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Lack of Sexual Desire in a Long-Term Relationship

A romantic relationship between two people develops through multiple stages. The beginning is full of passion and the feeling of butterflies in the stomach. After a while, the excitement fades, and the relationship falls into a routine. Lack of sexual desire in a long-term relationship is a common issue, but you can quickly light up your intimate life.

At the beginning of a new romantic relationship, everything is fresh and exciting. You're discovering a new person, learning about their hobbies and personality, falling in love. But after some time has passed, the passion and energy you felt at first transform into companionship. Daily routine overcomes sexual desire. Many couples struggle to bring sexual energy back into the bedroom.

Sexual compatibility

Sexuality is a part of each person's personality, and, as we all are different, our sexual needs vary. Sex drive, or libido, is one's desire for sexual experiences. You and your partner may have very different sex drives. Levels of desire also change with age and throughout a relationship.

Both men and women experience libido rollercoaster. At the beginning of a relationship, partners tend to want sex more often, but over time even sex can move down on the priority list. And that's completely normal. A couple's focus shifts from tearing each other's clothes off to sharing a home, raising kids, and building a life together.

When does the lack of sexual desire become a problem?

Each couple is different, some people have sex every day, while for others a few times a month are enough. Comparing yourself to others is meaningless. If you and your partner are happy with your sex life, you have a healthy sex life, even if you may not be having sex regularly. 


If a lack of sexual desire is affecting your relationship or causes you to worry, pay attention. Perhaps your partner doesn't want sex as much as you do, or vice versa. Couples who haven't had sex in years may find that the intimacy they once enjoyed is slowly fading.

The first step is to figure out the reason behind it. Often the libido is affected by something not directly linked to sex.


Reasons you may experience low libido include:

  • Medications such as birth control, steroids, antidepressants, and reproductive hormones can affect your sex drive.
  • Health problems such as diabetes, cancer, reproductive surgeries, and hormonal imbalance (in both men and women) are challenging and can influence sexual desire.
  • Stress and anxiety also influence sexual appetite. For instance, during the COVID-19 pandemic, many couples have struggled to enjoy their sex lives, although they have had more free time together.
  • Pregnancy and breastfeeding change a woman's hormones. After giving birth, the hormones involved in female reproductive functions—estrogen and progesterone—drop to their pre-pregnancy levels, affecting a woman's desire for sex.
  • Age also decreases the appetite for sex. Hormone levels drop in both men and women, lowering the sex drive.

If one or more of the reasons above explain your lack of desire, steps can be taken to improve your sex life. If the problem is psychological instead of physical, seeing a sex therapist may help you figure out what's going on.

But more often than not, loss of sexual energy comes down to a routine. Routine simply isn't arousing.

Routine in a long-term relationship

There is no universal set of rules for intimate relationships. Some couples bask in honeymoon bliss for many years, while others fall into a routine after a few months together. In most cases, partners establish routines once they start sharing responsibilities. Instead of trying to impress each other with sexy clothes and exciting experiences, we retreat to our comfort zones as other aspects of life demand more attention. 

How can we avoid routine in long-term relationships?

Appreciate the maturity of love. Once a couple has passed through the first stage of excitement when you can't keep your hands off each other, and through the settling in phase of getting comfortable and starting to build a stable relationship, there comes a new stage of growth and learning.

In the third stage, you begin to see the ugly truths about your partner and yourself. To make it through, you'll have to work on your rough edges and recognize that your partner isn't responsible for your happiness.

Then comes the fourth stage when comfort returns at a new level, but it also tends to be the time when you fall into a routine and clarify your roles in the relationship. Many couples get stuck here, and it's often the stage at which sex becomes less frequent.

But there is more if you're willing—the beauty and freedom of unconditional love. At this stage in a relationship, both partners are emotionally secure. They enjoy companionship without feeling they have to protect themselves or limit the other. Some couples can rekindle their passion for each other in a mature relationship, while for others, this is less important.

Appreciating the stages of love and relationship with all their ups and downs is essential in managing your sex life. You can't expect to always be in the honeymoon phase. Security and companionship have their benefits, too, and can make your sex life even better. Knowing your partner's desires and expressing your own at each stage of life is a recipe for a long-lasting and breathtaking sex life.


What moves you—do you know? What thrilled you most at the start of a new relationship? Was it going out to dance, an exotic meal, or a spontaneous camping trip? Sexual desire must be aroused, and a comfortable routine doesn't do that. A satisfying relationship has room for both comfort and excitement. Can you remember what made your partner weak in the knees? How about you?

Choose the perfect spot for sex. Where you have sex matters. If you always have sex in the same bed, at the same time, on the same day of the week, you might want to shake things up. That doesn't mean you should start having sex in public or do something dangerous, but switching things up once in a while can bring those butterflies back.

Instead of going to the bedroom when you feel aroused, let yourself enjoy it right where you are. Spontaneous sex, while cooking dinner or sleeping away from home for a night, can be a sexy change.

Design your bedroom with sex in mind. You can't always have sex in new places, but you can reorganize your bedroom to be more sex-friendly.

If your bedroom has become a movie theatre and snacking station, or your kids sleep in your bed, don't expect to have mind-blowing sex there. A good rule of thumb is that your bedroom should be for sleeping and sex only. Move the TV to the living room, ban screens, ask the kids to sleep in their own beds (which may not be possible when they are small), and perhaps buy some new sheets and some candles to create an intimate atmosphere.

Incorporate role play. Many couples find role-play exciting. Some enjoy it from the get-go, while others feel hesitant and embarrassed, but get over that once they realize how much fun it can be. You can live out your sexual fantasies by pretending to be someone else in a whole different set of circumstances. If your partner agrees, you can playfully include these fantasies in your sex life.


Sex doesn't have to be always the same. It can be a game where you depart from your usual identity and sexual habits and try something new.

Travel and discover new things together. You don't have to go to Bali to find your lost sexual desire. Even a short trip away from home can feel exciting. According to Time magazine, one way to make someone fall in love with you is to share arousing experiences such as traveling, watching a horror or action movie, or going on an exciting ride at an amusement park.


Arousal of one kind increases arousal of another. Engage in activities that feel exciting to jumpstart sexual desire. It doesn't have to be a grand thing, just something titillating.

Sex and a healthy lifestyle. Diet and physical activity are key to balancing our bodily functions. An active lifestyle that includes nutritious food is integral to sexual health. For instance, exercising increases testosterone in men—the hormone responsible for the male libido.

Vitamins are also necessary for sexual function. Vitamin E is sometimes called the sex vitamin because it increases testosterone levels and can enhance sperm count and motility. Vitamin B and Zinc keep your nervous system healthy, and they boost your mood, which is good for sex.

Sexuality is complex. You can't switch it on and off at will. A sexual relationship requires time to develop. Lack of sexual desire may simply be a normal stage of development in your partnership. Fear of losing your new love is replaced by security and stability, which, although wonderful, is less exciting. A sexual partnership ages like a fine wine—it only improves with maturity.

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