Personality Cafe banner
1 - 20 of 26 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,090 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Many of us probably know about the biology of love, the so-called "lust and attraction stages". That the former only tends to last weeks to months, and the latter two years at the most. And still: Some couples keep on being sexually attracted to each other after many years (and occasionally even experience a "lust stage" again), others aren't. Some split up because of it, some end up in a sexless marriage/relationship without necessarily being happy about it (whilst others don't mind).

Since I'm delving into the depths of relationship counselling at the moment (I study Psychology/Counselling), but also because I'm a nosy human being:

Do you personally feel that sexual attraction stops/gets significantly less if you're in a longterm relationship?

If yes, why? And do you just give up and move on?
If no, why? And how do you keep the sparks flying?

I've been with my current partner for 8 years, and I can honestly say that I am still very sexually attracted to him, and it seems the same way the other way round ;)
Granted, the crazy "we're at it all night"-thing you experience at the very beginning doesn't happen that often these days (although it occasionally still does ;)), but I don't just love him deeply, I am also very much infatuated, even after 8 years. I have experienced this to varying degrees in other relationships. In others, I had very little drive after six months or so.

I tried to think of reasons why this isn't an issue in my current relationship, and in no particular order, I'd say:
 


  • We feel connected on a very deep, emotional level. I'd really say we're soulmates, even if that sounds trite.
  • We never take each other for granted, because the beginning of our relationship was not the easiest.
  • We make an effort for each other. We're comfortable around each other looking like shit, but that doesn't mean we let ourselves go, or that we don't try to look nice for each other. I know he's desirable to other women, and he knows other men still look at me. It doesn't make me jealous - it actually makes me grateful because I know he choses me over them.
  • We do stuff for each other. Even if it's just little things. Every day. I pop by his studio and bring him lunch because I noticed he forgot it. He just buys me a Bluray out of nowhere, because he knows I admire the director. Just little things like that, which seem like nothing, but they show me he cares.
  • We always remember what made us fall in love with each other in the first place.
  • We talk. We fight (a lot actually ;)), but we don't hold grudges. We don't bottle up anger.
  • We listen to each other, even if that sometimes means to just shut up.
  • We give each other a lot of space: Non-mutual friendships and hobbies, places and spaces that only belong to us.
  • We also have mutual hobbies however, and really devote time to them.
  • We actually still go on dates. Our "dating phase" was not exactly what most people would perceive as one, so we appreciate it all the more.
  • We make each other laugh. A lot. Everywhere, that includes the bedroom. We're both a bit silly really ;)
  • We look at each other, not past each other. We have a lot of eye-contact.
  • We touch a lot in non-sexual ways.
  • We never, and I repeat: NEVER call each other "babe", "honey", "love", or by another "pet name". I want to be called by my first name. That's me. Not some replaceable, asexual thing. Might seem weird to some, but I feel very strongly about it.
  • We like innuendos and building up sexual tension. No matter how "inappropriate" the situation.
  • We always let each other know what turns us on, what doesn't, and what we'd like to try. We're essentially not embarrassed. We trust each other.

This might all sound really daft, and of course staying sexually attracted involves work: Not getting complacent, being creative and so on. I can honestly say though that this never feels like work, whilst it has felt like work in other relationships (sometimes like work I wasn't willing to commit to because the foundations didn't feel solid). So is it just putting in the "work", or is there another element? Or a bit of both? What do you think?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,795 Posts
I think it involves a bit of work but the attraction can be maintained. It will come and go a bit over the long haul though. You need to realize that you need to keep on your toes with your partner or it's likely they'll eventually find someone else that makes them excited about life again.

Think of it this way, would you want to start a new relationship with someone that's let themselves go, constantly points out the bad stuff and doesn't compliment or help you, etc? No, you'd want the romance. Date your partner, keep up with yourself, communicate your needs, and I think you can keep finding that original attraction again and again, assuming it was there to start with.

