Sex Tips From The Experts: Passionate Long Term Couples

Margie Nichols, Ph.D.By Margie Nichols, Ph.D.

Years ago Jack Morin wowed the field of sexology with his book “The Erotic Mind.”  He created a new paradigm for sexual arousal that explained why sex can be particularly hot if it is taboo, forbidden, unattainable, and why couples seem to lose interest in sex the longer the relationship goes on – even if the relationship is great otherwise.

Now, Jack is unveiling the results of a project he began in 1996: interviewing couples together ten years or longer who still have sex at least once a week and report that the sex is satisfying and enjoyable, and at times memorable.  Morin has analyzed the data from almost 100 of these couples representing heterosexual, gay male, and lesbian couples.  And, he has compared them to couples who experience sexual distress, specifically lack of desire after some time together.  I had the opportunity hear him speak at a conference in March 2012 and will hereby attempt to summarize his results.  All credit to Morin, all mistakes are mine.:)

FIRST THE TAKE HOME:                                     

MORIN’S SUMMARY:  The greatest obstacle to a ‘hot’ ongoing sex life is the romantic mythology that surrounds our beliefs about sex and love.  Overall, what ‘hot’ couples do that ‘cool’ ones don’t is that they are practical and objective about sex.  They don’t believe sex should be spontaneous, that their partners should know their desires without communication, that sex should always be ‘hot’ and effortless. They know that a good sex life is more like a beloved hobby than a  mysterious force that sweeps you away.   Therefore, both members make regular sex a priority, by scheduling time each week to be intimate. They intentionally nurture, protect, and prioritize their sex life and develop rituals that help them initiate and accept advances..  In addition, they value individuality and differentiation, which enhances sexual desire.

So here are more specifics, some of the ‘secrets’ of ‘hot’ long term couples:

  1. ‘Hot’ couples have a lot of ‘maintenance sex,’ that is, sex that is ‘average,’ but scheduled on a regular basis to keep sex a priority and to make it a positive habit.  The regularly scheduled maintenance sex provides the couple with opportunities to have ‘exceptional’ sex. This might be the single biggest difference between ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ couples.
  2. ‘Hot’ couples have dry spells (especially after kids), problems, ups and downs, just like ‘cold’ couples – but they keep on having that maintenance sex anyway.
  3. ‘Hot’ couples develop their own communication system, rituals, and habits about sex.  They are more receptive to partner’s approaches, more ‘game’ to try to kindle a spark even if they don’t feel ‘horny.’ And they create a climate of safety and non-rejection.
  4. ‘Hot’ couples lose limerance just like ‘cold’ couples do – but they deal with it differently.  Instead of bemoaning the loss and fantasizing about a relationship where limerance lasts forever, they normalize it, even joke with each other about it.
  5. They are ‘differentiated’ couples, i.e., each are strong individuals and they appreciate and support each others’ differences instead of minimizing differences. Morin opines that the tendency of super-friendly couples to downplay differences and disagreements is the enemy of sexual desire.
  6. Many are sexually energized by small insecurities and jealousies: they appreciate their mate’s attractiveness to others and can overcome jealousy and turn it into desire.
  7.  Generally, at least one partner has a rich ‘solo’ erotic life, i.e., fantasies and masturbation.  This is encouraged, not seen as a threat
  8.  After a number of years, a substantial number ‘open’ their relationships, via bringing in a third person or another couples, swinging, polyamory, other types of sexual nonmonogamy.

None of these things can be accomplished in a relationship where there are basic trust violations or where communication has deteriorated to attack and defense.  But many couples who have good, intact relationships overall have nearly non-existent sex lives after a number of years.  If both people are okay with that – it’s not a problem.  But often one person is NOT okay with it, or the couple misses the passion and wants to revive sex. For these couples, Morin’s work can serve as a guide back, not to what they had in the beginning, but to a satisfying sex life that still has its moments to remember.

 

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