What is maintenance sex? It may help strengthen your marriage

  

Category:  Mental Health and Wellness

Via:  perrie-halpern  •  2 years ago  •  23 comments

What is maintenance sex? It may help strengthen your marriage
A decrease in sex frequency is expected (and normal) in long term relationships. Here's why you should consider scheduling some time in the bedroom.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



By   Wendy Rose Gould

Think back to those hungry, lusty days in your early relationship. The sex wasn’t just good, it was delicious, and your plate was never empty. For those in long term relationships, the difference between your sex life then and now may feel stark. It may even cause you to wonder if your relationship is ultimately doomed.

Perhaps you’ll find comfort in knowing that dwindling sexual intimacy is par for the course in many relationships.

“There's a time in a relationship where you're past the infatuation and discovery phase. You're secure with one another and life's stresses and obligations start to be more of a priority,” says   Dr. Sanam Hafeez , a clinical psychologist based in New York City. “There are a ton of external stressors and things that may threaten being in ‘the mood’ for sex despite being in love. These can be things like work, commutes, parenting or chores.”

Basically, anything we feel like we “have to do” drains our energy and can cause us to feel too tired for sex. The fact that we live in a culture that allows for very little downtime, which sex requires, also contributes to this. (Interestingly, how we’re choosing to spend our downtime in recent years —   largely through digital entertainment   — has also impacted sexual frequency.)

Another potential issue is satiation — the idea that a stimulus becomes less enticing the more we’re exposed to it. Too much of the same takeout can feel monotonous. Your new car isn’t as fun to drive as it did five years ago. You’re not as excited to put on your once-favorite sweater.

“Satiation is the human tendency to become bored. It’s not a fault. It’s being human and is nothing to be ashamed of,” says   Dr. Brian Jory,   a relationship psychologist and author of "Cupid On Trial — What We Learn About Love When Loving Gets Tough."

He adds that aging and medical issues are also culprits of dwindling libido.

“As we age, testosterone levels drop, and this affects men and women alike,” he says. “Pregnancy and childbirth change sexual satisfaction and frequency dramatically, and chronic illness, weight gain and   physical injury   are also factors in declining sex.”

WHY PHYSICAL INTIMACY IS SO IMPORTANT


Your relationship isn’t going to fail just because the sexual aspect isn’t as robust as it was many years (and perhaps several kids) ago. However, operating on autopilot without making a concerted effort to nurture physical intimacy can lead to decreased fulfillment, which is never good.

“Sex is important in a relationship. When we are looking at the brain and hormonal benefits, orgasm releases oxytocin which is the ‘feel good’ hormone that bonds us. This is why, when couples begin to feel that they are drifting or growing apart, they're mostly likely to report a lack of sex,” notes Dr. Hafeez.

In that sense, overall bonding and sexual intimacy are very connected. That said, there’s no “magic number” for how much sex you should have, though a 2017 study   pointed to a frequency of once-weekly .

Dr. Jory adds, “Sex is important to the degree that it makes a couple happy, and the frequency and quality of sex that makes a couple happy varies greatly and depends on a lot of factors: their ages, values, lifestyle, innate sex drive, their health, and most of all, the quality of the relationship.”

MAINTENANCE SEX — WHAT IT IS AND HOW IT CAN HELP


Maintenance sex is essentially “not really in the mood but let’s do it anyway,” sex. It may or may not be planned in advance. Dr. Jory says he believes maintenance sex is essential to the success of a long-term relationship for three reasons.

“First, the biggest problem of most couples is sexual desire — getting in the mood. Couples regularly say that although they were reluctant at first, once they made the plunge to have sex it was a positive experience. It’s the ‘getting started’ that’s the problem for most couples,” he says. “Second, most couples are not perfectly synced in their sex drives. One may want it more often than the other, or one may want it when the other doesn’t.”

This variation is completely normal, he says — even the most compatible couples aren’t libido twins. So long as both parties are wholly on board, indulging one partner in a romp when one isn’t initially in the mood can be beneficial.

“Third, couples need verbal and psychological intimacy before they can have sexual intimacy. Maintenance sex might be healthy because it causes you to talk about your needs and desires — both inside and outside of the bedroom,” says Dr. Jory.

