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Tracey Cox says you CAN maintain long-term passion

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Can lust REALLY last the distance? Tracey Cox insists you CAN maintain passion long after the honeymoon phase has ended (and reveals seven top tips to boost a dwindling sex life)

  • Tracey Cox gives her tips on keeping the passion alive through your relationship
  • The sex and relationship expert says the key is to have realistic expectations  
  • Shares tips on what to do if you and your partner have stopped having sex 

By Tracey Cox for MailOnline

Published: 03:55 EDT, 16 May 2018 | Updated: 04:10 EDT, 16 May 2018

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The fairytale says we meet, fall in love and live happily ever after.

It certainly didn’t include being so bored in bed, it’s more fun having sex with yourself than it is having sex with your partner.

Can lust last the distance? It’s not designed to…but there are ways to trick the system.

The choice no-one wants to make

If you had to choose between being absolutely and totally in love and having a deeply satisfying, pretty sensational sex life, what would you settle for?

Tracey Cox says that although it is difficult it is possible to keep the passion going throughout your relationship 
Tracey Cox says that although it is difficult it is possible to keep the passion going throughout your relationship 

Tracey Cox says that although it is difficult it is possible to keep the passion going throughout your relationship 

It’s a choice no-one thinks they’ll ever have to make – and sure as hell never wants put in front of them – but, I have to be honest, all the recent research (rather depressingly) tends to point this way.

Don’t jump off the cliff just yet – there are things you can do to circumvent this – but the first step does seem to be accepting that love and lust aren’t quite the chummy bedfellows we thought they were.

Why lust and love are bitter enemies

When we fall in love with someone, we ‘merge’ with the other person.

This makes us feel all safe and snuggly and at peace with the world and our partner – but kills desire.

Desire surges to its most powerful, wondrous peak when we first meet and want someone, simply because we’re unsure if our feelings are reciprocated.

Once it turns out they’re just as besotted as we are (be still our beating heart!), the distance that was between us disappears (be still our beating groin – not quite so fab) and all the uncertainty, edginess, anxiety and jealousy that kept us in that feverish, longing state is suddenly removed. Novelty, risk and separation all up the desire factor.

Tracey says that feeling comfotable with someone can kill your desire 
Tracey says that feeling comfotable with someone can kill your desire 

Tracey says that feeling comfotable with someone can kill your desire 

We want quite the opposite in love so actively seek out exactly what will destroy it.

Even worse, we can’t blame each other for this because it’s not the fault of either sex – though we both don’t help matters.

Men can’t multi-task

Men, for instance, are rubbish at lusting and loving simultaneously for partly biological reasons.

The male brain releases high levels of vasopressin when deeply in love and that, in turn, decreases the level of testosterone, the hormone responsible for sex drive.

But it’s not just that.

Loving someone, means worrying about their well-being.

The pursuit of pleasure requires us to be selfish little sods: become too absorbed with your partner’s pleasure and you’ll lose desire for them. When this happens, men often think they’ve fallen out of love but quite the opposite has happened: they’re too in love.

Desire and lust makes you want to do filthy, sometimes quite degrading things to your partner.

If they’re sitting on a pedestal or love and respect, the two don’t sit easily together.

‘Sex without sin is like an egg without salt’, said the famous director Luis Bunuel.

Take away the ability to sin and you take away desire.

Women think too much

Meanwhile, her desire follows another, equally disastrous, path.

Female desire is often linked to how we think our partner feels about us.

In the beginning when he wanted to slam us up against the fridge and bugger dinner, we’d be like ‘Fabulous! He must really fancy me.’

One year in, he’ll do the same thing and instead of our eyes becoming hooded with lust, they’ll narrow with suspicion.

Instead of thinking ‘Great!’ we’re liable to think ‘Why?’

Is he having sex with us, or having sex because he just feels like sex? Who’s he thinking of when he’s doing it? Is it leftover lust from eyeing off that new girl in the office?

Feeling unattractive, hormones and insecurities are just some of the reasons that might put you off bedroom action
Feeling unattractive, hormones and insecurities are just some of the reasons that might put you off bedroom action

Feeling unattractive, hormones and insecurities are just some of the reasons that might put you off bedroom action

Then the body issue thing kicks in.

It wouldn’t occur to men to think ‘Jesus! The old beer gut’s looking a bit large today. Better not shag the Missus’.

But one unflattering reflection in return for a fleeting glance in a mirror on the way to the bedroom and it’s like someone put a pin in the desire balloon.

Other lust hijackers

Feeling unattractive. Hormones. Emotional history. Insecurity. Not liking your partner much. Genetics. These are just a few of the things that transpire to rob us of lust.

Our baseline personality also plays a part, as does life experience. Sexual desire is a lust for life as well as sex: you need to be excited by life to be excited by your partner.

Long-term relationships move through three stages: lust/infatuation, romantic love and attachment.

The third stage is designed to be calmer, to provide us with a sense of stability so we can mate and procreate (which, let’s face it, is sort of the point even if we like to forget it is.)

