These are the sighs that come up again and again in marriages and relationships, sometimes from him, sometimes from her. The following answers to this extremely touchy subject are inspired by the ideas of psychologist Phil McGraw.
Sex is the tip of the iceberg.
On the surface, it's all just about your sex life: he or she isn't getting enough or is getting the wrong kind. In most cases, though, this is a cover for the desire for more intimacy, respect, recognition, tenderness, or sensitivity.
For it to work, two people have to change: you and the other person. Some advice for simplification is to start with yourself. How are you contributing to the problem? Only when you can be honest about this may you go to your partner and something of him or her.
Sex is a pattern.
At the beginning of your relationship, there were certain rituals, places, and times when it took place. Now there are a thousand other habits added to your lives from your work, the children, living together, your parents, and so on. It's hard to make room in between all of these things for the happy patterns of the old days. The biggest break comes after the birth of a child: lovers turn into mothers and fathers. They identify with their own parents, who in their eyes didn't have sex. Some simplifying advice is don't think of being a parent as a new nature, but as a new role, in addition to which you can also play the role of sexual partner and lover.
It happens to everyone: you don't look as sexy as you did then. The same goes for you partner. But start again with yourself. Here is a tip for simplification: your self-image is more important than losing weight, a new haircut, or seductive clothing. Say to yourself, "I am not only Mom (or Dad). I'm still a sexy thing." Then act that way. There's always a bit of nostalgia in this: what did your partner always used to like? Nine times out of ten it still works today.
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Excerpted from How to Simplify Your Love, copyright 2008 by Marion Küstenmacher and Werner Tiki Küstenmacher. Used by permission of McGraw-Hill Companies. All Rights Reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced except with permission in writing from the publisher.Talk to each other.
Don't count on your partner reading your mind. You have to put it into words. But how? Our tip for simplification is approach in the way the porcupine approaches sex – very carefully. Don't make accusations, and don't bring it up during an argument or when you're in the car. Find a good lead-in, ideally a happy memory from earlier times: a photo of the two of you as a young couple, an old movie you always liked.
An important element of sexuality is fantasy. Explore your and your partner's erotic dreams. Listen to everything, and soak it all in. Some advice for simplification is it's not about making all of these dreams a reality. But you can't have erotic closeness when one partner disdains the other's dreams or finds them disgusting or immature. This is just as bad as having too many secrets.
If your fantasies are so strange that you don't dare to say them out loud, write your requests in a love letter. You're not practicing selfish eroticism here, but rather taking your partner with you into your fantasies. He has to feel secure that even in your more daring wishes, he remains the unsurpassable goal of your erotic and romantic energy.
Share the burden.
Get your partner to the point where he or she can say, "Rekindling our sex life is our shared project." Our simplifying advice is to forget the fairy tale of spontaneous sex. In your situation, sex requires preparation; the kids have to go to bed early enough, you have to be awake enough, you have to not watch TV until you're sleepy, and you have to meet each other halfway in your desires.
Open your heart.
Imagine sex as a garden next to your homestead, which grows and is always changing. Sex is much more than just the act of intercourse. Over the course of the years, you will come to know that light touches, hugs, closeness are also erotic gifts. Sex is a complete work of art that changed with your body's changes. A woman's body changes after she has children, and many things feel different than they did before. Older men aren't as virile as they once were, and no one expects them to be. Relax, and instead of plastic surgery and Viagra, take the great simplifying medicine of serenity – you don't need a prescription, and there are no risks or side effects.
• How to have a sex life newlyweds would envy
• 10 ways to fire up your sex life
• Sex myths debunked
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Excerpted from How to Simplify Your Love, copyright 2008 by Marion Küstenmacher and Werner Tiki Küstenmacher. Used by permission of McGraw-Hill Companies. All Rights Reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced except with permission in writing from the publisher.