How to have good sex when you're in a long-term relationship

Why spending time with your other half is so important and how to shake things up in the bedroom

feet of couple lying in bed
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Knowing how to have good sex in a long-term relationship when things have fizzled out can seem like an art form you just can't seem to master. But, it's actually a whole lot easier than you might think. Despite the distractions of everyday life, there are little things you can do to shake things up in the bedroom and get back to having brilliant sex.

If your love-making seems to have gone off the boil in the last few months, or even years, you're not alone. According to Durex, our sex lives have taken a particularly big knock recently with couples getting frisky less often. The good news is, admitting that you might be in a bit of a sex rut is the first step to getting your sex life back on track.

Sex is an important part of a relationship, but sometimes work, kids, the dog, or even having a desperate desire to binge Netflix can put it on the back burner. If sex has decreased in your relationship, or it’s feeling a bit dull and obligatory (rather than the exciting spark when you first met), it’s time to turn up the heat. 

Getting back to enjoying sex with your partner could be as simple as introducing one of the best vibrators into the bedroom or finding a new way to better connect with your partner. To help you on this journey, we spoke to Stephanie Taylor, managing director and founder of Kegel8, who shared with us her top tips for having great sex when you're in a long-term relationship and the reasons why things might feel a little lack-luster after many years together.   

Why does sex change in a long-term relationship?

If you find your sex drive is low or feel like you're living in a sexless marriage, it's important to know this is totally normal. No person's sex drive stays the same throughout their life and no couple’s sex life remains the way it was when they first met.

“Inevitably as personal lives change, so does the sex life running alongside it,” says Stephanie. The length of our relationship and our age can both play a part in a lack of interest in sex. “Getting older can cause anything from a loss in energy, a drop in sex-driving hormones, or even just less free time to spend between the sheets.”

For women, the menopause can also impact their sex life. The loss of oestrogen and testosterone during this time can lead to changes in our bodies and sex drive too. Menopausal and postmenopausal women may notice that they’re not as easily aroused and may be less sensitive to touching and stroking, which can lead to less interest in sex. A drop in oestrogen can also reduce blood flow to your vagina, which can cause vaginal dryness and pain during sex.

With so many physical changes it can be easy for your confidence to take a knock. “Women may no longer know who they are or what they like and this can cause relationships to break down, both intimately and emotionally,” says Stephanie.

sleep mask with words not tonight

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While there's no set formula for how much sex couples should have, it's completely normal for couples in long-term relationships to have less sex. 

“Long-term relationships can come with a level of comfortability, where partners fall into a natural routine and sex can get pushed aside,” says Stephanie. 

Having the right balance of quality and quantity is more important than the number of sessions you clock up. Having said that, every time you have sex it’s important to remember it's not always going to be the best of your life. “When the time is right, the quality will shoot up all on its own – never feel you must put pressure on yourself to ‘perform’,” says Stephanie. 

However, if you and your partner find you're both ready to mix things up and get back to having great sex after a long dry spell or little time for each other, all is not lost. You absolutely can get your sex life back on track. 

How to have good sex 

It might take some time, but you can definitely get out of your sex rut, Stephanie says. “It’s important not to push yourself into things for the sake of it, after all, enjoying sex is the ticket to wanting to do it more."

1. Try something new

Simply trying something new, like having sex in a different place can have a positive effect on our sex lives, by increasing desire and boosting libido. You don’t need to be swinging from the chandeliers every session to shake things up. Trying a variety of the best sex positions could kick-start your bedroom fun overnight. Missionary might be one of the most popular positions (around 40% of couples go for this) but did you know that because adding extra stimulation is fairly tricky, it's actually one of the least female-friendly positions? A lot of women who orgasm through intercourse alone do so when they’re on top.

You could also focus more on exploring those erogenous zones with your partner or try a new location and have sex in the shower. You could also add a sex toy into the mix and allow one of the best rabbit vibrators to help add a new dimension to your love life.

2. Discover what you like 

Figuring out what you want during sex is so important as it allows you to tell your partner exactly what you want to do in the bedroom. 

Stephanie points out that our pleasure points change all the time, so don’t be afraid to ask for things and explore yourself. You can do this by taking some me-time and enjoying masturbation or getting empowered to prioritize your own pleasure by watching porn for women. Try different sex toys and weigh up rabbit vibrators vs clitoral stimulators to see which you like best. 

3. Communicate better

Communication is key in relationships, and this rings true when it comes to things in the bedroom, too. Especially when considering how to have good sex. 

Opening up to your partner about how you feeling, sharing your sexual fantasies and telling them what you like or don't like avoids any friction and ensures mutual needs are met. 

“If you’re totally at ease, you can confidently tell your partner exactly what you want, without fear of shame,” says Stephanie. Plus, if you and your partner both feel valued and loved, this will inevitably boost your libido. “Use this time to have the best sex of your life!”

“It’s important to keep that physical and emotional connection in check, especially as you get older and experience changes to your body that you might not be entirely comfortable with,” adds Stephanie. 

Indulge in pillow talk. This is applicable to any kind of discussion – whether you have an open and honest chat about your sex life, or you use seductive words to arouse your partner. Having a variation in your communication is great – so long as it is always there. Reading sex stories together about other couples having good sex could also help.

couple holding hands at dinner table

(Image credit: Getty Images)

4. Indulge in quality time 

If you and your partner have become passing ships in the night, this can feed into a lack of physical touch which can obstruct your sex life. But, sex is not the only way you can be intimate with your partner. 

“Kissing, hugging, closeness and emotional disclosure are just as important to keeping those bonds strong and feeling supported and loved," Stephanie says. 

Stephanie advises re-acquainting yourselves by planning a date night or even just putting aside time to go for a walk. 

If you want to take things a step further, schedule time to try something new like tantric sex or bondage for beginners

“Modern life is stressful and busy, often requiring extensive planning and scheduling – why should sex need to be an exception?” Stephanie says. Penciling in sexy time helps your loved one feel like they’re still a priority after a long time together and that their physical intimacy is still important to you.

No matter what you do, as long as you're alone together, you'll be reminded of your mutual adoration.

5. Ignore the pressure

Whether that's pressure from a partner or your own self-saboteur, ignore it and take things slow. 

You should never feel pressured to perform in the bedroom, and as long as you communicate with your partner about how you are both feeling about your sex life, you can decide what you'd like to do to move things forward at a pace that works for you both. 

If you're struggling to communicate, you could speak with a sex therapist alone or as a couple to help move past anything that's getting in the way of a fulfilling sex life for you both.