It’s around this stage that what you never thought was going to happen to you does: you’re – dear God! – bored!

IF YOU’VE STOPPED HAVING REGULAR SEX 

Make a pact to become sex partners again

Rule out any health or emotional problems that might be interfering: medication (anti-depressants?), anger in the relationship, painful intercourse, erection issues.

If you need to seek professional help, do it. Did you both just fall into complacency or did something happen to stop you regularly having sex?

Decide on obvious ‘I’m up for it’ signals.

If you’re a touchy, feely couple and also ultra-considerate (She’s tired, bless her. I’ll just massage her shoulders and see if it leads to anything), it’s easy to miss each other’s tentative little sexual overtures.

Work out some that are so obvious even the cat knows what’s on the agenda for the evening.

Start sending those signals.

You have to have sex to want sex.

One of the best ways to break out of a sex rut is to just close your eyes and go for it even if you aren’t champing at the bit.

Act on a mere flicker of desire and see where it leads you.

Get over the idea that you’re both somehow going to be instantly aroused just by looking at each other.

That happens at the very, very start when it’s all as romantic as a Richard Curtis film (with very rude bits thrown in).

It’s not going to happen when you’ve already done it to the same person and body 20,000 times.

You need to turn yourselves on.

Penises age

You also both also need to give up on the idea that he’s going to get an instant erection every time he so much as thinks about sex.

Again, that’s how things worked at the start - like when you were 18 - not 30 and over.

Lots of men need to be physically stimulated before an erection appears, it may not just happen automatically.

Introduce some quickies.

If you make a pact to have sex three times a week for five minutes each time, it will kickstart your libido.

Consider seeing a sex therapist.

If you haven’t had sex for a while, doing it again will feel weird.

But you should start to feel some type of connection after about a month if you’re seriously trying a few new things, talking honestly about it and doing it on a regular basis.

If after all this, you’re both still nonplussed, you might like to consider seeing a sex therapist.

It sounds drastic but hit a good one and you’ll be making whoopee like you never dreamed possible in no time at all!

So bored in fact, masturbating is more fun than having sex with your partner: at least then you can watch some porn or play out that fantasy about seducing your way too attractive next-door neighbour.

Suddenly, you find yourself in love but not in lust and that leaves you, well, confused.

This isn’t right! This isn’t what happens in the movies!

Panicked, we either cheat, leave or settle for what we think is our lot: sexual despondency.

The fact is, we’re built to fall in love but not to stay that way.

For those of you who are still reading and not swinging from the rafters, the thing is, I’m not really telling you anything you don’t already know, simply explaining why.

We all know nearly half of all marriages end in divorce, this just gives a little insight as to why this might be.

But while it might be common, it’s not inevitable that your relationship will follow this rather dire passion pattern.

Here’s how to trick Mother Nature…

LUST LIFTERS THAT WORK

Stop trying to live up to society’s idea of the ideal sex life and instead focus on what turns you and your partner on and experiment with that.

Look and act sexy and drop the ‘You should love me no matter what’ attitude. They probably still do love you when you’re sprawled on the floor in front of the telly, cutting your toe-nails. Whether they’ll suddenly want to have sex with you is another thing.

Fantasise and stop stressing about it.

Physically having sex with your partner and mentally having it with someone completely different isn’t wrong, it’s what’s going to stop you straying.

Stop being sex robots.

When you’ve been with someone a long time, you develop a ‘sexual shorthand’. You know exactly what to do to make them orgasm and they do you.

Because it works and it’s easy, you then so rarely stray from that path, your bodies know how to do it all by themselves.

Effective, yes. When you’re both tired or time deprived, appreciated. Exciting long-term, hell no.

Change location

It’s one of the quickest ways to make sex more exciting.

A passionate snog and sneaky feel spirals to sizzling hot if it’s done in the back of a cab.

Ditto the position you’ve done countless times when it’s on the bonnet of your car in the garage.

Trade-offs don’t always work.

Promise to do it their way one time, and yours another and you risk feeling resentful when it’s not your turn – and getting a lackluster, lukewarm response from them when it’s yours.

Compromise but try to find middle ground or at least blend ‘turns’ into the same session.

Don’t fall for the clichés.

Lose the idea that singles sex is raunchy and rampant and married sex is loving and affectionate.

The naughtier the sex, the happier the couple! On that note…

Lose the idea that it’s disrespectful to do or suggest doing filthy things to your long-term partner.

So many people let go and indulge in wonderfully naughty sex with people they have no intention of staying with but turn prudish and proper when they meet someone they do see a future with.

Perfect your technique and work out physically what you each need but remember desire starts in the brain.

It’s as important to connect before and after sex as it is during it.

Don’t be scared to add outside stimulation.

If porn’s not your thing, written erotica might be.

Sex lives all around the world were transformed by women reading Fifty Shades.  

Find one at relate.org.uk or itsgoodtotalk.org.uk.

Visit traceycox.com to see new products in Tracey’s supersex and Edge ranges and for more information about sex and relationships. 

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