Many couples, particularly for those who have been together for a long time, are not satisfied with that aspect of their relationship.
For example, the authors of The Normal Bar, Chrisanna Northrup, Pepper Schwartz, and James Witte, conducted a study with 70,000 people in 24 countries. They were curious about what might be different about couples who said that they had a great sex life, compared to those who said they did not. The results were fascinating.
Fact: Couples who have a great sex life are doing the same set of things no matter where in the world they live. Those with bad sex lives are NOT doing those same things.
If you are unhappy with your sex life, you might find it can improve if you are willing to make some changes. Ask yourself these questions:
1. Do you and your partner hug and kiss in public?
According to the study, 32 percent of men and 48 percent of women say no. This truth is unfortunate as public displays of affection (PDAs, for short) are great for a relationship: 68 percent of those who are hands off in public are not happy or only somewhat happy with their partners, while the happiest couples indulge in PDAs at least a couple of times a month.
2. Have you retained the important parts of yourself to keep your relationship together?
48.9 percent of people in a relationship for 21 years or more say they have given up important parts of themselves. If you’re feeling you’ve given up too much of yourself, think about how you might change your daily life to support your hopes and needs, and discuss with your partner. Happy couples accept each other for who they are and encourage their partner’s ambitions and passions.
3. Do you still hold hands with your partner?
Among couples who’ve been together 10 or more years, more than half say they no longer hold hands. A quick and intimate hand squeeze can add a vital charge of connectivity to a well-worn partnership. Studies show holding hands can even help settle arguments.
4. How often do you tell your partner you love them?
The happiest couples say “I love you” at least once a week. More than 90 percent of men reported saying these 3 little words to their partner regularly, while 58 percent of women say they do the same. You can keep it simple by adding “I love you” at the end of a phone call or before you go to sleep. You may be surprised at the impact this small but important change can have on your relationship.
5.Do you read your partner’s email or texts?
Approximately 39 percent of people reported doing so, even if just a quick peak. Surprisingly, that percentage prevails in both happy and unhappy relationships. In truth, most people feel violated when they learn their privacy was breached – it is preferable to communicate directly with your partner than to invade their privacy.
6. How often do you kiss passionately?
Kissing passionately bonds partners more deeply, so it is unfortunate that 38 percent of long-term couples stop after awhile. Can you remember what was going on when you kissed often years ago – where you dancing in the kitchen? Was there soft music? Try to get back in the habit – you’ll be glad you did.
7. Do you compliment your partner?
Only 47 percent of women and 55 percent of men say they pay their partner regular compliments. It’s easy to take the other for granted in a long term relationship, but when you are appreciative of your partner, you’re more likely to prompt more loving feelings in response.
8. Do you plan “date nights”?
Couples who say they’re “extremely happy” plan time alone together. Unfortunately, 32 percent of couples say they “never” or “hardly ever” have date nights.It’s important to set aside time with your partner to enjoy each other’s company. Many people need to remove themselves from distractions in the house, so they make plans to go out. Others find staying home to watch a movie or engage in a project of some sort, like cooking a meal together, yields the same feelings of closeness. Whichever works for you is the right way to go.
These questions are just some of those used in the study, meant to get you thinking. What’s clear from the Normal Bar study is that a good sex life involves connecting both emotionally and physically. What changes are you willing to make fo improve your sex life?