With the U.S. Census Bureau reporting that more unmarried couples than ever before are living together, it begs the question: are sex lives affected by all this cohabitating? While a 2009 study published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health found that one of the main reasons people want to live together is because they love spending time with their partner, that doesn't necessarily mean that their sex lives will be off the charts once they co-sign the lease. For some couples, moving in together can affect your sex life — sometimes, in less-than-positive ways.
"A lot of couples move in together excited and thinking that their love for each other will make it work," David Bennett, a dating and relationship expert who runs Double Trust Dating, a relationship coaching program, told Bustle for a previous article on moving in with a partner. "The reality is that living with someone is hard and can bring with it challenges."
And, naturally, some of those challenges can even be in the bedroom.
"The first year will involve getting used to the situation, and figuring out if it can work," Bennett said. "Honest communication is the only way to handle any issues."
Bustle asked nine women how their sex lives changed after they moved in with their partner. Here's what they had to say.
1. Alicia, 21
"Since we’ve moved in together, we have more sober sex. More sex in general, but less kinky and more lazy. Like, you’re already in bed and naked, so half your job is done."
2. Paula, 38
"I moved in with my partner and it changed our sex life drastically — the honeymoon was over. We have [sex] probably once every few months."
3. Josipa, 24
"Basically, you're just there... so [sex] doesn't matter all that much anymore."
4. Mieko, 45
"I have had track record of moving in with a partner fairly quickly when I was younger, so moving in together didn’t change much of our sex lives. But it’s usually every day at first then becomes every couple days, then the every weekend kind of thing happens always over time."
5. Leigh, 37
"With my ex, sex became too accessible when he moved in. It was no longer fleeting, even though he was at my place all the time [before that]. It became too easy, so it almost became an effort to have it regularly."
6. Lindsay, 41
"We used to have sex all over the apartment when we first moved in together. But that came to an end quickly. We haven’t had sex in any position besides spooning in over six months."
7. Melinda, 28
"We used to have sex every time we were together. Now that we live together it’s every three weeks and I’m happy with that. We both work too much to have the energy to do it all the time like we used when we were dating."
8. Penelope, 36
"My sex life [with my ex] was better because it was more intuitive. When we only saw each other a couple times a week, often I was in the mood, but if I wasn’t [I] felt like I should be. When we lived together I actually felt less pressure and wanted [to have sex] more."
9. Ryann, 32
"We haven't had sex in a long time, but I'm thinking and hoping that's just part of a long-term relationship. And we both have low sex drives. But there's less pressure for sex and more about thinking about other stuff — like retirement and health insurance."
Moving in together can affect a lot of different aspects of your relationship, including your sex life. If cohabitating creates changes that you want to change back, a relationship therapist can help you find your new normal. But a new dynamic is a natural part of moving in with your partner — and it can definitely get some getting used to.