Here are some good articles on this subject, actually this entire site is good.
Romance and sex
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
43 Posts
It depends on the person you're with, definitely.
I've been in four long-term relationships.
Relationship #1: 4 years. Lost sexual interest at year 2.
Relationship #2: 2 years. Never lost sexual interest.
Relationship #3: 4 years. Lost sexual interest after year 1.
Relationship #4. Resulted in marriage, 4 years and counting. Still very sexually involved. I've never been attracted to someone so much. He's an ISTP. Not sure if that has a lot to do with it, but we have incredible chemistry.

I feel that I need to add, that upon learning many things about past relationships, I've decided to always make an effort on my appearance. Shallow? Possibly, but I am a very visual person as is my husband. It helps that we're both very active and "bendy" :O
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,090 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I feel that I need to add, that upon learning many things about past relationships, I've decided to always make an effort on my appearance. Shallow? Possibly, but I am a very visual person as is my husband. It helps that we're both very active and "bendy"
I personally don't think that's shallow at all. It pretty much goes into the direction I described in my spoiler tags:

I really believe that your relationship is doomed as soon as you stop making an effort for each other, in whatever way. Now, not everyone cares about clothes, make-up, whatever, but that's not the point. The point is, imho, that if you stop doing what you did at the start, you basically show that you take each other for granted. If you always made an effort appearance-wise, but now look like a slob, you send a very clear message.

And I also agree that it must depend on the relationship. All that textbook-advice about how to spice up your sex-life in a longterm relationship is good and well, but if it feels like a chore, something isn't right in the first place. I can honestly say that I never needed it in my current relationship, but that I might have needed it in other relationships that were actually shorter. So the "compatibility-factor" must play a role in it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
98 Posts
Agree with everyone else...to keep the attraction, you have to keep up appearances. Which is physical, but also to keep complimenting each other, keep spoiling each other, listening to each other and going on dates, chasing after each other, etc.

My only other relationship lasted almost 9 years. Sex was never stellar and fell out of it as soon as we started confronting our problems and not caring how the other person felt.

My current relationship is only a year old, but we work very hard at staying connected. We take the time to communicate that we still want each other even when we're too tired to make a go at it, and we still do little things to keep the spark alive. While he now does the unromantic things like farting and adjusting himself in my presence, he still wakes up every morning thinking "How can I make her feel wanted?" and I think the same thing.
 

·
Registered
INTP 874 sx/sp VLEF melancholic
Joined
·
17,126 Posts
I think maintaining a relationship is like maintaining your body. The more you exercise the better. People can do short diets and exercise plans mostly. But to continually exercise long term takes a commitment, and not a commitment made by feeling forced to do it. Once you stop exercising your body will respond negatively. Once you stop trying in the relationship the relationship will respond negatively.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,491 Posts
Been in a long time relationship for almost 5 years though. I dunno, to be honest I've never really been sexually inclined to do anything, whereas he still very much is. I guess I'm just really not that bothered, and since he refuses to break up I just need to take what I can get. So if he's happy with the amount of sexual stuff going on, and I just let him get on with it, it suits us kinda fine in the long run I guess.
 

·
Registered
INFJ 6w5, 1w2, 2w1 Sx/Sp
Joined
·
10,590 Posts
Well I think you pretty much covered everything lol but I'll try to answer anyway:

Do you personally feel that sexual attraction stops/gets significantly less if you're in a longterm relationship? Me personally or people in general? People in general - it depends on the person and what they have going on in life. For me, I've only had one long term relationship (the one I'm in now - been married for almost seven years).

If yes, why? And do you just give up and move on? It's more like....it comes and goes depending on the season and state of mind we are both in. No, I don't just give up as I made a commitment to this person until I die. Besides, sex isn't everything to either of us anyway.

And how do you keep the sparks flying?
Just as you said - constantly making the effort to cultivate intimacy. Being open and honest with one another, sharing what is on our hearts. Also being open about what we fantasize about and want sexually and also what we don't want. All this done without judgment, only support, love and wisdom offered. Do we always live up to that? No. But then, we're not perfect. But when we do live up to doing those things, it works wonderfully every time.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,516 Posts
if both people actually have the potential to be compatible (i.e., they're not trying to work out their own issues through relationships, hence the "attraction" which has to invariably fade):

i think it has more to do with each person's level of health. some things can get buried in stress, or in unresolved problems, and this can staunch a sex life--but it isn't necessarily due to a "lack of attraction".

i don't think there's some amazing secret to be found in a book somewhere (not saying that's what you're about); each person just has to be self-aware and communicative--if attraction is there, it can be bolstered by actual intimacy.
 

