Sex in Marriage: Where Has The Passion Gone?

If you and your spouse have been together for some time, it’s possible that you’ve been having the same, uninspired sex for a while now: same positions, same day/time/place, same techniques. It may be enjoyable and comforting to be together, you may like the physical release, or both, but it’s definitely not as hot as when you first got together. This is fairly common and it’s a big disappointment for many, many couples. They are left wondering: where has the passion gone?

Then, add to the mix an attractive acquaintance, long-time friend, or even a stranger and you might find yourself becoming sexually aroused around someone other than the person you committed yourself to. Many people take this attraction to the next level and an affair starts. Even when there’s no affair, people are surprised they’ve become attracted to another person. Most people never intended that to happen. There are multiple reasons affairs can start. Perhaps…

  • your sexual needs weren’t being met in your marriage.
  • you were craving feeling wanted, desired, and sexy again.
  • you were angry at your spouse and wanted covert, or overt, revenge.
  • you liked who you were when you were with this other person.
  • it was scarier to allow yourself to be deeply vulnerable with your spouse than to have a more limited relationship.
  • it was scarier to deeply love and be loved by a long-term partner than to have a sex-only relationship.

Let’s go back to your primary partnership. The relationship with your long-term partner certainly didn’t start out this way. If you are like many couples, you probably were ecstatic being sexual together early in your relationship: tender, loving and on fire all at the same time. You were discovering your partner, his/her preferences, his/her body, and who this new person was. This mystery was exciting and sexy. Bridging your two worlds to connect was thrilling and hot.

But now, the intense, passionate sex has subsided with your spouse because she/he is familiar. A fellow Imago therapist, Esther Perel, describes this in her compellingly titled book, Mating in Captivity: Reconciling the Erotic & the Domestic. And, no, it has nothing to do with the mating habits of apes living in zoos.

So how do we bring attraction and hot sex back into marriage?

  • Re-envision your partner as a mystery  to be rediscovered.
  • Don’t assume you know all about your partner. Be curious about the sides of him/her that you don’t typically ask about.
  • Make a ‘sex date’ once a week for erotic touch or talk, not necessarily intercourse. Don’t discount this one. It makes your sex life at least as important as other parts of your lives together, which was likely the case at the beginning of your relationship when things were hot.
  • Remember that having a strong marriage is an essential part of being a good parent. Make sure you focus on your partner as well as your children.
  • Talk to your physician about any physical issues that may be interfering with sex.
  • Talk to your therapist about any emotions that may be interfering.

To learn more about how to pump up the passion and/or to work though an affair, schedule an appointment here at Couples Therapy Center. Call 908-246-3074, email or go to

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