Has your relationship lost its sexual spark? Here's how to escape your dry spell

Has your relationship lost its sexual spark? Here's how to escape your dry spell

October 9, 2021

hands reaching out to each other

Feel like your relationship is in a rut, sex-wise?

You’re certainly not alone.

When you’ve been in a relationship for a while, it’s natural for your sex life to go through ups and downs.

But when you’re in a low point, things can feel a bit dismal.

A recent survey from Burton Constable Holiday Park (don’t ask us why they’re doing this bit of research, we’re not sure either) found that 22% of respondents said their relationship spark had disappeared.

The number one cause given for this? A lack of physical affection. Perhaps PDA is worth giving a go… or just more physical intimacy at home, if you’re not keen on putting on a display.

Other reasons confessed for a lull included not going on enough dates with their partner, a shortage of communication, and not having enough one-on-one time.

Relationship expert Hayley Quinn suggested that to remedy this issue, couples should go on regular holidays together.*

*Okay, now we understand why a holiday park commissioned this research.

‘I don’t think many couples put the time and effort into reigniting romance, which isn’t a criticism; it’s difficult when you have to deal with life admin,’ says Hayley. ‘Spending time to create romance easily falls to the bottom of the pile.’

While a romantic getaway does sound nice, it’s not your only option for escaping a sexual dry spell.

We chatted with relationship expert and author Lucy Beresford for her wisdom.

Try not to take a dry spell personally

There are so, so many reasons why sex might not be happening as frequently as it used to. Don’t jump to conclusions.

Lucy tells Metro.co.uk: ‘Recognise that sex is complex and may be about stress or lack of confidence on the part of your partner, so less to do with you and how desirable you are.

‘Focus on adoring yourself and treating yourself with love and respect, so that you are not reliant on how your partner feels about you.’

Have an honest conversation

It’s tough when you feel like you’re the only one struggling with your relationship’s lack of sexual passion.

The first step to sorting this out is acknowledging that there’s an issue.

‘The right amount of sex is different for every couple, so start by having conversations about the current situation to find out how your partner feels and to state your own needs gently,’ Lucy says.

‘Make sure you have these conversations when you both have time to give each other space to state your needs and listen to each other, and keep the focus positive and with no judgement or blame.

‘Explore whether your partner feels the lack of sex is because of a non-sexual relationship issue. For example if they feel you’re distracted, not making time for them, or not supporting them emotionally, you both need to work together on that issue first.’

Ditch guilt, blame, and shame

Stop beating yourself up for not having an allnight sex session every other day.

‘Remember that we often make the mistake of believing everyone else – particularly people we see on social media – have the perfect relationship with tons of sex,’ says Lucy. ‘But in truth, many couples haven’t had sex in weeks, months, or even since the pandemic started.

‘Studies show that as many as 15% of couples are suffering from a sexless relationship. So have compassion for all that you and your partner have gone through this past 18 months, and recognise that you are doing the right thing to address this now.’

Check your language

Related to the above, make sure that when you’re chatting with your partner about your sex life, you’re not assigning blame.

Lucy advises: ‘Use ‘I’ phrases (“I have loved it when…”) rather than “you” phrases (‘you never/always…’). This can help avoid your partner feeling attacked or blamed.’

Come up with some action points

Sounds formal, we know, but make a concrete plan of how you’re going to bring back the sexual spark.

Lucy suggests: ‘Examples include making a promise to always kiss before one of you leaves the house or gets back home, or take an evening to just focus on gazing at each other, or stroke each other, to take the pressure of feeling like you have to have full-on penetrative sex.’

Take small steps to get more physical

When you’re going through a dry spell, just initiating sex can feel like an impossible hurdle – especially if you’ve always relied on your partner to get things started.

Get rid of the pressure by focusing on smaller acts of physical intimacy.

‘Skin-on-skin contact, whether it’s kissing, hand-holding, a massage, or stroking, has a hugely beneficial effect on strengthening the bond of affection, without ramping up the expectation that it has to be about sex,’ notes Lucy.

‘Baby steps as you both get back into the rhythm of sexual activity is more important than going straight for full-on intimacy.’

Check in with your own confidence levels

‘Focus on your own body confidence, which may have slipped during the lack of sex,’ Lucy tells us.

Make sure you’re feeling comfortable getting naked, and perhaps have some self-love time to get your self-image back to a healthy place.

Focus on fun

If you’re stressing out about having the ‘right’ amount of mindblowing sex, you’re on the wrong track.

Get rid of the pressure to orgasm – or to even have penetrative sex, if that feels a bit much for you right now.

Instead, challenge yourself and your partner to have some fun, get intimate, and see what feels good – no pressure, no rush.

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