Every long-term couple goes through periods of intense passion and intimacy, followed by a sexual dry period†
Call it the curse of the seven-year itch or just a natural consequence of monogamy, sexless proportions (short as it is) can be difficult to navigate.
But it’s not always a bad thing, says lovehoneys psycho-sexologist Chantelle Otten.
Speaking to 9Honey, Otten says that intimacy easily falls off the radar of couples because we often believe that sex should always be “spontaneous and natural.”
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Instead, Otten describes sex as something that requires “work, attention, and dedication.”
“Nobody tells us that we have to work really hard on our sex life, and that it won’t always be natural and spontaneous,” Otten explains.
“If we can look at the last five to 10 years, we can see that there has been a shift towards more openly discussing sexual health and wellness and its importance.”
She adds, “I think that means people are concentrating on their sex life and giving it a little bit more priority. But you know, we’re pretty busy people and we all try our best.”
Doing things like broadening your definition of sex is important because sex is different for every person.
Many couples worry that their sex life is an indication of how good their relationship is.
People might ask, if you’re not intimate on a regular basis, does that mean your bond isn’t as strong as other long-term partners? According to Otten, that is certainly not the case.
She says not having sex is “totally fine” and it’s a myth that regular sex equals happiness.
“If they don’t have sex because they don’t want sex or because it’s not a priority for them, that’s totally fine,” Otten says.
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“Because your libido is just as individual as you are. So it’s important to understand your own eroticism and your own patterns.”
“Really good sex is just an indication of good sex and sexual compatibility,” Otten adds. “Of course it can make your relationship better. But it doesn’t have to be there, it’s not a staple of a good relationship.”
While some couples are content that sex isn’t a priority, Otten has some tips for those looking to rekindle their sex life.
She says sex doesn’t always have to be traditional penetration. Broaden your mind and your sex life can benefit, Otten advises.
“Doing things like broadening your definition of sex is important because sex is different for every person. So it can really be anything under the sexual umbrella, it can be any kind of kissing, expression, touching or rubbing, making out, masturbate together, or use toys, or go out on each other,” she says.
“There are a lot of things you can do that can be other than just your penis and vagina, penetrating purposeful sex, which we’ve been conditioned to have.”
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Last month was National Masturbation Monthand Otten is also a big believer in personal pleasure — even if you’re in a long-term relationship.
She says it’s “weird” to think that someone shouldn’t masturbate when they have a partner.
“I think it’s weird that we think we shouldn’t masturbate in a relationship,” she admits.
“I can’t rely on my partner to always give me everything because my partner is doing things and working and he’s not always available,” says Otten. “And maybe sometimes I don’t want him around either.”
“It’s super important. Take this story away from that you shouldn’t do it if you’re in a relationship because that’s stupid and it won’t help your sexual relationship with your partner either.”
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