We’re always hearing that we could be having better sex, a better orgasm, or a better relationship. But how often do we hear the nitty-gritty of how we can actually better understand our deepest desires and most embarrassing questions? Bustle has enlisted Vanessa Marin, a sex therapist, to help us out with the details. No gender, sexual orientation, or question is off limits, and all questions remain anonymous. Now, onto today’s topic: how to have a hot sex life after you move in together.
Q: My boyfriend and I have been dating for just over a year, and recently moved in with each other. We use used to have great sex when we lived separately, and seemed to be on the same page about everything. Since we moved in, we’ve been having sex less and less, and the sex that we do have feels lackluster. Why did this happen? Is it a sign were not compatible?
A: Thanks for writing in! Moving in together is a really big step in any relationship, and comes with its upsides (no more crazy roommates!) and its downsides (hearing way too many noises emanating from the bathroom). At first, moving in together can do wonders for your sex life. You can have sex whenever you want! You don’t have to be quiet for your roommates! You can do it in every room of your house! But inevitably, most couples will go through a sexual slump a few months after the move. Here are five reasons why your sex life decreases when you move in, and what to do about each of them.
1. You’re Stressed From The Move
Why It Happens: Moving is one of the most stressful life events. You’ve got to find a place that works for both of you. You’ve got to sort out finances, including ponying up a ton of cash for first and last month’s rent. You have to pack up your entire life, stick it in a truck, and hope everything makes it in one piece. You have to figure out where to put two sets of belongs in your new space ... and then you have to adjust to the realities of living together. One person keeps “forgetting” to pay their share of household expenses. The other leaves dishes in the sink. All of a sudden, moving in together doesn’t feel quite so sexy anymore.
What To Do About It: For this issue, the solution is to communicate and give it time. Arrange for a weekly check-in meeting where you talk honestly about the adjustments you’re going through. Make a game plan for juggling your needs as individuals and a couple. Recognize that it will take a bit of time to get used to your new arrangement. If it’s just moving stress that has got you down, your sex life will rebound once you guys are feeling more relaxed.
2. It’s Too Easy
Why It Happens: When you’re dating, there’s a sense of urgency around sex. You have to pick certain nights of the week that work for both of your schedules. You haven’t seen each other on a week, and you’re dying to rip your partner’s clothes off. You have to wait until your roommates are all gone, or you have to rush because they’re due home in 15 minutes. Sure, some of those obstacles are annoying, but they often make sex feel more illicit and thrilling.
When you move in together, you remove those obstacles and that excitement. All of a sudden, there’s no rush, because you know you’ll be seeing each other every day and can have sex pretty much any time you want. You may find yourselves saying, “eh, no big deal, we can just do it tomorrow.” Tomorrow comes and you say, “eh, no big deal, we can just do it tomorrow.” And so on and so on.
What To Do About It: The solution here is to create artificial obstacles to bring some excitement back into your sex life. Going out to dinner in 10 minutes? Try to squeeze out a quickie! Or try teasing your partner. Tell them, “I’ll have sex with you in the next hour, but I’m off limits for the rest of the day.” You can also make temporary “bans” on your sex life, or take certain activities off the table. For example, no intercouse for two weeks. Or don’t allow yourselves to have an orgasm for an entire week. It’s really fun to taunt each other in these playful ways, and it will bring that sense of urgency roaring back into the bedroom.
3. You Spend Too Much Time Together
Why It Happens: Moving in together is awesome because you get to see your partner so much more frequently. You go through a period of nesting, where you get all cosy and settled in to your new home. Unfortunately, this can very quickly turn to seeing your partner too much. Your “quality time” together loses its meaning. It can start to feel more like you’re hanging out around each other rather than genuinely connecting with each other. Some couples even start to merge, and start to feel like one person. There’s no space for desire to build when you’re always around each other.
What To Do About It: It’s important for every couple to maintain separate lives outside of the relationship. No matter how in love you are or how much you enjoy each other’s company, go out on your own with your friends. Explore your own interests. Give each other private time in the apartment to do your own thing. Maintaining separation works for your sex lives too! Just because you’re in a relationship doesn’t mean you have to lose your relationship with your own sexuality. Masturbating privately is the best way to do this. The bottom line is: if you're not available to each other at every waking moment, your desire for each other will naturally increase.
4. You’re Too Comfortable With Each Other
Why It Happens: When you move in with someone, you get exposed to all the non-sexy details of day to day life. You hear them burp and fart. You watch them pick their nose. You see them in the same old sweatpants and ratty t-shirts. You hear them chomping their food. You see the skidmarks in their underwear (the horror!). These things are all human, so there’s nothing for any of us to be ashamed of, but they’re also not exactly arousing!
What To Do About It: It’s great to feel comfortable around your partner, but try to maintain some air of privacy and distance, especially with your bodily functions. Keep the door closed when you go to the bathroom, and turn on music to block the noise. Get a nice air freshener. Go to another room to dig for gold.
It’s also worth trying to make an effort to look good around your partner. It’s fine to kick back in sweatpants, but some days try keeping on your cute clothes. Wear hot lingerie. Or pair your sweats with a sexy lacy tank top. Not only will your partner get turned on, but you’ll feel sexier too.
5. You’re Not Always Ready For Sex
Why It Happens: Some people can be up for sex at the drop of a hat, but many people like to feel a little prepared. When you’re dating, you usually know about your dates beforehand, which gives you the time to get dolled up. You can take a shower, put on revealing underwear, do your hair or makeup, and even simply think about the act of sex itself. When you live together, it takes too much effort to be this prepared all the time. One of you is always sweaty, tired, or not in the mood.
What To Do About It: You can remedy this by scheduling date nights, alone time, or even sex itself. Some people balk at the idea of scheduling sex because it seems too artificial. But you essentially “scheduled sex” when you went on dates! You knew you were going to see each other on Friday, and that sex would probably happen at some point in the evening.
Different techniques will work for different couples, but a lot of people find it nice to have Date Night Friday or Sexy Sunday. It allows them the chance to relax, think about sex, and get prepared and turned on. You can build anticipation with each other by sending texts about what you’re going to do to each other later that night.
As I said before, you’re going through a major milestone in your relationship. You’ll have ups and downs in the course of your sexual relationship, but that doesn’t mean you’re not compatible. It just means you need to do a little more planning and make a bit more effort. Trust me, this will pay off in a big way!
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