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Saturday, July 10, 2021

Sexual Wellness: Overcoming Sexual Boredom in Long Term Relationships

In my prior article, Sexual Wellness: What is Sexual Boredom in Long Term Relationships?, I began a discussion about a problem which is common in long term relationships.  My focus in this article is to continue with the clinical vignette presented in the previous article to show how couples therapy can be helpful.

Sexual Wellness: Overcoming Sexual Boredom in Long Term Relationships

Clinical Vignette: Sexual Boredom in a Long Term Relationship
Jane and John:
To recap from the prior article: John and Jane, who were in their 50s and in a 15 year marriage, sought help in couples therapy to overcome problems with sexual boredom in their marriage (see my article: Sexual Wellness: What is Performative Sex?).

By the time they started couples therapy, their sex life had dwindled to almost nothing and Jane rarely had an orgasm with John, although she experienced orgasms without a problem in her prior relationships (see my article: Women's Sexuality: Tips on Sexual Self Discovery).

At first, John was uncomfortable talking about their sex life (or about sex in general), but over time, he got comfortable and opened up (see my article: How to Talk to Your Partner About Sex - Part 1 and Part 2).

As part of the assessment, the couples therapist obtained information from each of them about their family of origin and sexual history, including their earliest sexual experiences.  

Jane's family had an open attitude with regard to talking about sex, which contrasted with John's more conservative background and his family's reticence to talk about sex.  Jane also had much more sexual experience than John, including experiences of having orgasms.  

In addition, Jane's desire to be more adventurous to spice up their sex life was also markedly different from John's reticence about using sex toys, watching porn, and so on.  However, they both agreed that they loved each other and they wanted to preserve their relationship.

Since John acknowledged that his libido had always been low, he couples therapist recommended that he see his medical doctor to rule out any physical problems.  The doctor informed John that his testosterone was low, so he prescribed medication for John, which increased his libido and how often he wanted to have sex with Jane.

During couples therapy, John and Jane learned that they had a particular dynamic in their relationship: Jane tended to be the pursuer and John tended to be the withdrawer.  Rather than blaming each other, their therapist encouraged them to focus on changing their dynamic (see my article: Relationships: How Pursuers and Withdrawers Can Improve Their Sex Life).

As a result, instead of Jane always being the one who sought sex in their relationship, John initiated more.  They also became curious about their limited sexual repertoire (see my article: Understanding Your Sex Script).

Each of them also learned more about their own and each other's sexual turn-ons and turn-offs (see my articles: Understanding Your Sexual Brakes and Accelerators - Part 1 and Part 2).

John became more attuned to Jane's sexual pleasure so that she experienced more fulfilling sex, including orgasms (see my articles: The Orgasm Gap Between Women and Men - Part 1 and Part 2).

Gradually, John learned to be more open and adventurous in terms of both physical and psychological and physical sexual stimulation Sex Tips For Men to Be Better Partners to Women and The 7 Core Sexual Fantasies).

As sex became more pleasurable for both of them, John and Jane each looked forward to having sex rather than approaching it with anxiety and foreboding as they had in the past.

Getting Help in Therapy
Emotionally Focused Therapy for couples, also known as EFT, has been proven to be an effective modality for relationship issues (see my article:  What is EFT Couples Therapy?).

If you're struggling with unresolved relationship issues, you could benefit from working with an EFT therapist.

About Me
I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR, AEDP, EFT and Somatic Experiencing therapist.

I work with individual adults and couples.

To find out more about me, visit my website: Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist.

To set up a consultation, call me at (917) 742-2624 during business hours or email me.