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Sex in Marriage

The Lasting experts explain why married sex doesn’t have to be boring.

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The honeymoon phase is notorious for being the happiest and most sexually satisfying stage of marriage.

It’s also infamous for coming to an end. But it’s a myth that your sex life only declines after the wedding day. In fact, increasing sexual satisfaction is not only possible, it’s imperative for a healthy, lasting relationship.

Couples who were the least sexually satisfied, according to a survey by the University of Toronto, were those who thought that if their partner was “truly right” for them, a good sex life would be effortless.

The truth is that for all couples, sex is a process of learning, practice, and exploration.

And this is good news, because it means that you have agency over the state of your sex life—good or bad.

See, at its core, sex is actually an emotional call—an attempt to connect with your partner and they with you. Research shows that good sex is attributed to two main factors: maintaining a strong emotional connection, and having conversations about your sexual preferences. So, if you learn to respond well to one another’s emotional calls and continue to update your knowledge of each other’s sexual preferences, you will sustain a satisfying sex life for years to come.

So how do you respond well to your partner’s emotional calls for sex? The answer is simple. Respond in a way that always makes your partner feel desirable, even if you turn them down. Statements like, “I can’t tonight, but I really want to make this a priority. How about tomorrow instead?” can decline the request while still treating the attempt at connection with care. In a healthy marriage, it’s vital that both partners feel desired by the other, so keep your words and tone in mind as you respond to calls for sex.

Then, prioritize conversations about your sex life. Discuss your personal preferences and address your concerns. Talk about the practical ways your sex life can improve. Discard the lie that planned sex is boring sex. Scheduling intimacy can actually result in greater anticipation and less conflict, so get out your calendars and pick a night this week to make it happen.

According to Dr. Sue Johnson, healthy couples only attribute 15% of their happiness to sexual satisfaction, while unhealthy couples attribute nearly 70% of their misery to sexual dissatisfaction. This shows that when the emotional connection is strong between partners, sex is just another part of the pie, but when it starts to weaken, sex is the first thing to go. In his research, Dr. John Gottman also found that when male partners contributed to housework and child care, both partners reported more frequent sexual encounters and higher sexual satisfaction—yet another indicator that emotional connection really is linked to good sex.

The future is bright for your sex life, and our app can help make it so. Using research-based series and data-driven exercises, Lasting will help you communicate your desires, expectations, and concerns to find a new level of satisfaction.

Finally, remember that great sex takes practice, patience, and prioritization. So if you’re feeling stuck, there’s hope. No matter how long you’ve been married, the best is still yet to come.

For more on how to cultivate a healthy sexual relationship, subscribe today and check out our series on Sex.