Preventing Your Sex Life From Feeling Like a Chore

A healthy and robust sex life is often seen as a bellwether for a happy and secure romantic relationship. However, as time marches onward, the obligations and expectations of our romantic lives become more complicated and demanding; homes are built, children are born, careers develop. Where sex started as this insatiable, passionate event that is taken at any given opportunity, it can end up in a place of monotonous routine, carried out through a sense of repetitive obligation. 

Our marriage counselors Simi Valley are here to support you. We know how integral sex is in a marriage and ensure to incorporate sex therapy in the process. Make sure to check out our blog on why sex therapy is essential in marriage counseling

According to one study of over 8,000 men and women in serious, long-term relationships, only 46% of men and 58% or women were satisfied with the frequency and quality of sex with their partners. If you are asking yourself why sex feels like such a chore, or how you can put passion back into the bedroom, you are most definitely not alone.

You are wanting to prevent your sex life from feeling like a chore but before we are ready to go there we need to understand the underlying root causes that can lead to this feeling of obligatory intimate relations. 

Any of the following could be a contributing factor:

·  Life is Busy: Couples have a lot going on. Careers are increasingly demanding, kids need to go to soccer, lunches need to be made, the house is a mess, home repairs seem endless, and oh look, now the holidays are around the corner. The list of things that need to get done will never be completed, and finding the time or energy needed for a spontaneous liaison can feel next to impossible.

·  Same Old Same Old: Routine leads to predictability, and predictability is the death of spontaneity. Holding onto a sense of the unknown is a key factor is keeping the spark of passion, and when sex falls into a predictable routine, the unknown becomes the known. Passion lies in a sense of discovery and wonder, and when the ins and outs (no pun intended) of intimacy are a well-beaten-path, that passion can feel stifled. Check out our blog on reigniting the spark 

·  We’re All Stressed: Daily stresses, obligations, expectations, whatever you want to call them, they mount up. When the list of “to-dos” feels endless and insurmountable, it can have a negative impact on our libidos. When one or both partners are in a place where they feel emotionally or physically drained from the travails of daily life, the very idea of touching one another with anything more than a passing kiss can feel daunting. Sex is meant to be a source of stress relief, but when the multitude of life’s challenges stack themselves against us, the thought of intimacy can have the opposite effect. It may be hard to think about if you have kids in the mix and are so busy. Make sure to check out our blog on how to get your sex life back after having kids

·  Let’s Talk About Sex: When it comes to our needs, fantasies, and other bedroom desires, nothing can be left unsaid. When couples fail to express to one another about their needs and desires, it only creates distance between the two in a way that leaves both people unsatisfied, and perhaps even resentful. This roadblock to communication can come from a variety of places: lack of comfortability talking about sex, fear of being rejected for expressing desires or fantasies, not having the vocabulary needed to have a nuanced discussion about intimacy, or even past traumas that prevent one or both partners from having a frank talk about how to be close to one another. Exploring your sexuality deeper is beneficial in many ways, but it does require us to slow down, assess, evaluate, and communicate. Our Simi Valley sex therapists are here to support you on this journey. 

This is a lot, and some of it may be hitting home. But fear not! There are a variety of strategies to break yourself out of the rut you may have gotten yourself into. Let’s find some ways to blow some air onto your smoldering embers of passion: 

Let’s Make What’s Important Actually Important:

 If you want to make sex like less of a chore, then stop treating it like one. Prioritizing intimacy is a great first step towards breaking up the stale routine of love-making that, to be honest, you could probably set your watch to. How do we prioritize intimacy? By making a concerted and intentional effort to make quality time for one another. Have a weekly date night. Plan that weekend getaway that doesn’t involve the kids (if possible). Even an intentional quiet night at home can help draw the two of you closer. We prioritize intimacy when we create the space that allows for closeness.

