I got a call the other day from my best friend of seven years informing me that her long-time boyfriend had just broken up with her. If you have ever been in this position, then you know the fight-or-flight feeling that goes straight through your body. I grabbed my keys and put on my sweatshirt with every intention of driving down to Santa Barbara and comforting her, knowing I would have to leave at some ridiculous hour of the morning to make it back for class the following day.
As I walked out the door, I realized I only had a quarter of a tank of gas and two dollars in the bank. My Jeep and I weren’t gonna make it to Santa Barbara tonight. I would have to become an instant therapist over the phone.
A three-year relationship was over and both partners now had to move on. It was interesting to look back in time on all the events of their past as she told me of their relationship and how it had
morphed over the months and years.
They began as everyone else does — giddy, sexually curious and excited even at the touch of a hand on the back. Although they began happy to be together, over the past few months, their affection faded. The word love wasn’t even uttered anymore, the excitement had ceased and there hadn’t been any sexual festivities in months.
As they were rather religious, sex wasn’t a huge deal for them. But as I walked through their relationship on the phone with my friend, I couldn’t help but think about how sex changes throughout a relationship and how the actual focus of the relationship changes as well. How is it that we can go from sex-obsessed, unable to get enough of it for the first six months of a relationship and then have it just spiral downward from there on out until foreplay becomes a foreign word for both parties?
There seems to be this destined timeline that suffocates relationships. You can have the most amazing sex, be extremely satisfied and have the most fun with this same person monogamously for quite a few months before you begin to see this lack of interest take over in the bedroom.
Almost everyone who has been in a serious relationship can relate to this unfortunate feeling. It’s the one where you are laying there in the dark making out, yet thinking about a million other things rather than your partner’s super-nice body, or even how the making out feels on your lips — it turns almost into this instantaneous disinterest.
Is there a way to beat this? Is it that your partner just isn’t visually as appealing as you need? Or is it that you are, in fact, bored and probably not going to make it in the dating world?
Most people in this situation just fake the rest — they fake the ‘ohs,’ they fake the ‘ahhs,’ they fake the after-sex discussion about how good it was. They fake all of this because they would rather just pretend that it is just this night, or just this week rather than confront the situation at hand.
They might even use the sex in many different ways, such as to relieve their stress, to distract themselves from life, to make their partner happy or even just so they can ignore the issues going on in their relationship instead of enjoying it like they used to. This is disappointing. Sex should be comforting and pleasurable — lovers shouldn’t feel like a zombie when the clothes come off!
Although I hate to say it, lack of interest in sex is a pattern when it comes to long-term relationships. It might mean a couple of different things. Maybe the relationship has come to a standstill or maybe one or both partners is extremely busy and stress overcomes sexual intimacy.
No matter what the timing is, partners should ask themselves if this pause is a reflection of their relationship or if it’s just the unfortunate outcome of not having the time for physical intimacy at the time.
It seems harsh to say, but at some point everyone will hit a similar dry spell in their relationship. When you reach that point you will need to decide if you’re okay with a once-a-week blowout, or if your hormones are simply not ready to give up the rigorous regimen that the first four months of the relationship put in place.