If I had to sum up the challenges of sexuality in marriage, it would be a borrowed quote from Dr. Jack Morin, author of “The Erotic Mind”. He defines eroticism as “the interplay of sexual arousal with the challenges of living and loving.”
What are challenges of living that can get in the way of sexual arousal? Career. Finances. Parenting. Schedules. Physical health. Mental health. Aging. Disability. Time apart.
What are challenges of loving that can get in the way of sexual arousal? Resentment. Anger. Fear. Loneliness. Withdrawal. Insecurity. Distance. Fear of vulnerability. Fear of visibility. Disconnect. Difficulty forgiving. Independence vs. Interdependence. Being parents and lovers and friends.
Many couples struggle with maintaining a vibrant sex life as the years go on. The multitude of stressors of living and loving can create challenges in staying connected.
Marriage advice often suggests making sure to go on vacation whenever you can. Vacation can be a really helpful way to take a pause from the stresses of living and work on your loving. But it’s not a simple fix, and most people can’t go on vacation all the time for various reasons. And when you come home, you’re back in the craziness. And so what I tell people is that the good news and the bad news is that vacation won’t be a panacea. Yes, it can be fun, and you should have fun. Yes, it’s an opportunity to have good sex, and that can be a good boost. Yes, it will provide you with more recent positive memories, and you should have those. But the deep work is figuring out how to carve out time and space in the day-to-day busyness to notice and connect with each other. Foreplay is a 24/7 ordeal.