Me and my husband have been together for five years, and where in the beginning our sex life was super interesting and kinky, it now feels like all the energy is gone. We love each other very much, but I feel we both have different interests sexually. At first, you try out new things together but at some point, you get too close and personal to even try. I think he is super sexy, but it somehow just doesn’t work anymore…. HELP!!
Gay in Suburbia
Dear Gay in Suburbia,
Many sex writers have talked about this issue. Esther Perel has been really emphasizing it a lot in her recent work – the interplay between familiarity and strangeness in relationships and how losing strangeness can cause boredom and even fear of trying new things.
Part of what makes us attracted to someone else is the unknown. It’s the potential for what could be there that we are often attracted to. Until we find out who the other person is, they can be anything; they can be capable of being into anything; they can be capable of being perfect. As we grow closer, all of those potential things they could be start to resolve. They could love any food, but it turns out they hate mushrooms. They could be really into bondage, but it turns out that being tied up makes them claustrophobic. As we get closer, certain doors start to close. The anything becomes specifically something and our fantasy starts to become reality. Familiarity replaces the unknown.
You say that at first your sex life was super interesting and kinky. I suspect that is because, initially, there was always novelty. But even kink can get boring. If you love being spanked a certain way, and your partner just defaults to the way you like it, then over time, that just becomes the routine way in which you are spanked. It’s no longer interesting for them because they already know everything about it, unless they can learn to be excited about your pleasure. When it comes to BDSM (if that was part of your sex life before), being in a loving relationship can make it more challenging to see your partner as the object that they sometimes need to be to make a scene work.
So how do you bring back risking failure to discover something you didn’t know before? And how do you sustainably do that over time, since the more new things you try, the fewer new things there seem to be to try? In the end, he’s super sexy, but you know EVERYTHING already. There’s no allure. If this is something you want to do only as a couple, without involving thirds or “open-type” options, putting yourselves into situations where the regular stuff can’t work can be an option. Going to a play space where you’re not going to fuck other guys can make sex unfamiliar enough to be exciting enough again. Switching roles from what you normally do changes the dynamic where you have to learn how to please each other differently.
There’s no energy-efficient way to re-spark sex. It may be that you’re both at a point in your lives where other things are taking up that energy too. So be generous to yourself if that’s the case. Lastly, change your expectations. Sustaining a wild and novel sex life where every time you have sex has to be super exciting is a great way to disappointment. Creating wild times that punctuate an otherwise vanilla sex life – however, you define vanilla – can be enough.