If I had to sum up the challenges of sexuality in marriage, it would be a borrowed quote from Dr. Jack Morin, author of “The Erotic Mind”. He defines eroticism as “the interplay of sexual arousal with the challenges of living and loving.”
What are challenges of living that can get in the way of sexual arousal? Career. Financial stability. Parenting. Physical health. Mental health. Aging. Disability.
What are challenges of loving that can get in the way of sexual arousal? Resentment. Anger. Fear. Loneliness. Withdrawal. Insecurity. Distance. Fear of vulnerability and visibility. Disconnect. Difficulty forgiving. Independence vs. Interdependence. Being parents and lovers and friends.
Many couples struggle with maintaining a vibrant sex life as the years go on. The multitude of stressors have a way of turning spouses into roommates. Sometimes, going away for a couple of days can provide important time together that generates more positive feelings. But the way I see it; there are times when your phone is having trouble and you just need to turn it on and off for the issue to resolve. But there are times when the problem is deeper, and a more comprehensive intervention is needed. There are times where a quick getaway, a reset, will help, and there are times where there is something systemic going on that needs tending to. All couples struggle with the inevitable challenges of living and loving, and finding space in there for sexuality can be difficult. Working through the obstacles can be painful and feel hopeless, but there can be improvements that create better living, better loving, and more space for sex to thrive.