How you get in it, and more importantly, how you can get out.
I was in a sexless marriage for over ten years. I still can’t believe that I can admit that so easily! When I was in this situation (which is defined as having sex less than once a month) I never told a soul – not even my best girlfriend. I was afraid that she would laugh at me, pity me, or tell me I had to break up with my husband – none of which I wanted to hear. I was generally happy with most aspects of our relationship so I didn’t want to rock the boat by demanding that things changed in the bedroom. We were best friends and soul mates. If you had seen us at a party together, we would probably be the last couple that you thought had problems in the bedroom – we shared the same interests in books and movies, we had similar senses of humor, we were two peas in a pod so to speak. But …if you had looked closer at us, as some friends told me later, you would have noticed that there was very little physical contact between us – no holding hands, no nuzzling together, no kisses on the neck or lips in public. That’s the first step down the road to the Roommate Syndrome – when couples start acting more like friends than lovers. And you can be both, you know.
What happens when couples live together can be a slow de-sexualization of our view one another. That’s when you spoon and cuddle on the couch, but it rarely leads to full-blown sexual passion. But isn’t it just the normal process of a long-term relationship? No, it’s not and it doesn’t have to be this way. I have received so many e-mails from readers who have told me our book has helped them immensely – just by changing a few simple daily habits you can unleash the sexual chemistry again. I don’t have space here to go into all of the habits that need to be changed if you want to get out of the roommate syndrome, but here are a few.
1). Get rid of the cutesy pet names and start speaking to each other as adults again. Words are important and they can get you in the mood much better than any lingerie can. If you haven’t called your partner by his name in ages, try it. It’s adult, it can be sexual, and it will put his head in a different place. A more sexual place than “pookie” or “papa bear!”
2). Start touching each other before you get in the bedroom. In fact, you should be making some kind of physical contact all day long. When I was in my sexless marriage, I was appalled at how so many books recommended things to do “in the bedroom” – but in reality you need to feel sexual before you get in that room. Long before. Hold hands, kiss on the lips, French kiss, touch each other’s necks – all these things will make you feel more sexual towards each other.
3). Close the bathroom door. More sex lives are ruined by bad bathroom behavior than you can imagine. It builds resentment, it’s a general turn off and it’s a visual you don’t need to think about when you’re in bed later. So if you didn’t leave the bathroom door open in the beginning of your relationship, then why are you doing it now?
4). Don’t spend every minute together and make sure you have some separate friends and separate activities. Why? Because when you only socialize together there’s no mystery and no excitement with each other. You don’t need to play games – just don’t do everything together. This creates boredom and boredom is never good for sex.
5). Remember to love the one you’re with – I’m talking about you, ladies! If your self esteem is low when you get naked, how are you going to turn him on, and more importantly, how are you going to turn yourself on? Look at your body in the mirror at least once a day. Your body is beautiful just the way it is. Trust me, he’ll think so if you think so.
Unfortunately, my marriage eventually broke up because of the roommate syndrome. Like many couples caught in this painful and confusing place, it took its toll on our marriage and was its undoing. So take the advice of someone who has been there. You’re not alone, trust me. There are more couples living like this than you can imagine. The good news is that you can get out of it. Start with a few little daily changes and you’ll see some results immediately. Isn’t your marriage worth it?
By Maggie Arana
Co-author of “Stop Calling Him Honey …. And Start Having Sex!”