·
Registered
INTP 874 sx/sp VLEF melancholic
Joined
·
17,126 Posts
I think i'm weird, but I am only attracted to people I love - so as the love deepens so does my attraction for them. To me it has nothing to do with looks, at all, and everything to do with how I feel about the person. Resentment and disloyalty make them unattractive, even when I love them.
You're not weird. That's how I am.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Aquamarine

·
Registered
Joined
·
421 Posts
I think i'm weird, but I am only attracted to people I love - so as the love deepens so does my attraction for them. To me it has nothing to do with looks, at all, and everything to do with how I feel about the person. Resentment and disloyalty make them unattractive, even when I love them.
You're not weird. That's how I am.
Remember also, that sex deepens the emotional bond between partners. During a recent second-honeymoon phase I only just realized how powerful this effect is.
So it's a virtuous circle really.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,090 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
i think OP is very lucky indeed
We are lucky that we met in the first place, and that our emotional connection is very strong due to the rather rocky beginnings of our relationship. I think there's a massive awareness that it all could have went very differently.

Having said that, the rest is probably not more luck than in any other relationship. Even if writing that you're still deeply in love with someone after 8 years, and that you're still sexually attracted, can come across as slightly airy-fairy:
No relationship is without problems. We have jobs, we have things that affect us on a daily basis, and occasionally, we take that home. It's not always possible to leave all of that at the door, and both of us can have absolutely stinking moods ;)

But you need to make time for each other (the ominous "quality-time"), and I totally agree with @associative
I thought long and hard about how to word this, because I already hear (especially) women and men alike howling in disgust, but I'll try it anyway:

From other relationship-experiences, I'd say it's very easy to have daily life grind you down and simply go: "I don't feel like it". And if you always argue that way, you very soon find yourself in a sexless relationship (yep, been there, done that, although I have to admit the problems were really much deeper than that).

I won't go into the old "Men need sex to feel close and women need to feel close to have sex"-thing now, because that's only partially true in my opinion. What is true however is that you sometimes don't feel like it, but your partner does. If it's really an absolute no no, and you feel like shit, really don't, goes without saying. But sometimes, you think you don't feel like it, but you can get over a certain threshold if you just try. And then you actually end up enjoying it, you feel really close, and you're glad you didn't just brush it off (er ;)). And you actually want it again - same day, next day, whatever. It really has nothing to do with doing something you don't want.
Having more sex makes you want more sex - sounds stupid, but is true, at least for me...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,602 Posts
I think that I've been denying myself too much of my feelings towards my significant others in the past, which is the main reason behind my past relationships and current one crumbling down. So, I think that being trusting enough to be vulnerable to one's SO is very important. The rest, it seems, will naturally come after that. :wink:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17,350 Posts
I've seen a point in social psychology of relationships about interruptions to a relationship.
That negative interruptions can undermine a relationship but one needs to have positive interruptions to maintain the novelty. With positive novelty often comes increased intimacy and following intimacy generally comes more sex and the passionate love associated with early days of a relationship.
Without positive interruptions, relationship fizzes out because its simply boring, it's stagnate.

There's also a good tip of capitalization.
When a person shares their positive experiences with their partner and their partner takes enjoyment in what positive thing happened to their partner, it increases intimacy. This is a simple way of improving the relationship, by simply being happy for your partner when they get happy about something.
I've noticed this where partner isn't excited about what i'm excited about as much as they're excited for me and the good thing happening, sharing positives is good ^_^
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,528 Posts
I've been with my husband 14 years, we haven't lost sexual attraction at all. :blushed:
 
  • Like
Reactions: Wellsy

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,950 Posts
Communication it's the key. Also being open minded about what your partner wants or don't want, sharing the fantasies, etc. It also depends on the chemistry. There's couples that only by hearing their partner's voice can get horny.
 
1 - 20 of 26 Posts
Top