Fact # 1: Your libido will decrease over the course of any long-term relationship. This is due to the naturally produced neurochemicals in the body during the infatuation stage that make one hyper-sexual during the initial stage of the relationship. These chemicals and their effect on desire taper off over time and each individual returns to their own “normal” level of libido. Fact #2: More women than men suffer from a low libido. This is because testosterone fuels desire and men generally have higher levels of testosterone than women. However, there are a number men who experience a low sex-drive. Common causes for low libido in men include depression, low self-esteem, and other emotional and relationship issues. Fact # 3: Unfortunately, there are a number of libido killers. They include depression, health challenges, poor body image, hormones, medications, the recent birth of a child and, of course, relationship strife. Frequent misunderstandings between you and your partner will most likely do damage to your sex life. Hollywood likes to show couples having hot, “make-up sex” right after an argument. In reality, though, most couples report feeling raw, shaken up, and emotionally distant from their partners after big fight. And that is not a recipe for good or frequent sexual interludes. Happier couples have better sex. #4: In a long-term, committed relationship it’s NORMAL for one partner to have a higher sex drive than the other. This difference is prevalent in our society and, by itself, is not enough to kill a relationship. However, the way each couple chooses to resolve (or avoid) this issue can have a significant impact on each partner’s level of satisfaction in the relationship in general. Fact #5: 45% of women in relationships have physiological urges or think about having sex less than twice a month. In order to initiate or even be receptive to sex they must first become cognitively aware “Hay, it’s been a while.” A physiological craving may not be present the way that it was when they were younger or the way it is for their partner. These women often have to use their minds to then get their bodies on board with their plan to have sex. This can be done by doing things that will help them to relax and to feel attractive. Erotica is also a highly effective tool for a number of females. (Uh, hello, nobody read Fifty Shades of Grey for its rivoting plot!) Fact #6: Research has shown that the majority of women need an minimum of 14 minutes of foreplay to reach a state of sexual arousal. So just to recap, you’ve already learned that the average woman has to deal with low levels of testosterone and infrequent biological urges for sex. By now you should be recognizing the way that females can be like a cool, old classic automobile. – The engine needs to idle for a while before you try to back out of the driveway. So if you try to cut it short on the foreplay or skip the foreplay entirely, then you may as well roll over and go to sleep because there may not be enough desire in the room for a fulfilling sexual interlude. 14 minutes. Minimum. Fact #7: Females often need to feel emotionally close to their partner to be in the mood and meaningful conversation helps them to feel connected. Research has substantiated these insights by showing that when a woman talks to her partner in depth, her body often produces oxytocin. This is the same feel-good neurochemical that acts as a bonding agent to help a woman feel close to her infant when she breast feeds or to her partner when she orgasms. Not having as much sex with your female partner as you’d like? Try spending more time in conversations with her. It may be a greater aphrodisiac than you’d recognized. Fact #8: The importance of sex to men is often minimized or discounted by their long-term partners. Their partners often believe “He’s just in it for the orgasm.” After all, we live in a society where we generally believe “men like sex” and that men can be more casual about sex. While that may be true to a point, this minimizing attitude also makes it easier for any man’s partner to justify pulling away from him sexually. Countless men have expressed to me in all sincerity that it’s during and after making love that they feel most in-sync or emotionally close to their partners. Still skeptical about how the man in your life views sex? Then ask him when you have a quiet moment alone: “Out of our entire life together, which moments do you feel the closest to me or the happiest in our relationship?” Fact #9: You have to be willing to endure feelings of vulnerability to have a healthy sex drive and a healthy sex life. Nobody loves vulnerability but you have to endure it in order to access what most adults crave from their partners – deep intimacy both in and outside of the bedroom. Fact #10: Sex with a long term partner holds the greatest potential for fun! Despite all of the aforementioned challenges that long-term couples must navigate to have fun and vibrant sexual relationships, having hot sex with someone that knows you well and that you love beats out casual sex with a practical stranger any day of the week – even if the casual sex is hot. Experts conclude that only couples in long-term committed relationships can experience the height of both emotional intimacy and passion in the bedroom. For more fun tools to spice up your love life, ask your Flourish therapist about the research-based Hot Monogamy curriculum.