Remember that feeling at the beginning of your relationship? Sex was exciting for you both. As you grew older you may have lost the sexual intimacy in your relationship. The loss of passion can be put down mainly to hormones.
Our lust for each other is fuelled by the hormone phenylethylamine (PEA). It is this hormone that stimulates our desire to chase each other around the bedroom, and engage in regular sex.
The effects of PEA last approximately between two and four years in most relationships. After that they are replaced with other hormones such as oxytocin. Oxytocin makes us feel secure and content but doesn’t inspire the same mad lust.
This drop in PEA does not mean we all have to swap a wild and exciting sex life for the boredom of slippers and stability. It is possible to re-ignite your sex life.
PEA is also stimulated by regular exercise. Engaging in regular exercise can raise the level of your libido. People who begin regular exercise often note the increase in their sexual desire and begin to engage in more frequent sexual activity with their partner. This change can also be due to how a person may feel about their body. If a person feels unattractive they are less likely to engage in sex. Losing weight, becoming fitter and self-confidence with our bodies and appearance certainly can pay off in the bedroom.
Cuddling and closeness can also stimulate PEA which can lead to a dynamic sex life again.
A few sex therapists suggest abstaining for a while. You may be taking sex for granted. Try coming to an agreement where you do not engage in penetrative sex for a minimum of two weeks. But you are allowed to find other ways of pleasuring each other. This can turn up the sexual tension between you both.
Couples who have been together for many years grow alike in their attitudes and behaviours. It’s called enmeshment. This can have a negative effect on desire because it’s often the differences that keep sexual excitement and tension alive.
Research has shown that boredom extinguishes sexual desire. Are you bored in your sexual relationship? Before blaming your partner take a good look at yourself. How exciting are you and would you find yourself attractive? Are you just bored with yourself and no longer find yourself exciting? To change this – start to focus on goals that both increase your own physical desirability but also the excitement in your life.
Christopher Swane - Couples Counselling and Psychotherapy - Wellington New Zealand