Keeping Intimacy Alive After Years of Marriage
As the years go by in a marriage, it’s common for the passionate spark of early romance to fizzle out. Making time for intimacy can start taking a backseat to the daily stresses of careers, parenting, managing a household, and just generally keeping life running smoothly.
However, allowing your sex life to fall by the wayside can take a major toll on the health of your relationship over time. Keeping intimacy alive is key for any couple that wants to go the distance.
In this blog article, we will share what exactly brings intimacy in marriage and how to keep strong intimacy in a relationship after years of marriage.
What Exactly Constitutes Intimacy?
Before exploring how to keep intimacy thriving as a years-long couple, let’s first define what intimacy means. Intimacy encompasses:
- Physical intimacy – any physically intimate act, from hand-holding and cuddling to intercourse
- Emotional intimacy – feeling emotionally close and connected to your partner
- Experiential intimacy – sharing new experiences together
- Intellectual intimacy – engaging in meaningful conversations, learning from each other
While sex certainly plays a huge role in intimacy, focusing solely on the physical dimension neglects the other equally important elements that create closeness in a marriage.
Why Maintaining Intimacy Matters
It’s easy to get complacent about making intimacy a priority once the early excitement of a relationship starts to fade. However, studies consistently show that couples who keep intimacy alive enjoy greater relationship satisfaction, feel more committed to each other, fight less, and are less likely to grow apart or divorce.
The oxytocin and other feel-good hormones released during physical and emotional intimacy strengthen bonding between partners. Regular intimate connection keeps that chemistry buzzing.
On the other hand, allowing your sex life to stagnate can breed resentment and emotional distance over time. When one partner feels rejected and disconnected, it often spills over into other aspects of the relationship. Intimacy issues can quickly snowball if left unaddressed.
Tips for Reigniting Intimacy
If you feel like you and your spouse have lost your spark in the bedroom, don’t panic. There are many effective ways to get your intimacy back on track. Here are 10 tips for reigniting intimacy in your years-long marriage:
1. Schedule sex dates
It may sound unromantic, but setting aside dedicated time for intimacy takes the guesswork out of initiating. Add these standing “dates” to your shared calendars so you both commit to making them a priority.
Even if you’re tired or not in the mood when the time comes, still come together and see what unfolds organically. You may find that being intentional reignites the spark.
2. Flirt like you just met
Couples often stop flirting once they’re settled in a relationship since playful banter feels unnecessary. But flirtation is intimacy foreplay that keeps sexual tension simmering.
Send suggestive notes, give unexpected kisses, greet them at the door dressed sexy, pat their behind as they walk by. Playfulness feeds intimacy.
3. Discuss your intimacy goals
Have an open, non-judgmental talk about what’s working and what isn’t when it comes to your current sex life. Find out each other’s needs and come up with an intimacy goal plan together.
Do you need a more emotional connection first? Certain fetishes explored? Quickies to fit busy lives? Frequency goals? Lay it all on the table.
4. Explore intimacy builders
Daily intimacy builders enhance physical closeness outside the bedroom so you stay tuned into each other.
Give foot rubs, take baths together, trade massages, cuddle without expectations, and listen to erotic podcasts together. Incorporating regular physical touch makes you feel pampered, and desired and reconnects you.
5. Try something new
Novelty energizes intimacy by sparking dopamine and adrenaline. Explore a fantasy together, watch ethical erotic films, read a racy book out loud take turns by paragraph, play with toys to enhance foreplay, and have sex somewhere other than the bedroom.
Discovering new mutual turn-ons prevents boredom between the sheets over years of routine sex.
6. Unplug technology
Giving your full attention to each other without distractions lays the groundwork for reconnection. Institute a no-screens policy during intimate time together.
Turn phone notifications off, close laptops and make eye contact. Emotional intimacy thrives when you’re fully engaged.
7. Focus on emotional intimacy
Don’t neglect non-physical building blocks of intimacy. Go on regular dates, ask thoughtful questions, be fully present in conversations, offer genuine compliments and words of affirmation about qualities you admire in them, and express gratitude for all they contribute to the relationship. These foster emotional closeness that translates to the bedroom.
8. Address relationship roadblocks
Built-up resentment, poor communication habits, drifting apart emotionally…these issues bleed into the bedroom dynamic if ignored.
Seek couples counseling to unpack baggage constructively and work through barriers to intimacy. Intimacy reflects the overall health of the relationship.
9. Mind your health
Chronic health conditions, poor body image, prescription side effects, alcohol abuse and more can sabotage your sex drive. Getting medical issues under control and adopting healthy lifestyle habits supports sexual functioning. Don’t neglect self-care.
10. Don’t make sex all about orgasm
Take orgasms off their pedestal and enjoy the full experience of intimate connection from start to finish without pressure. Sensate focus exercises help remove this goal-oriented focus on climax so you tune into sensation and emotion.
Reigniting intimacy when you’ve been married for years requires commitment, compromise and ultimately prioritizing each other. But the effort pays exponential dividends for the happiness and longevity of your marriage.
The most important factor is that you both align in prioritizing physical and emotional connection as the cornerstone for keeping your lifelong relationship passionate. With mutual understanding and effort, your intimacy can be even more fulfilling together than during your honeymoon phase.