… it’s not so much that desire is evaporating as it is that many of the components of your desire have been fulfilled, are no longer deemed important or no longer apply.
Remember all of that amazing sex you used to have? When you couldn’t wait to get naked with your future long-term partner, and pleasure each other to exhaustion. Remember oral sex?
So where did it go? Did all of the intensity, urgency and pleasure that you shared with abandon at the start of your relationship simply drift away? And …
Where did all of that hot sex go?
Conventional wisdom tells us that diminishing sexual frequency or interest is most often due to kids, busy, stressful schedules or a lack of desire — a manner of thinking that speaks to shifting values, where sex becomes a lesser priority, while treating desire as some sort of mysterious force that is either there or not.
When the missing ingredient is the desire for sex, we are told that the antidote is better sex: something new perhaps (there’s those fantasies to pursue!), learning new skills or improving on standards like communication or technique – all in an attempt stoke the fires of desire, and get your mojo back.
Desire may well be the issue, and there is no denying that great, even good sex is generally the most reliable aphrodisiac available. Nothing leads to more sex better than having great sex. But a better question than “Where did all of that hot sex go?”, might be:
How many reasons do I still have for sex?
You may find that upon self reflection, its not so much that you no longer desire sex as it is that you now have fewer reasons to have sex than you once did. After all:
We all desire pleasure from the sex we have, but physical pleasure is not the only objective of our sexual desires.
When thinking about the reasons we have sex, most are quick to assume that it’s all about pleasure, when in reality, humans have sex for a multitude of reasons. A 2007 study by the University of Texas at Austin made this point in grand fashion when they surveyed about 500 adults to find 237 different reasons for having sex. While this number might seem a bit extreme, the principle begins to make more sense when you consider the four major factors, or categories of reasons researchers extracted from the data:
Physical Reasons For Sex – this category is all about scratching that physical itch, where the desire for physical pleasure and good old animal magnetism reside.
Goal Based Reasons For Sex – here you will find all of the reasons with some end-game in mind, reasons such as trying to have a baby or having sex as a means of increasing popularity.
Emotional Reasons – this category is about demonstrating or expressing love and commitment.
Insecurity Based Reasons – the last category is where you find reasons dealing with self-esteem issues, feelings of duty or pressure, or having sex in an attempt to hold onto a mate.
The “reasons” we want to have sex, both conscious or otherwise, combine at any given moment to serve as the basis of our collective desire for sex. And it makes perfect sense to assume that as those reasons are “checked off” – as in, the baby is made, you know I love you and so on – that it’s not so much that desire is evaporating as it is that many of the components of your desire have been fulfilled, are no longer deemed important or no longer apply.
Put into more practical terms, when we’re single and looking, all of the possible reasons to have sex are on the table, and desire is a composite of the reasons we deem important. Of course, the desire for sexual pleasure is strong, but the list for a single person may very well include reasons that are even more compelling than a desire for physical pleasure. Sex is more than a vehicle for physical pleasure, it’s an instrument to achieving life goals when our reasons for sex include the desire to attract a partner, “settle down” and start a family.
As time goes on and the relationship progresses, desire can be left to feel anemic, when the reasons for our passion are supplanted by the satisfaction of achieving life goals. We are no longer trying to attract a sexy stranger or to demonstrate worthiness as a potential partner. We are no longer motivated to have sex for the same reasons. Sexual desire becomes, more than ever, a product of the relationship itself, and all of the reasons that continue to make that important.
So let’s stop treating desire as some mysterious source of sexual energy, when taking personal responsibility for how much desire we possess is largely within our control. The desire to have sex is more than an animalistic impulse for pleasure, in the same way that sexual satisfaction is not always measured by achieving orgasm. So go back to that list of reasons and add a few for good measure, and you may find that all of that hot sex is happening now!