I'm a 35-year- old male who’s been in a relationship for three years. Our sex life is becoming complacent.
Where to start… with no mention of when the sexual excitement declined, whether it’s loss is felt only by you, or reflects both of you, etc?
So, I’m left to start with you.
Consider these approaches:
Talk to her (without blaming her for anything) about how you are feeling and whether she’s feeling the same way.
Be careful not to use labels like “boring” or “complacent” and ask, instead, if the two of you need more time for sex, and more variety of foreplay for mutual arousal.
This approach makes it a “couple’s” issue, not a one-sided view or complaint (which would only lead to hurt feelings, defensiveness, and arguing about fault).
Then there’s the matter of romance.
If stress and time limits caused by your lifestyle and relationship – e.g. either or both of you preoccupied with work, kids, or friends – romance gets neglected or ignored altogether.
It only takes small gestures to start reviving it – a hug as you go out the door, a caring text in the day, a sexy hint from work about making love later, suggesting a mutual massage, etc.
Not to mention bringing home flowers occasionally and arranging a dinner-for-two at a nice place.
For added approaches, there are sex manuals with suggested positions and ideas for spicing up lovemaking, which you can find/order online.
And if physical energy is part of the problem, you can both try building up steam through getting fitter.
If none of this makes a positive difference, and one of you seems lackluster about sex in general, then professional sex therapy is another route.
However, if none of these moves bring satisfying change, ask yourself if this person is the partner you want long-term.
A “Yes” should send you to couples’ counselling with her to get help recognizing whatever underlying issues are keeping your sex life “complacent.”
“No” means it’s time to stop doing nothing about it. Try to talk about how you feel. Again, counselling can help you be honest but kind, in expressing a need to move on, and/or suggesting that you both take a break.
Some tried and true sex manuals:
The Joy of Sex by Dr. Alex Comfort, revised in 2008, still has very useful tips about how sex can be playful, passionate, and satisfying.
The Kama Sutra has been around as long as sex has, an ancient Hindu text, which describes the art of making love with illustrations of positions.
FEEDBACK Regarding the man, 66, who asked about dating a woman, 34 (April 9):
Reader – “Your comment about the server having to work a low-paying job is very insulting to me as a restaurant server, which I chose to be.
“It’s a high-paying job and I LOVE to go to work every day!”
Ellie – I appreciate your point and your reaction for which I regret an unintentional inference.
My response was related to their age difference. He’s a temporary vacationer in her area, and he’s met her only once when she was serving his table.
I raised a possible power imbalance in which the younger woman could potentially be vulnerable to his taking advantage of her.
I suggested he go slowly.
He’s since written me that the date, initially accepted, did not happen. Since he’d been so enthused about it, she’s likely the one who cancelled it, for whatever reason.
FEEDBACK Regarding the brother who’s upset that his sister doesn’t visit his kids when she lives in the same condo building (April 9):
Reader - “I babysat my sister's kids for nine years because I thought my sister was my friend. I tried to be a good auntie. It was devastating to realize my sister has no interest in me as a person.
“I now live the life I want - no kids, no mate, no one else's chores or responsibilities - and I'm happy.
“The letter-writer's sister is better at setting boundaries than I was. Maybe she doesn't want kids - her own or her brother's. Maybe she recognizes he has no time for her because he's too busy being a husband and a father and she's wisely keeping her distance.
“Rather than questioning her, why doesn't he live his life and let her live hers? Maybe then they can actually be friends.”
Tip of the day:
A complacent sex life can be heated up unless underlying issues are left unresolved.