I recently hired an amazing Sex Therapist at my practice. She gave me a very interesting metaphor about why couples aren't having sex and it has stuck with me ever since. Not only is it very accurate, but it also gives a visual to explain the possible reasons beyond couples experiencing a very common and normal lull in their sex lives.
Of course reasons can vary from trust issues to health related dysfunction. Sometimes circumstances such as having a new baby or struggling with infertility can throw everything off. Sometimes, we may just not know what we like sexually or are struggling with feeling sexually confident. There are moments, however, when the "reasons" for the lulls are not as easy to identify and often couples will enter therapy seeking the answer.
See, a romantic relationship is often like a Layered Cake. Each layer builds off of each other and without one, the entire cake feels incomplete.
The answer to "Why aren't we having sex?", can often involve a missing ingredient(s) somewhere within the layered cake.
The first layer is the foundation, which is friendship. This could entail respect, kindness, fun, commonalities, trust and appreciation.
The second layer is emotional connectedness that is more intimate than with a friendship. Maybe this entails emotional vulnerability, compassion and understanding. It can include feel seen, validated and reassured by your partner.
The third layer is nonsexual physical intimacy. This can include flirtatious love taps, long kisses, hugs and overall affection.
The top layer is sexual intimacy. This can include foreplay, erotic play and any type of sex play.
Sometimes, couples nurture the layer that comes the easiest to them. These same couples may also focus too heavily on the lack of sex and be really uncertain as to why. As you can see, if you don't have a strong, respectful and engaging friendship that allows you to feel emotionally safe and non-sexually connected, it is challenging to feel motivated to have sex.
When couples can focus less on sex when they are experiencing a lull and focus more on the other layers, sex often develops without much effort. Hence the creation of our Date Boxes that focus on the importance of the entire cake. What have you experienced in your relationship? Tell us about it!