He says that he’s often shocked at how many couples have not, cannot, and will not talk about sex. When he runs into this issue clinically, he works with the couples to essentially learn a whole new language that helps them overcome shame, fear, or embarrassment surrounding the topic of sex.

Dr. Hafeez agrees that purposeful, improved dialogue is always healthy in a relationship.

“It’s best for the couple to acknowledge that they aren't having sex as often as they'd like and then together agree to do something about it,” she says. “Both people are then empowered to really look at their lives and get honest about why they prefer to stay at the office for an extra two hours or wake up on a Saturday and do yard work while the other partner sleeps in.”

HOW TO ENSURE THAT NOT ALL SEX IS MAINTENANCE SEX


Again, how frequently a couple should have sex — maintenance or otherwise — depends on their relationship. Openly discuss what sounds and feels healthy for you, and then take advantage of existing downtime (or create some) in a way that meets each other’s needs. Will it feel sexy at first? Probably not. The goal of maintenance sex, though, is to foster bonding and emotional intimacy. This, in turn can naturally improve sex drive and passion.

The further spark sex drive and satisfaction, do this:

  • Introduce new stimuli:   “You have to spice things up,” says Dr. Jory. “Try to keep sex interesting by trying out new activities, toys, lingerie, positions, games and fantasies.”
  • Keep tech out of the bedroom:   “Remove the TV from the bedroom and make the bedroom a tech-free zone,” advises Dr. Hafeez. “Buy an actual alarm clock. Don't have your cellphone on the nightstand as the first thing you reach for in the morning. Morning sex is fast and a great way to begin the day.”
  • Make sure both parties climax:   It may seem like a given, but   women statistically have fewer orgasms than men .
  • Foster intimacy elsewhere:   Overall relationship happiness can lead to more fulfilling sex. Plan date nights, get the kids a babysitter, set non-sexual goals together, work on projects. Make time to connect.
  • Identify and reduce stressors:   This takes time and effort, but   stress is a major libido killer .
  • Really get to the root:   “When two people who love each other are not having sex there is a reason which can be shifted,” says Dr. Hafeez. An open dialogue and a desire to fix the root of the issue are key.

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Perrie Halpern R.A.
Professor Principal
1  seeder  Perrie Halpern R.A.    2 years ago

What a concept.. maintenance sex. Isn't that what we called a "quicky"?

But seriously, from a male and female perspective, what do you think of this? 

And be sure to watch the video. Very informative. 

 

 
 
 
epistte
Junior Principal
1.1  epistte  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @1    2 years ago
What a concept.. maintenance sex. Isn't that what we called a "quicky"? But seriously, from a male and female perspective, what do you think of this? 

I oppose the idea of turning intimately into the same emotional intimacy level as exercise and cleaning the house.  I want to be with him because of the emotional bond or a hormonal peak instead of because it's Wednesday night.

 
 
 
Gordy327
Professor Principal
1.1.1  Gordy327  replied to  epistte @1.1    2 years ago

I tend to agree with you. But perhaps a little "maintenance" can help reignite new passion and connection. 

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
Professor Principal
1.1.2  seeder  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  Gordy327 @1.1.1    2 years ago

I think the point of this is a. for couples who have been together a long time and b. might have gotten into a rut when it comes to intimacy. Not really sure, since I have never heard of the term before.

 
 
 
Gordy327
Professor Principal
1.1.3  Gordy327  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @1.1.2    2 years ago
I think the point of this is a. for couples who have been together a long time and b. might have gotten into a rut when it comes to intimacy.

Intimacy can help reignite passion. However, if it's just for "maintenance," then it becomes a chore rather than a desire. But something more is probably needed to "spice" up the love life. Especially if a couple has been together for a long time. I see "maintenance" as a means to enable a couple to spend time together, assuming things have been cool for a while. Perhaps it's just a little push to regain what has otherwise become stale, as it were. 

 
 
 
Nowhere Man
Junior Participates
1.2  Nowhere Man  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @1    2 years ago
But seriously, from a male and female perspective, what do you think of this?

My opinion is she said "I Do" in front of her god and the entire world. She believes in the same thing.

We also both believe in "use it or lose it" Although at our age she expects me to recognize when the door is closed and respect that. In return she expects me to know, (and take advantage of) when the door is "open".

