Many people assume that marital sex is either a never-ending thrill ride or tired drudgery. The truths, obviously, are as distinct as there are unique couples in the world. Regardless of whether you and your partner begin your sexual relationship on the night after your wedding or much earlier, you’re wise to assume that your relationship in the bedroom will evolve over time. A great sex life is based in communication and being generous and responsive; everything else is actually surprisingly similar to good relationship advice in general! Here are some smart ways to think about your married sex life to avoid creating unrealistic expectations.
1. You’re In it for the Long Haul
Early in marriage, sex can be spontaneous and exciting, but the foundations you want to lay include continuing to grow with your partner. Over the years, you’ll most likely find new things that excite you and your husband or wife, and it’s important to be ready to change together over time to fit those things. Try to resist the need to impress each other in ways that don’t feel authentic to yourself. Do what you are genuinely interested in trying, and trust that your best sex will be the sex you’re excited to participate in.
2. You May Need Some Time to Get Comfortable
While many married couples have had time to get accustomed to each other sexually, you may find that getting married throws off your rhythm. Some couples also start their sexual relationship after marriage, and there can be some pressure to instantly have great sex. If your wedding night, or even the honeymoon, doesn’t have that “amazing sex” quality, accept that you have your whole life together to get to know each other fully. The best sex in your life is most likely yet to come, once you are fully and completely comfortable together.
3. Try Not to Operate in “Shoulds”
Assuming that your sex life should look like a movie or TV show, or some other stereotype you’ve developed, is a recipe for unhappiness and insecurity. Rather than thinking about how your sex life “should” be, think about what is best for you and your partner, and aim toward that. If you have sex more often or less often, or in a different way than what you expected, try to let it go! Other people aren’t the ones who live in your marriage: you are. If you feel upset about the way your married sexual life is going, try to decide if it’s because you actually have a problem with it or if it’s because you’re simply afraid of other’s judgement.
4. Bad Sex Doesn’t Mean Your Relationship Is Bad
Don’t get caught up in thinking that one experience of bad sex, or even a rough streak, means that something is wrong between the two of you. Know that it’s a phase or simply one day, and your relationship is so much more than an ineffective or awkward sexual encounter. So many other things in your life can affect whether sex is a positive experience or not, so it’s wise to focus on protecting your relationship from such negativity.
5. Communication Is so Key
Most of the tough problems in your relationship, including the sexual components, can be overcome through good communication. Realizing that any dissatisfaction on your part can be solved by enlisting your partner to be part of the solution can turn a less positive sex life into a chance for even deeper intimacy.
6. Living Together Means You Need to Keep the Spark Alive
Many people forget that everything contributes to your attraction to each other. When you live together, you have the opportunity to share many “unsexy” moments; do what you can to avoid getting so comfortable together that you’re more like no-holds-barred roommates. If you notice that the way you spend time together takes away some of the “mystery,” consider how you can make sure you both still find each other attractive and arousing.
7. Accept That You Will Both Grow Together
Even if sex has been great throughout your marriage, there may be seasons of your life together where one or both of you are not quite as “into it” as before. After having children, for instance, many marriages have to re-learn how to fit sex into their newly-busy lives. This isn’t a problem! Rather, accept that you are committed to be many different people throughout your lives, and to let your sex life evolve through that time. What was fun and crazy early on may seem utterly unattainable 10 years in, and that’s not even a bad thing!
Not all of these items will be relevant in every marital sex life, but generally, expectations are the most important part of how a sexual experience happens. Our minds are a major part of our experiences of sex, so most of these points are about guarding and protecting your mind from insecurity, doubt, or external expectations.