The more you’re in a relationship with someone, the more routine certain things become, from your dinner schedule to how you spend your free time. And sex can also sometimes become a routine and sexual desire can fade. Of course, every couple is different, and decreased sexual desire may not be a problem for you and your significant other.
But if you want to know how to keep the spark alive in a long-term relationship, we bring some answers. University of Kentucky researchers in the Department of Kinesiology and Health Promotion, Kristen P. Mark and Julie A. Lasslo, decided to continue their research on this topic in their paper titled “Maintaining Sexual Desire in Long-Term Relationships: A Systematic Review and Conceptual Model,” which appears in The Journal of Sex Research.
Although research on this topic has increased in recent years, low and high desires are still problematized in clinical settings and the broader culture. However, despite knowing that sexual desire comes and goes both within and between individuals and that sexual desire problems are strongly related to relationship problems, there is a critical gap in understanding the factors that contribute to maintaining sexual desire in the context of relationships.
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For example, many people assume that arguing in relationships leads to a decrease in desire, but in a 2013 study, they found that when both men and women had sex to avoid an argument or conflict, it was considered a risk factor in maintaining sexual desire in long-term relationships. Similarly, in another 2013 study, they found that conflict between partners caused women to view their partner as less sexually attractive – but they thought avoidance was the problem, not conflict.
In their research, Mark and Lasslo found some common denominators when it comes to keeping sexual desire alive in a long-term relationship. Here are some of the factors they discovered:
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When it comes to your partner, you’re probably attracted to him/her in some ways, which helps you control your sexual desire. Another factor commonly found at the individual level that contributes to long-term desire is an individual’s sense of attraction to their partner, and this has been studied in several ways.
While you may know couples who speak for each other and finish each other’s sentences, they probably also have their own sense of being. Maintaining autonomy is another factor in keeping the sexual spark alive. A 2014 study found in a qualitative study of 33 couples, that autonomy meant possibility and discovery. So while it’s great to be part of a couple, it’s also essential to maintain your individuality and sense of yourself.
3. Sexual trust
Chances are you know if you feel confident in yourself or not, and that goes for your romantic relationship as well. And, yes, having confidence and self-esteem can help you when it comes to your level of sexual desire. An example given by Mark and Lasslo comes from a 2015 study that found that when a person prioritizes themselves as a sexual being, it can help increase and maintain sexual desire.
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4. Emotional intimacy
Do you know how you can have a more fulfilling sexual relationship with someone? When you’re more emotionally connected… This is where emotional intimacy comes into play. To maintain sexual desire, the response is to maintain or increase emotional closeness to one’s partner. Daily intimacy can also increase sexual desire.
5. Good communication
Relationship experts often say that”communication is essential” when it comes to you and your partner, and they’re right. In terms of maintaining sexual desire, Mark and Lasslo’s research also found that communication was an important factor, and they cited many sources to support it. For example, when it comes to relationships, they said there is a strong link between communication and satisfaction outcomes. In addition, sexual communication was another way to connect couples and bring them closer together, which could increase desire.
6. Separating sex and feelings
The desire in the couple arises from a certain distance from the other. Also to make your desire last and revitalize, you must consider sexuality as an activity that does not require you to plunge body and soul into love. Indeed, intercourse is much more frequent when people distinguish between gender and the relational and emotional aspects of their relationship.
If love and trust are two essential elements for the well-being of a couple, both do not guarantee an intense sex life. On the other hand, love passion is strongly associated with the frequency of sexual intercourse.
If your libido is low despite all this, consider consulting a specialized therapist who can help you regain your sexual desire.