For a long time my boyfriend and I have had some sexual obstacles. We have been together for almost 3 years now. But after a year, our sex life started to change. We gradually had less sex and now we only have sex approx. once a month or less. I miss the intimacy and i have started to feel less attractive. We have had multiple conversations on what we need to do, but haven't really found the answer. Even foreplay or taking initiative is extremely difficult due to his ticklishness. i don’t know what to do anymore.. please help
Thank you so much for your question.
The decrease in sexual energy that some couples experience when their relationship moves from new to something more long term is completely natural. The excitement and novelty of a new partner can increase libido, but as your relationship becomes more familiar, libido can decrease. This decrease in sex is often met with an increase with other forms of intimacy.
Sex and intimacy are two different things that often get lumped together. While the physical act of sex can increase intimacy with your partner, it isn’t the only way to feel connected. Intimacy is a sense of being understood by a partner, having a connection, and developing a bond. To have an intimate relationship with a partner, it requires honesty, communication, and vulnerability.
Now there are a few things that you can try to inject some novelty into your sexual activities to make them more appealing and ultimately, more frequent. However, if you aren’t feeling intimate or close to you partner, that’s an issue to need to tackle first. Building intimacy may require more honest conversations, syncing up routines, carving out time to talk, or planning activities together. Seeing a therapist for a couples sessions can be amazingly insightful if lack of intimacy is the issue.
If lack of sex (not intimacy) is what’s causing problems in the relationship, planning and novelty are key. Though they may sound like counter intuitive ideas, they actually go hand in hand in building an enjoyable sex life. Plan dates for sexy time and the particular activities you want to try. Trying new activities is where the novelty comes in. Shop for some toys, lube, oils, or tools together that sound fun, introduce new acts like erotic massage or BDSM play, and explore together. Spend more time turning each other on instead of hoping to be in the mood at the same time. Watch porn, share fantasies, and indulge in some role play. This revamping of your sex life may require you to push past some insecurities or fears (like recovering from making your partner squirm from being ticklish), and some more in depth communication (like having your partner show you what touch works for them).
During all of this new exploration, it’s important to lower your expectations and be open to what you might find. The pressure of thinking you need to have sex a certain number of times or in a certain way for it to be valid is only going to dampen the libido flame. Be open to re-tuning your definition of sex, instead focusing on what you find sexual pleasurable now, instead of what worked for you together in the past.