In a long term relationship, feelings transform slowly from attraction, lust and intrigue to companionship, loving and a sense safety. Sex is less about getting to the finish line or the performance and more about the comfort of mutual gratification. However if safety means ‘the same old thing’ sexually – it can kill the necessary erotic aspects that keep sex interesting. Letting safety be the foundation for mutual exploration of new sexual territory is the bonus in a long term relationship.
So there are different stages of sex :
The Infatuation Stage: In the early stages of a relationship, sex is the most passionate because you’re really experiencing ‘the heat of the moment’. The the anticipation of sex is what makes even the thought of sex really hot. Since we tend to long for what we don’t have, that’s when the desire and attraction really takes over our feelings.
The “GotYa” Stage: Now, you’re more comfortable in your relationship. You’ve succeeded in conquering the other person or allowing yourself be conquered. Sex becomes more than just a hot physical act, because it creates a strong and loving bond. “The chemicals surging through your brain during sex change, some of which include Oxytocin, often known as the ‘bonding hormone’,” says Tammy Nelson. This makes the sex feel more intimate and emotionally charged. When couples stop having sex, they feel a lack of this bonding which can inflame other points of conflict- more than if sex was happening on a more regular basis.
The Commit Stage: Once engaged, there is a realization that the relationship is permanent. Couples can finally relax to the fullest knowing they’ve ‘committed to forever’. “Sex can be better because you are really revealing your true desires and you aren’t afraid to be naked in front of one another,” says Tammy Nelson, noted couples therapist and author of Getting the Sex You Want. There is also a true vulnerability that comes with knowing this is ‘IT’. There may be more fighting during this phase as couples work more to figure out their future life together. “Make-up Sex” is very helpful in putting disputes to rest. Nelson says, sometimes the best sex is the sex you have to smooth things over and remind one another that the only thing that matters is your love.
The Roommate Stage: After officially tying the knot, couples will find that they’re settling into being friends and the business of running a marriage. Activities becomes more routine, including sex. “While it’s great and important to be companions, don’t forget you’re lovers,” says Nelson. “Keep it exciting by reminding each other why you got married and think back to the Infatuation Stage.
The Maintenance Stage: Years into marriage, sex may move down on the priority list and feel like a ‘must do’. That is why it is important to not fall asleep on the job. “You have to work as hard on your erotic life now than you ever have before, even more than your companionship,” says Nelson. “Many think that the sex life will work itself out, but it’s really the ‘roommate life’ that will. Never stop thinking about and having sex.”
The Aging Stage: Now, you’re celebrating your 20th anniversary. According to Nelson, the best sex you will ever have is in your 50s and 60s. Why? You’ve been connected for decades and lived through the ups and downs of life. The kids will likely be out of the house and many of the major bills paid off. You also definitely know what you like in bed. “Don’t think that menopause or the need for an occasional Viagra will slow you down,” says Nelson.
We see the role that sex plays in relationships–it’s vital to a lasting, loving relationship or marriage. Don’t take sex for granted. Making your sex life a priority will keep you and your partner closer and happier for the rest of your life.