How To Have Sex After Marriage
We’re going to start by assuming you know how to have sex. Probably you’ve done the deed a few times — maybe you even have a kid or two to prove it. So this isn’t going to be pure sex education for married couples — instead, we’re going to get into what a healthy sexual relationship looks like. As it happens, it shares a lot of the same characteristics of a healthy relationship, full stop.
Sex, and it’s role in a relationship, is different for every individual, and every couple. But there are a few universal tips that contribute to a healthy, satisfying, long-term sex life after marriage.
How to have a healthy sex life after marriage
Think of it as a marathon, not a sprint.
The centrality of sex in a relationship is different for each couple. Regardless, a husband-wife (or partner-partner) bedroom relationship is really just an extension of their overall relationship. Which means thinking of sex life after marriage with a long-term view can help couples weather the ups and downs. In a landmark study of the characteristics of happy and lasting marriages, “couples reported that their sex life had suffered during times when their lives became more stressful, however they learned to adapt to the changes in levels of desire and activity experienced by one or both spouses and generally it did not become a source of conflict.” Which brings us to…
Understand expectations and ideals aren’t always reality.
Sex drives differ — between people, and within one person over time. Porn, while it can be fun individually and as a couple, can also create unrealistic expectations of real-life intimacy. Even regular movies and TV shows depict physical relationships after marriage as either a stereotypical desert or a constant sex romp. Reality is much more nuanced. That said, like any part of a healthy relationship, a sexual relationship takes work and effort. It can be improved toward an ideal, but only when couples….
Communicate openly and honestly.
If there’s one thing years of research has revealed, it’s the importance of communication in sexual relationships. A review of studies conducted across 30 years links sexual communication to greater sexual satisfaction. Sandra E. Byers, who authored the review, identified two main types of sexual communication that contribute most to satisfaction: direct and educative, aimed at communicating sexual likes and dislikes, and subtle and intimate, aimed at self-revelation and closeness. A combination of both of these types of communication supported greater sexual satisfaction among couples.
But of course, how you communicate about sex with your spouse is just as important as whether the two of you communicate at all. In 2013, a study of the sexual communication styles of married individuals who reported high levels of relationship satisfaction, revealed that while negative topics related to sex were occasionally discussed, their sexual communication with their spouse involved mainly positive expressions of emotion and preferences.
Align on reproductive goals.
Sex is one of the best things about starting and/or growing a family — but only if you and your partner are on the same page. Whether you’re trying to get pregnant, done with having children, not ready yet, or never want children, a physical relationship is much more enjoyable when you both know your contraceptive options and you’ve jointly decided when and which of you (or both) will avail of them.
(You might also be trying to figure out how to fit in sex amid all of the other demands and intrusions of life and family, and if so, we feel you. As do all of these other couples.)