How many times have you heard men complain that the frequency and enthusiasm their partner exhibited for sex changed with marriage. Then, the women counter with how romance has drained from the relationship since marriage. If each is true, then the question is why would the relationship change simply by getting married.
You might reason that romance and sex would improve with the security and commitment that comes with marriage vows, that is if sex before marriage and after meant the same thing. The fact is that sex before marriage is part of a message that says, “I desire you, I want to spend time with you, and most importantly, I want a future with you.” Both men and women respond strongly to such a message.
After marriage, the message of sex changes. In one study, 35% of women and just 13% of men cited love and emotional intimacy as goals of sexual desire. Seventy percent of the men and 43% of the women said that sex was the goal of sexual desire. Research has clearly demonstrated that men think about sex more, pursue sex more, place more importance on sex, and masturbate more.
The general availability of sex and the routine that forms in the sexual relationship (and in the relationship in general) after marriage apparently leads to a decline in sexual desire for the woman more than it does for the man. When the woman’s desire declines this is typically more detrimental to the relationship than if the man’s desire recedes.
I have often heard married women suggest that sex has become unimportant to them, except as a means of pleasing their husband. Yet, when they become involved in an affair, their sexual desire is rekindled. Why is this? Women having an affair seem to respond to the novelty of being pursued by a man who finds them interesting, attractive and sexually desirable.
Marriage may undermine the woman’s sexual desire if she comes to feel she is nurturing her husband rather than attracting his desire. Husbands must show their wives that they desire them, find them attractive in many ways and that they are interested in creating an improved relationship in the future. The most common complaint I hear is for that the woman (or man for that matter) to say she feels taken for granted. This suggests that she does not feel valued.
Fortunately, sexual desire can be rekindled if each partner accepts responsibility for improving the relationship…not just the sexual relationship.