Sean and Paul met eight years ago. They live together, they love each other but they rarely have sex any more and if they ever do it, it is on a Saturday morning before the shopping.

It was different when they first met. They couldn’t take their hands off each other 24/7. But sex rarely happens now and it is never talked about.

If you asked them if they are happy with this arrangement, you would get different answers from each of them. Sean would say he would definitely like more sex. Paul would say they are just
comfortable being with each other and talking about sex is unnecessary.

They will have no idea that each other feels differently about the matter.

Some guys in long-term relationships are very contented being just good companions, having household and domestic lives with well-known rituals that engender feelings of warmth and safety.

Life moves along quite nicely without sex being mentioned, thank you very much! And that is fine, provided both agree on that being the case.

What is missing for many, though, is a real sense of intimacy, of being loved for who they are, that only sex can bring.

Maybe it is time they sought sex outside the relationship, you say. Contrary to popular belief few couples find this situation comfortable, someone always gets left out and the emotional issues are usually too hard to deal with in the end.

So what has happened to Sean and Paul and what is the best way to navigate their sex lives from here? Automatic domestic rituals, like shopping, watching TV, cooking and going out to work and play, have replaced the emotional aspects of their lives.

The first thing to do, is get emotional! Start by having ‘that’ talk every now and again. Set a time to have ‘that’ talk over dinner, and a bottle of wine would be good too, and ask each other how they feel about their relationship and their sex life.

This will break the ice and Sean and Paul will begin to hear emotions and feelings they haven’t heard for a long time.

If they feel vulnerable doing this, this is good. Being vulnerable provides the intimacy that has been missing for so long. (Feeling vulnerable and having dreams together are the cornerstones of an intimate relationship.)

Our brains stop sexualising our boyfriends when we have been together a long time — he is well-known, he is safe and domestic life is comfortable. The brain is lazy and like any muscle it
needs a sex work-out now and again. This means consciously thinking about your boyfriend at some time during the day in a sexy way.

Think about how sexy he was when you first met, the sex you had then and the risks you took doing it. Think about him in wet pair of Speedos or in a great pair of gorgeous white underwear.

Yum! Think about how great his chest is, his legs are and how handsome and kind he is.

You might need a little visual help as well and it might just be a wank at the start but when you begin to share sex, your brain releases some great yummy chemicals, which provide you with feelings of closeness, being wanted/validated and feelings of great intimacy. None of these you can get from shopping.

INFO: [email protected] or see Gerry specialises in couple counselling.

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