Relationship Retreat Guide Mary Ellen Goggin.

Looking for more help in understanding relationship anxiety? Learn more about my book Hack Your Anxiety and access free tools to help you manage the fear and anxiety going around the world today.

Alicia H. Clark, PsyD