Female desire has long been a challenge for researchers. Understanding what makes the passion fizzle for women in long-term relationships is even a bigger mystery.
Nonetheless, there are women who, in spite of being in a long-term relationship, seem to keep the levels of desire high and constant over time. What’s their secret? Why does passion in some women decrease over time while in others it flourishes and thrives?
The answers to these questions are complex; however, there are some plausible explanations for both sexual apathy and thrill. Better yet, there may be some things we can learn from those women who are lucky enough to feel exhilarated by their sex lives beyond the first few years of their relationships.
It Takes Two to Tango: Desire in the relationship is a two-fold experience. In other words, how an individual experiences sexual desire can influence and is influenced by the other party in the relationship. Other factors such as societal rules and the political environment also affect desire levels. According to Sarah H. Murray, Olga Sutherland, and Robin R. Milhausen, in their study Young Women’s Descriptions of Sexual Desire in Long-term Relationships, low sexual desire is often a discrepancy between two people rather than problems with an individual’s level of desire.
Old Versus New: Another factor that can affect the level of sexual desire in a relationship is the length of time the couple has been together. At the beginning of a relationship, sexual desire is usually high. The need to connect to one another keeps lovers’ sexual desire going for some time.
Institutionalization as a Killer of Desire: Karen E. Sims and Marta Meana conducted a study titled “Why did Passion Wane? A Qualitative Study of Married Women’s Attributions for Declines in Sexual Desire”. In the study, the researchers interviewed 19 married women between the ages of 26 and 40 about their causal attributions for decreased sexual desire. The participants reported that the institutionalization of marriage, over-familiarity with their partner, and de-sexualization of roles—wife, mother, professional, for instance—had a negative impact in their sexual desire.
Hormonal Changes: Peri-menopausal or menopausal women may experience a decreased in sexual desire. Post-menopausal women with low levels of testosterone and estrogen tend to experience lower levels of desire. Younger women, however, are not exempt of the risk of suffering from hormonal imbalances that may affect their sexual desire levels. Other causes, such as medications, stress, and general emotional, mental, and physical health issues can also be deterrents of sexual desire.
Murray and colleagues gathered data from 20 women between the ages of 18 and 29 in long-term relationships of at least 30 months. The results of the study yielded two possible outcomes: “the passion is still alive” to depict those with high levels of sexual desire and “wondering where the passion has gone” to describe those who experienced a decline. Here’s a description of the emerging factors of both groups:
The Passion is Still Alive! Women said that their sexual desire got stronger as their emotional bond tightened with their partners. Sexual maturation and comfort were reported as being triggers for passion as lovers became more in-tune with their sexual needs. An increased in intimacy which may come from longer standing relationships was an important factor for sexual desire.
Where Has the Passion Gone? Women in this category described their decrease in sexual desire as troublesome. These women either never had a high level of desire toward their partners or experienced desire, but not for their partners. Some even pointed out that they never had sexual desire for their current partners. Additionally, some women considered themselves not “young enough” to feel high levels of excitement anymore.
Regardless of the length of your relationship, if you are experiencing low sexual desire towards your partner and want to increase it, there are things you can do:
- It Could Be Physical: Consult with your primary care physician or Ob-Gyn and ask him or her to do a hormonal check for you. Balancing your hormones may be all that’s necessary for you to get your sex life back in the game. Physical and psychological causes interfere with libido so start by getting a check-up.
- Communicate: Tell your partner how you feel. You could both be feeling the same way and opening the communication channels may be the start of a positive change.
- Change Your Routine: Boredom can be a libido killer. Think outside the box, engage in some role play, and take your sex life out of (or into) the dungeon.
- Experiment With Herbal Aphrodisiacs: Consult with an herbalist or natural health practitioner. Give them a try and see what they do for your sex life.
- Therapy: If your sexual desire levels are bothersome and are affecting your relationship, individual and couples therapy may put your relationship and sexual life back on track.
Remember, sexual desire most likely fluctuates over the course of a relationship, so it is normal to experience peaks and valleys. However, if you are both dissatisfied with your sex life, there are things you can do to experience enjoyment and fulfillment once again.