I received an email and I’d like to share a portion of it with you, though, for discretion purposes, I will keep the writer anonymous.
My husband and I just celebrated our 15 year anniversary and I’m thinking about leaving him. He’s a good person but I’m just not attracted to him anymore. I’m an avid reader, romance novels in particular, but I’ve read your Angel series and I want to feel the passion that’s on the pages of these books. Not the Fifty Shades kind of stuff but real romantic flare stuff. Angel being grabbed and kissed by Tony or the love scene where she prayed the Lord’s prayer with Andrew or the mattress scene in Grayson’s hideout. I want to be ravished by a man and my husband just isn’t that type of guy. When we have sex I find myself going through the motions instead of actually enjoying it or desiring it. I see you’ve been married longer than me and I’ve read your blogs on sex. What do you think I should do? Do you think my marriage is over?
My heart pours out to this woman. If you’re married or have been in a long term relationship, you can probably relate to what she is feeling. Romance novels are the top selling genre for a reason…because we ALL need romance on some level and we seek it out in books, movies and in real life. Every human being, male and female alike, has an innate desire to feel wanted, needed and ultimately loved. We were not created to do life alone, which is why I have always stressed the importance of intimacy in relationships.
First, let me say this: It is not my place to make a judgment call on whether a couple should stay together or part ways. However, if you have both invested fifteen years in each other and in your life together, and if you still love one another, then I would encourage you not to give up. Relationships hit plateaus and often times they need to be jump started. That’s normal. We tend to get busy with the chores of living and forget to focus on some of the things that matter most…the people in our life. Often times, all that is needed is a reminder of how important you are to each other.
Second, it is normal to go through phases where you don’t feel attracted to your partner. Sheer exhaustion alone can squelch desire faster than anything. Carving out time together can help.
Third, sex in real life is rarely as romantic and wonderful as it is on the pages of a novel. I, too, enjoyed Fifty Shades but, in reality, would not want to experience many of the things she tried in the book. Fantasizing is fun and should be used to enhance reality, but not replace it. Keep in mind that the human imagination takes fantasy to heights that reality can never achieve. Even if your partner lights candles all around the room, puts on soft music, lines the bed with fresh rose petals, and has chilled champagne and chocolate dipped strawberries waiting for you, it will not feel the same as what you see in the movies or what you read in a novel. It can be romantic, but it will never be “new.”
In novels and in movies we see people engaging in romance from the perspective of a new relationship, and we thus crave that stomach-tingling, excitedly-nervous, first-kiss sort of feeling. This is no longer the reality for a long-term relationship. Over time comfort replaces the stomach-tingling nerves, and familiarity replaces anticipation; but that doesn’t mean romance has died.
Too often people run into the arms of another, simply to satisfy their craving for the feeling and excitement of newness; but what happens when that newness wears off? Do you then run to another, and another, and another? Instead of destroying the relationship you’ve already built, the answer may be as simple as you and your partner trying some new things to spice up your love life. It may just be time to get those juices flowing by getting creative in your lovemaking.
Here are some suggestions:
Read an erotic or romance novel together and pick out the things you like…then do them to each other. Role play. If he likes pig tails and bobby socks, then do it. If she likes a leather jacket and studded dog collar, do it. Make a commitment to each other to be radical about turning the other person on.
Try some new positions. I’m not talking about rolling over one time. I’m talking about getting a little crazy. Do it on the dresser, the countertop, in the shower, bent over the back of the couch, over the top of the coffee table, in the office, in the bathroom at a restaurant, in the car, on top of the car, on the patio, etc. Get creative, just try not to get arrested in the process.
Use toys. Vibrators. Handcuffs. Blindfolds. Whips. Whatever inspires you…try it. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to do it again. But in your openness to attempt new things, you just might stumble upon something that both of you thoroughly enjoy. AND…you’re creating your own little secrets. You’re creating new memories; some that will be comical. You’re inventing things that will later pop into your mind and you’ll look at each other from across the room and laugh. No one will know why because it will be something only you two will share. A connection.
Start having sex every day. EVERY day. Do this for one month and see how your relationship jolts back to life. What you’ll find is that it’s hard to remain angry at or ignore someone with whom you are having sex. It forces a level of intimacy that can often become stagnant or dried up in long term relationships. Sex isn’t the end-all… but it’s a very fun way to rejuvenate the relationship.
So many couples stop talking about what they like in bed and then they slip into these routines of lovemaking that often leave both parties emotionally wanting. See, sex isn’t just about physical gratification. It’s about emotional intimacy. Intimacy is crucial in a relationship. Sex is merely one part of the intimacy shared… but it is a very useful tool when you find yourself struggling to connect in other ways. It has a way of opening up the communication conduit so that all levels of intimacy can flow more freely.
Sexual intimacy involves talking, touching, sharing, soothing and loving one another. It’s a heart commitment that involves the actions of the body.
In today’s world, we are so busy that we often forget to touch one another. When too-busy-to-touch grows into too-exhausted-to-talk, our relationship begins to feel stagnant and our desire for one another dries up. It doesn’t always mean we stopped loving… it simply means we need to shake off the dust and re-new the expression of that love.
Old relationships will never feel “new” again… but they can be actively “re-newed” and experience depths of intimacy a new relationship cannot.
Don’t quit… Re-new it!