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Natural Awakenings Charlotte

Let's Get It (Back) On - How Jeff and Stacy Got Their Groove Back

Jan 29, 2010 08:29PM
By Becky Knight

Jeff and Stacy were a typical young couple. He headed up a small non-profit and she worked from home as a freelance writer. They were raising two young daughters and were busy with the normal responsibilities of modern family life: carpool, dance recitals, soccer practice, church and friends. They both reported that they were “very satisfied” with the life they’d created, except one thing – “We haven’t had sex in months,” Stacy lamented. Jeff missed sex too. “It was so easy in the beginning,” he said.

Couples plan their meals, their exercise regimens and their vacations, but they expect sex to “just happen.” Dr. Lisa Terrell, CEO and Senior Therapist at Sensovi Institute, a Charlotte business that provides resources to nurture sexual health and relationships, explains, “Both men and women tend to understand sexual desire as spontaneous physical sensations and thoughts of ‘I want to have sex.’ While that certainly happens and helps, when we live in a long-term relationship, normal physiological adjustments to a partnered lifestyle and aging impact how we experience our sexuality.” 

In the early stages of romance, we are on a lover’s high – a chemical cocktail of dopamine, norepinephrine and phenylethylamine. Together, this combo creates a state of bliss and well-being, in addition to focused attention on the object of our affection. However, research has shown that the potency of this concoction wears off in as little as eighteen months. “For some people, especially if they have relied on a strong physical sense of their desire, this may feel like a drastic change,” adds Dr. Terrell.

The transition to a less physically-based desire can be an opportunity for lovers to connect in new ways. A popular saying among sex therapists is that “if you’re not desiring sex, maybe the sex you’re having isn’t very desirable.” In other words, you can’t get by on what used to work and boring, routine sex won’t keep anyone begging for more.

Mixing up your routines, in and out of the bedroom, is a quick way to boost interest and spark desire. Small, simple changes can make a big difference. • Instead of staying up late watching television or surfing the internet and then falling into bed already half asleep, invite your partner to go to bed early tonight. • Instead of paying for a pricey massage for yourself, purchase a few how-to DVDs about sensual couples massage and enjoy learning how to give and receive intimate touch. • Instead of splurging on a trendy new coat or expensive handbag, invest in a luxurious weekend getaway for you and your lover.

Choosing desire doesn’t have to be complicated and it doesn’t require gadgets or prescriptions. It isn’t dependant on your looks, your age or your physical abilities. Your desire isn’t based on how desirable you are to someone else. Your experience of desire is within your control

Stacy found that taking a yoga class helped her get back in touch with her body. She felt stronger and carried herself with a renewed confidence. She soon found herself flirting with Jeff and initiating sex again. Jeff noticed his desire improved when he committed to getting more sleep. Better rested, he was able to be more present in the moment and to enjoy connecting with Stacy in non-sexual ways.

Desire breeds desire. If a couple can get back into a pattern of satisfying sex, each positive experience helps to create more desire for the next experience. Dr. Terrell says, “We must understand that we will need to deliberately make time and conserve energy to enter into the feeling of desire for our partners. When couples understand that the key to sexual desire is to make time to make intimate contact, they will be rewarded with desire.”

For those who “desire to desire,” the solution is to “choose to choose.” Choose to cultivate a life that creates physical, emotional and spiritual energy for sex. Choose to open yourself up to trying new things and to speak up about your wants and needs. Choose it everyday, and the choosing will get easier.

Becky Knight MPH is a Clinical Sexologist and AASECT Certified Sexuality Educator. She facilitates E-Sensual Woman, an online class for exploring sensuality and sexual health. More at

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