Call it whatever you will, but the wife's thinking is that if I don't take advantage then whatever it was with her that made me want it when I was 35 is gone and it's time to go. Some of her coffee klastch girls tell me I should act my age and not my shirt size..... She snickers at them when they do which usually leads to a girls talk session..... (and I sneak away to let them have their "girl talk" time)

I guess it is all about how you approach life and what makes a match....

My personal opinion if I get to the point I don't want it anymore or am unable to access that side of married life, it's time to check out....

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
Professor Principal
1.2.1  seeder  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  Nowhere Man @1.2    2 years ago
My personal opinion if I get to the point I don't want it anymore or am unable to access that side of married life, it's time to check out....

I think if a lot of people took that attitude, we'd be having mass suicide, LOL!

 
 
 
Nowhere Man
Junior Participates
1.2.2  Nowhere Man  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @1.2.1    2 years ago

Well thankfully the want never goes away, even if I can't access it whenever I want.

 
 
 
Sunshine
PhD Guide
1.3  Sunshine  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @1    2 years ago
Isn't that what we called a "quicky"?

A "quicky" is more spontaneous I think compared to calling it "maintenance" where it sounds more planned.  Either way the couples should do was is best for both of them.  

 
 
 
Sunshine
PhD Guide
1.3.2  Sunshine  replied to    2 years ago

lol...I thought that about a quickie but maintenance sounds a bit robotic.  I guess a tune up is necessary though.

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
Professor Principal
1.3.3  seeder  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to  Sunshine @1.3.2    2 years ago
I guess a tune up is necessary though.

I like that term better.

 
 
 
Perrie Halpern R.A.
Professor Principal
1.3.4  seeder  Perrie Halpern R.A.  replied to    2 years ago
I'd just call it fuckin' for fun.

Well as long as everyone is having fun, why not?

 
 
 
Release The Kraken
PhD Principal
1.3.5  Release The Kraken  replied to  Perrie Halpern R.A. @1.3.4    2 years ago

It's important to have safety and liability waivers signed with a public notary.

 
 
 
Release The Kraken
PhD Principal
3  Release The Kraken    2 years ago

A week in the life of the fish bowl....

Monogamous Monday.

Tar me Tuesday.

(hump day is intimate genital recovery day)

Thursday night lights is video night

Freak sex Friday (usually includes high quality drugs and alcohol and lot's of weird)

Saturday is a shame day. 

Sinning Sundays usually highlights some of the bibles greatest abominations.

When we go on vacation we usually don't have sex......everyone needs a break and skin must heal.

 
 
 
Kathleen
Professor Principal
4  Kathleen    2 years ago

I think the best ones are the ones that just happen out of the blue.

 
 
 
Release The Kraken
PhD Principal
4.1  Release The Kraken  replied to  Kathleen @4    2 years ago

If it's often it never gets blue.....

 
 
 
Enoch
Masters Participates
5  Enoch    2 years ago

Making sweet love is how a couple expresses what they fell for each other.

The desire to please your life partner is an important part of that expression of caring, and sharing.

When Mrs. E. and I decided to live our time together we were a couple.

Over time we became a family.

Children, Congregation, Community, Careers and other words beginning in a "c" had the potential to drive us apart.

We never let it.

A very wise woman once advised that we set aside time each day and week to be just a couple.

Strengthen our bond.

Now, in our Geezerdom we are back to being a couple full time.

Its been a great run.

We are part of the animal kingdom.

We need all aspects of life to share, including spiritual, emotional, physical etc.

We met in fall 1970.

We married June 1971.

It is now January 2019.

I don't want to jump to conclusions.

So far, so good!

Our relationship duidn't fall out of the sky. 

It works because we work at it daily.

We do so because we each know life is better together than apart.

By putting the fulfillment of the needs of each other first, in a world of irony each of us is fully satisfied by life together.

Its all a matter of focus.

Turn your attention and energy to the other.

Let each think they are the lucky one to be in the relationship.

Two hearts beating as one, while retaining and respecting the individuality of the other.

A good way to live.

Human needs are not intrinsically good or bad.

They just are.

If used for positive, then good emerges. 

Therefore, choose and use good.

Peace and Abundant Blessings To One and All.

Enoch.

 
 
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