A couple cuddling their dog
Credit: Marta Pucci

How to Get the Passion Back in Your Marriage

Many people don't like to talk about it, but the fact of the matter is that sexless marriages are a lot more common than most people realize. The sexless marriage divorce rate is high, so you're right to be worried.

Sometimes, it can feel like the spark wearing off after a long period of being together. Sometimes it comes from a trigger, and the 'sexless marriage' develops after a baby or another life event. However no matter how it happens, it's always frustrating — and potentially alienating — for you and your partner to stop having sex.

Coping with a sexless marriage can be difficult, but you're not alone. This article will walk you through all you need to know to learn how to get the passion back.

Analysis

The first thing you're going to need to do to learn how to fix a sexless marriage is to run a thorough analysis of your relationship, sex life, and libido. It may cause some pain to dig into the past, but this is the first step in restoring your former sex life.

Sexual history

Try to remember when the loss of passion started. Was there an event that triggered it? Is this a case of sexless marriage after baby?

Did it happen a long time ago or was it something that recently occurred?  

Doing this analysis into the pat will help you understand your present. People who stop having sex often end up with side effects. If you've felt more nervous lately, it could be a result of your faded sex life.

But an analysis of your past isn't where your examination should stop. Next, look at what a loss of passion means for you.

Loss of passion

Have you completely stopped having all sorts of sexual contact? or is it just a lack of penetration? Have you continued having sex but stopped having orgasms? Has the physical touch in your relationship disappeared completely?

Everyone has their own sex drive — libido is kind of a spectrum, and there isn't and "right" or "wrong" amount of sex to have/want. Take stock of your individual needs, and figure out when your partner stopped meeting them.  

Initiation

One of the biggest topics of recent sexual discourse has been initiation. More and more, couples are wishing their partner would initiate sex more often, without learning the skills to communicate this to them.

It's no wonder why initiation has become so important. Initiation can set the tone of a whole sexual encounter and a whole sexual partnership.

What is it like in your relationship? Does the same person usually initiate? Has the person who's usually initiated changed over time?

Does rejection ever happen when there's initiation? Does your partner shut you down without you realizing it? — do you do this to your partner sometimes?

By looking at initiation, you can better track what's gone wrong in your sexual world.

Decision

Once you've done your analysis, many things will be made clear to you. You'll have a better understanding of how you feel about your relationship with your partner. You'll have shined a light into the room of your sex life, and will better be able to navigate your way through.

Research your options (congratulations you're in the right place for that!) It may seem like at the moment you have to decide between sex and your marriage, but there are many things that can be done to help, like sex therapy. Ask yourself if you are willing to put in the work to bring back intimacy into your relationship.

Ask yourself whether or not the lack of sex in your relationship is a dealbreaker for you. We understand that this is a big thing to ask — especially if the marriage has gone on for a long time. However, you do need to take your own needs into consideration.

If the situation is not a dealbreaker, it's time to get to work taking small steps to rebuild your passion. Coping with a sexless marriage is all about making these decisions together and taking action.

Take action

If you want to return the passion to your marriage, it's your responsibility to find ways to make it work. Many people opt to go the route of subtly dropping hints for their partner. This is not recommended; your partner deserves to be told upfront what the issue is. If you'd like help on this conversation, our sex therapists have some help for you here.

Take it slow

Rome wasn't built in a day. While it may seem like your sexual relationship with your partner exploded in a fit of passion in the beginning, it's only normal that the initial phase should wear off. To build back up a relationship that's full of wonderful sex, it's going to take time.

Take small actions

Take some small actions that you can use to rebuild your passion.

Start with the generals. Think of activities people traditionally do at the start of their relationship, when they're building up a passion for each other.

Consider getting dressed up and going out for a romantic date. When married, it's very easy to stay in at night, because your significant other is a sure thing. Getting dressed up to see each other could stir up some passion that's been long buried. We can forget that these were our cues that often led to sex, when we take away the cues, the sex may not happen on its own.

When on your date, introduce small passionate touches back into your relationship. These physical interactions can be as small as holding hands.

Adapt to your analysis

This is where all that analysis you did comes in handy. Use what you noticed  change in your relationship as a way to move into the future.

Is the problem a mismatched libido? You're not alone. These discrepancies can be caused by a change in hormones, self-esteem, and limitless other life factors.

Do some research on the topic to try to come up with a solution. You're lucky in that there are many options to deal with mismatched libidos.

Sensate focus

You and your partner may benefit from the sex therapy technique known as sensate focus. Sensate focus is a wonderful way to reconnect with your partner, without having to worry about the standard pressures of sexual penetration.

Sensate focus centers on the simple acts of touching and being touched. We as a culture put so much emphasis on the visual elements of sex, that it's easy to forget that sex ultimately breaks down to a different sense.

Sensate focus is about establishing sensuality between you and your partner as a path to sexuality. Sensuality refers to the gratification of the senses and the indulgence of appetites, as opposed to the carnality of sexuality. Breaking away from the showmanship and images typically associated with sex is a healthy first step.

(Just think about the way we generally talk about sex. One of the most prominently used words is "performance" — you hear that word pop up all the time in products focusing on libido. With all of this emphasis on performance, no wonder some people wind up with anxiety about it.)

Early sessions

Performance, penetration, orgasm, climax — these are common words you hear when talking about sex. They're also words that cause a lot of anxiety in people. They're harsh words.  

Because of this, sensate focus moves away from penetrative and oral sex in early sessions. It focuses totally on the experience of bodies as beings.

A sex therapist will guide a couple through experiencing each other's bodies through the sense of touch. The couples will focus on warmth, texture, curvature, and other aspects of their own and their partner's bodies. This helps them get into a new mindset when approaching sexual experiences to break the cycle.

Overall, the first stage is about breaking down the boundaries and mind frames typically associated with sex. By clearing this path, you'll have more room to lay yourself a foundation for a more healthy sexual life.

Later sessions

The second stage centers on connecting sensuality with sexuality. Now that you've cleared yourself a path, it's time to start building a new sexual world. This is still taken slowly, however — always at the pace of the couple.

In the second stage, the secondary sexual features are allowed to be touched, but genitalia is still forbidden. Participants are still encouraged to explore their partner's bodies. They're not allowed to explore their partner's bodies in more traditionally sexual ways.

A common practice in sensate focus is to establish a nonverbal way of communicating what sort of touch is pleasurable. The more channels of nonverbal communication you open for yourself, the more you're able to enjoy your new sexual life.

Further sessions

Further stages allow touching of the genitalia, and eventually penetrative sex. The emphasis, as always, is finding sex that aligns with the principles of sensuality you've been equipped with. By this time, you'll already be acquainted with many of the tactics of sensate focus, and will better be able to apply them to your sex life.

Learn how to get the passion back

Passionless marriage is not a new concept. However, the internet age has led many more people than ever to run to the internet with questions about how to get the passion back. Just a few moments spent on Google and message boards will show you that you are not alone.

Blueheart provides couples with revolutionary therapy tactics, like sensate focus. Make sure you always take your time, and listen to your body.

For more information, check out our course on libido problems.