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How to keep sexual spark in long-term relationship: Expert gives advice

23:35, February 1

While pop culture and friends may have told you that maintaining the "spark" is important to maintaining a long-term romantic relationship, expert Emily Nagoski says that thinking is wrong, Axios writes.

Nagoski, the best-selling author of books on female sexuality and burnout, has released Come Together, an evidence-based work on intimacy in long-term marriages and partnerships. She was inspired to write the book after experiencing a sexual lull with her husband that is familiar to many couples.

In our stressful lives, it's normal to take breaks from sex.

Research and data on couples who have long-term sexual relationships show that success has a lot to do with friendship and prioritizing pleasure—over spontaneous desire.

Some of Nagoski's sexual myth-busting tips are as follows:

Don't worry about the "spark" and being "in the mood" all the time, she says. Focusing too much on this can actually make you less open to intimacy.

Don't be afraid to talk about sex with your partner. This doesn't mean anything is wrong.

“Couples in long-term sexual relationships talk about sex all the time, just like you talk about any hobby. [That’s] what makes it good,” she says. And note that the "lull" period is not dysfunction or a sign that your relationship is lacking love, the expert assures, but it may be a sign that it's time to evaluate what aspects of your life are weighing on what she calls sexual pressure "brakes."

Be open to planning intimacy.

"It's a misconception that planning sex means you don't want it enough," Nagoski says. “Our life is difficult. My calendar is full. If I hadn't put sex on the calendar, it wouldn't have happened because it requires consciously protecting space, time and energy.”

Stop worrying about what other people are doing.

Nagoski does not answer the question, “How much sex does the average couple have?”—because “it’s impossible to hear a number and not judge yourself by it.”  "What matters is whether you enjoy the sex you're having."  Instead of focusing on frequency, it's better to focus on the context of when sex is desirable for you and your partner—there's a good chance you may need different ways to achieve the lustful mood.

So in a long-term sexual relationship, it's important that you trust each other, decide that sex is important, and prioritize the needs of your unique relationship.

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