Upgrade From Mild to Medium Salsa:

 We’ve covered that routine is the enemy of passion, so maybe it’s time to spice things up in the bedroom. Try some new positions, buy some spicy toy or games, even try some role-playing. If the goal is to regain a sense of the unknown, then try something that piques excitement while pushing on your existing limits of comfortability. It’s important to remember that being open and communicative is crucially important here. Spicing things up in the bedroom is a form of experimentation, and not all experiments succeed, and that’s okay! By creating this new space of exploration between the two of you, you create the opportunity to learn about one another’s desires, fantasies, and the things that maybe one or both you don’t enjoy. Creating this safe space for one another can lead to exciting discoveries that can stir up the passion between the both of you. Whether it be role playing, or toys, or games, or you-name-it, the goal is to inject a sense of adventure into your intimate life.

·  Calendars Can Be Sexy, Too: Yes, it was said earlier that predictability is the thief of spontaneity, but sometimes things have to be planned. If the millions of things that need to be done get in the way of getting busy, then perhaps a slot on the calendar for quality time is in order. By setting aside specific times for being intimate, it’s ensured that it’s still a priority. Make sure to treat these calendar entries as importantly, if not more importantly, than any other commitment. Also, scheduling sex can build a sense of anticipation and desire. Both partners can ready themselves for the quality time, potentially preparing themselves even more for the aforementioned increase in spice level. Sometimes syncing your Google calendar is necessary to create that space for closeness. It can make sex less mechanical and can serve as a written acknowledgement of sex’s importance to your relationship.

·  Looking Beyond the Physical: When looked at as a purely physical act, sex appears mechanical and emotionally hollow. But when it comes to your partner, especially one you love and have shared years with, sex takes on a more complex shape. We infuse our feelings and connection to that person with the act of intimacy. In a way, sex could be described as the physical manifestation of our feelings and attachment towards that person. It’s literally why they call it love-making! You both are conjuring your shared feelings for one another into a mutual physical experience. When sex feels like a monotonous chore, it can communicate to our partner that we view them as a monotonous chore. Taking the time to nurture the emotional intimacy alongside the physical intimacy can do well to enhance your sexual relationship. Have honest and open communications about your feelings. Discuss how you feel about where you are in the relationship. Open up about your fears even. When our emotional relationship is strong, it is easier for the sexual relationship to follow. Sex is an extension of this secure and loving relationship, not a box to be checked on a list of chores.

·  Take Care of Yourself: You may have been told at one point that in order to take care of others, you need to take care of yourself. Both partners need to prioritize self-care if they want to have the bandwidth to be close to their partners. This could look like getting adequate sleep, eating healthily, or getting regular exercise. This could even be exploring avenues of self-pleasure. When people take care of themselves, they see themselves as being worthy of self-care. This can increase self-esteem, and consequently, the quality of their sex life. Encouraging our partners to engage in activities that increase their individual well-being signals to them that we care that they take the time to prioritize themselves. When we prioritize our own selves, we prioritize our ability to be present and engaged in our own romantic lives. Part of taking care of yourself may be to seek professional support for you and your partner. Our Simi Valley couples therapists are here to guide you through a deeper, more intimate relationship. 

The fight against the “sex as a chore” mentality requires intentionality and commitment from each partner. By prioritizing intimacy, spicing things up, scheduling intimacy, focusing on what’s beyond the physical, and practicing self-care, couples can break free of the monotony that has plagued their sex lives, and rediscover (or even discover for the first time) the passion that brings them closer together.

It’s also important to remember that these tips and techniques are not one-time events. They are pieces of an ongoing process that requires communication and a willingness to push past the routines that have driven divides between countless couples. Exploration, intention, and openness are but some of the elements couples can invest towards enhancing the quality of a relationship, and creating a solid foundation for a loving, fulfilling, and long relationship.  

Written by,

Joshua Duke, AMFT

Our team of therapists and psychologists in Simi Valley are here to support you. Check out our therapy services and reach out today for a free consultation.