Relationships are full of ups and downs. Some days, everything is going to be perfect, and other days it’s going to seem like there’s nothing going your way. It’s a constant battle, but if you’re with the right person, you’re choosing the battles that mean the most to you – not just jumping on every one that presents itself to you.
Your sex life is one of the biggest rollercoasters in the entire relationship. When you first start having sex together, it seems like you’re having sex every chance you get. This sex is a little awkward, but very passionate. Then, as you get more and more comfortable with each other, the desire wanes a little bit, and it can take some time to build it back up.
Once you go from seeing each other to living together, though, your sex life is going to take a pretty big hit. Where you might have been having sex once or twice per day you saw each other, now you’re lucky if you’re getting some every few weeks. What gives – and is there anything you can do about it?
Moving is stressful – and stress isn’t sexy.
One of the very first reasons that your sex life might start to slow is because moving is an incredibly stressful experience, for both of you. Even though sex is one of the greatest stress-busters of all time, it’s really difficult to get in the mood when your stress levels are too high. (I know, it sounds a bit unfair, and maybe it is.) You’re too busy thinking about the shared bills, shared chores, shared space… It can be difficult to relax through all of this.
Thankfully, you will relax over time. If stress from the move is the only (or the primary) reason you’re not getting down as often as you used to, then rest assured – it’s temporary, and will mostly work itself out. If you want to help the process along, implementing an “open communication policy” in your relationship can help to bring your priorities into focus. Discuss the things about the move that are particularly weighing on you, such as if your partner isn’t keeping up on her end of the dishes or the bills, as well as the things that don’t actually have anything to do with your partner.
Sometimes, the reason for stress after moving in together is simply that you no longer have your own space. It’s hard giving up your freedom, after all, and when you’re not living together, it’s much easier to save the bad stuff for when you’re alone. But when you live together, your alone time is significantly limited – so if you haven’t already become comfortable enough with each other to discuss your emotions, you’ll need to figure it out soon – your mental and sexual health might be counting on it.
There’s no urgency.
When you live separately, you might find yourself “needing” to squeeze in the sex before you go your separate ways for the week. You’ve got all these obstacles in the way of your sex life, and since the human brain enjoys challenges, we thrive on proving that we can do things we can’t really do. Once you move in together, it doesn’t work like that anymore. On a particularly unsexy day, it’s too easy to say “We can just do it tomorrow.” Then, tomorrow comes, and you’re stressed out, so you put it off for another day. Too much of this and, before you know it, it’s been almost a month and your partner is super cranky about it. (Or maybe you’re the cranky partner – that happens, too.)
When you have a sense of urgency, like 15 minutes before your roommates come home, or you haven’t seen each other in over a week, the sex is exciting and new, every time. As annoying as the obstacles might be, they create a bit of a rush. The easiest way to get past this is to create your own obstacles toward sex. It seems counter-productive, but for some crazy reason, it actually works. Tease your partner in situations where you “can’t” have sex – such as when you need to leave for work in ten minutes – and see if it inspires a quickie. Sometimes, it will!
What if that doesn’t work? You can also try putting temporary “sex embargos” into place: Come up with reasons you can’t have sex for x-number of days. Make sure you discuss this plan with your partner, of course, otherwise she may think you’re just unfairly withholding. But if you’re putting this into place because you want to inspire that sense of urgency, however artificial it may be this time, you may find that you’re rushing to “break” your own rules – which is exactly what you want.
You’re spending too much time together.
It’s completely normal to “nest” together when you first move in together. This is good, since it helps to form a stronger bond – but it’s also kinda sucky because it takes away the “quality” part of spending quality time together. You start to feel like you’re just hanging out around each other, but not actually spending time together. Plus, not having any alone time starts to take its toll on you, which leads to more stress and less desire for one another.
No matter how much you love each other, it’s important that you each have the freedom to do your own thing. Make time for your friends and family, without your partner. Of course, you should also include your partner in some of these activities, but it really isn’t necessary to tag along every time just because you’re a couple. Too much togetherness makes it feel like an obligation, and no one wants to feel obligated to do things that really aren’t obligations. Your brain will naturally reject these obligations because it knows they’re not necessary.
You should also make sure that you have the freedom to explore your own sexuality, too. No, I don’t mean that you should go off and cheat on your partner, or that you need to be in an open relationship to make cohabitating work. Instead, give yourself the freedom to masturbate from time to time! Not only will it relieve some of your sexual frustrations without needing to match your schedules perfectly to one another, but it’s also pretty good for your mental and sexual health. Try it! (But make sure you give your partner a chance to meet your needs first.)
You’re too comfortable.
Being comfortable with your partner is a good thing, and most likely one of the reasons you chose to move in together in the first place. (Statistically speaking, of course – most people don’t move in with someone they’re not comfortable with.) But, once you actually share a living space, your comfort level is going to increase significantly – which should make the sex even easier, but for whatever psychological reason, it doesn’t actually work that way.
You see your partner in a completely different light. Where you used to only see each other when you were dressed to the nines, now you regularly see each other in sweat pants and unkempt hair. You used to be on your best behavior in front of each other, and now there’s only so much you can repress those “gross” tendencies like burping, farting, and mouth-breathing. Where you might have pretended that you never actually needed to use the restroom for longer than a minute and a half, now you’re regularly walking in on each other, and sharing the bathroom for potty breaks and showers – at the same time.
It’s great to be comfortable with your partner, but maintaining some mystery is essential in keeping the sex life alive. Try to enforce the idea of privacy whenever you can, and leave your partner to do their bathroom business without your interruption. You can also try wearing sexy underwear underneath those unsexy sweatpants, or make a point to still dress up for one another on a regular basis. Sure, it might seem unnecessary, but there comes a point in every relationship where sexiness requires effort. Don’t sell yourself short – you’ve still got what it takes.
You’re not ready at the drop of the hat – and, truthfully, you never really were.
When you’re living separately, you know that date nights almost always mean sex, so you have time to shave (if you shave), wear cute underwear, do your hair nicely, and even reminisce about the last wild and crazy sex sesh. Living together, it might seem like one of you is always too stressed or tired to make sex a priority. Because you spend so much time together, you have to be that much more aroused to initiate sex, and even still you’re gambling whether your partner is actually on board, too.
As unromantic as scheduled sex might be, it actually goes a long way toward making time for it. Putting it on the calendar turns it into something to look forward to, and gives you ample time to plan for it. It might seem artificial, but back when you were “just dating”, you essentially scheduled sex, too. After all, you knew if you weren’t spending the night together, you wouldn’t be having sex, but nights you did stay over, the sex was all but guaranteed.
One of the easiest ways to work this preparation time back in is to schedule regular date nights for just the two of you. Double-dates are great, too, but less likely to result in sex, so they shouldn’t be your primary go-to. Make a point to squeeze in at least a few date nights every month – preferably at least once per week – and try to keep that “date night mindset” while you’re getting ready. There’s no reason that going out together has to be any different than it was before you moved in – you just have to make sure it’s still a priority.