By Matthew Saxey | April 15, 2020

5 Ways to Keep Sex Alive in Marriage

couple kissing

Sexual passion, excitement, satisfaction, and pleasure don’t have to subside with time.

Many marriages see a decline in sexual passion and satisfaction over time. In other words, marriage is hard. Research findings are averages, though, which means that some marriages do not see a decline in sexual passion and satisfaction over time. Recent research suggests that sexual passion, if properly nurtured, can last for decades of marriage.

Researchers asked about 39,000 people in the US who had been in a relationship for at least 3 years what helps keep sexual passion alive, and they found three themes:

1. Mood Setting

Setting the mood for sex in marriage can lead to increased sexual satisfaction, arousal, and passion. Send a sexy text to your spouse during the day. Also, take time for foreplay like slow, gentle kissing that might lead to deep kissing that can help heighten sexual arousal and passion. Taking a weekend getaway to a cabin or hotel can provide ample couple alone time—similar to a honeymoon. As you set the mood for sexual passion, pleasure and satisfaction can abound in your marriage. 

2. Sexual Variety

happy couple

Popular media sometimes teaches a sexual script that leads to and finishes with intercourse. However, mixing things up is important for lasting sexual passion and satisfaction for husband and wife. Wearing lingerie, giving massages, talking about and executing sexual fantasies, participating in genital holding, and slowing down sex can help provide variety. However, make sure to communicate about sexual variety with your spouse before trying new things. Both spouses should agree on practices before implementation. While considering different practices, channel creativity and implement what works for both spouses.

“What if we run out of new ideas?” some might ask. Reading reputable sex-advice books together can boost your creativity. Some good books include: “Sexual Wholeness in Marriage,” “Knowing HER Intimately: 12 Keys for Creating a Sextraordinary Marriage,” “And They Were Not Ashamed: Strengthening Marriage through Sexual Fulfillment,” or “The Sex-Starved Marriage: Boosting Your Marriage Libido: A Couple's Guide.”

Based on advice from these trusted sources, you can experiment together, have fun, mix things up, and keep sexual passion and satisfaction alive.

3. Communication

couple laughing in a bed

Two main types of communication that lead to increased sexual satisfaction are verbal and non-verbal sexual communication. Does talking or non-verbally implying about sex lead to greater sexual satisfaction? That may be the wrong question.

Researchers have documented that the type of communication utilized is not what’s most important. Whether a couple is happy with the type of sex communication is what matters most. Consider communicating about sexual preferences: discuss sexual likes, dislikes, desires, and sexual frequency.

While discussing preferences, different conversations about sex in marriage might surface. Sometimes couples discuss their preferences, but other times couples discuss sexual discrepancies or problems. All of these conversations about sex in marriage can be crucial for couples to understand the other and should not be feared. As couples communicate, they can understand what their spouse wants in the bedroom and better attend to sexual desires.

4. Turn Outward

happy couple

In addition to these three themes of what leads to sexual passion and satisfaction, other evidence points to turning outward in sex. According to Linda Waite, Ph.D. at the University of Chicago, turning outward to attend to a spouse’s needs can “literally double your sexual pleasure: You get satisfaction not only from your own sexual response but from your partner’s as well . . . love and concern for one’s partner shifts the focus away from the self in a sexual relationship and toward the other person. This selfless approach to sex, paradoxically, is far more likely to bring sexual satisfaction to both men and women.”

As both spouses turn outward and seek to help the other have a satisfying experience, sexual passion and satisfaction can remain alive and well.

5. Intentionality


In closing, sexual satisfaction and passion in marriage does not need to decline over time. However, in addition to these 4 important ideas, couples must also be intentional. Work demands, children’s extracurricular activities, exercising, household tasks, errands, and many other things may make it hard to find time and energy for sex in marriage. Even if couples use all 4 suggestions above, sexual intimacy can still slide in importance behind some of these other things if couples are not intentional. Intentionality, in this case, means consistently making time for sexual intimacy.   

Keeping sexual passion alive will take intentionality and sustained effort through sexual communication, sexual variety, mood setting, and turning outward. Through this intentionality and sustained effort, couples can enjoy increased sexual passion and satisfaction.