Less Sex Does Not Always Mean Less Love – Study

by Nick Swanson

Less Sex Does Not Always Mean Less Love

For couples for who have been together for a long time, it’s not uncommon for them to have less sex than they used to have when they first got together. In the beginning, relationships can be very passionate, and you and your partner literally could not spend a day together without tearing up the sheets at least one time.

Pretty much everywhere in the house (and for more adventurous couples, even outside the house) was fair game, and your other friends could hardly stand being with the two of you because you were so “sickeningly affectionate”. As time goes on, however, you start to notice that you and your partner are becoming less and less intimate, and sometimes, long periods would pass without you having sex.

It’s natural to wonder whether there’s something wrong with your relationship. Are you losing interest in your partner? Does not partner not find you as sexually desirable as they once did? Has your once-passionate relationship become stagnant? It’s actually a common occurrence that happens with a lot of long-time couples, and if your relationship now feels lacking in the intimacy department, it’s not something that you should panic about just yet.

No matter how passionate or intimate you and your partner were in the beginning of your relationship, it’s actually quite normal that, over time, both of you will start feeling your sex drive start to slow down. It could be caused by a myriad of factors: daily stress, being tired from work, declining hormones due to age, or even relationship problems between you and your partner. These feelings are more common in women compared to men, although men can be affected as well. The medical term of this is known as hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD).

The Most Common Problem for Long Time Couples

It can be quite frustrating when you feel that your sex drives don’t match up: when one partner wants to have more sex compared to their mate. At first, it seemed like your sex drives matched up perfectly, but these days, it seems that one partner wants it more than the other, and it could become a source of tension and frustration in the relationship. Studies have shown that couples have different sex drive “baselines”, which refers to the frequency that they want to have sex, and the longer a relationship, the more a couple reverts to this baseline. However, it does not mean that just because your baselines don’t match up (which is rarely the case), the love in your relationship is lacking as well.

The bottom line is that waning sexual desire is quite normal in a long-term relationship, and it does lead to less sex over time. You can love each other as much, or even more so, as the time when you were having a lot of sex. However, as you and your partner become more focused on your daily responsibilities and duties outside of your relationship (i.e. family, work, friends, etc.), sex tends to take a “back burner” on your list of priorities. However, this does not mean that you can and should be satisfied about the status of your sex life with your partner. There is something that you can do to be able to reclaim that level of intimacy and sexual desire that you once had.

Finding Each Other Once More

One of the most important factors that affect sexual desire is novelty. When your relationship was new, everything felt fresh and exciting, which caused you and your partner to become excited and eager to be with each other. Over time, however, as you became more familiar with each other’s bodies and relationship needs, the feeling of novelty slowly became familiar and comfortable. And yes, it’s hard to feel thrilled and excited over something that has become such a familiar fixture in your life. Although this is the case now, it does not have to be the case, as long as you and your partner are both willing to work on your relationship.

Finding that same level of sexual desire that you once had will take a bit of work, but it will be worth it because it will feel like your relationship has been reborn, and you and your partner will become better lovers for it. When you first started out, you were fumbling with each, trying to figure out what your partner wanted sexually. Now that you are more familiar with each other’s needs and wants, rekindling that spark will ultimately create a more satisfying sexual relationship. It’s the best of both worlds!

Look for activities that will bring you closer as a couple and this doesn’t always refer to sexual activities! Activities that are intimate but not necessarily sexual, such as taking dancing classes together, or having a really special date night at the new, trendy restaurant can strengthen your bond and bring you closer.

Another great way to increase the sexual desire between you and your partner: have an affair…with each other! Wake up earlier than usual and surprise your partner with a breakfast in bed, or leave small love notes around the home. Give them a backrub after a long day at work, or simply hug and kiss them a little bit longer than normal. Never take the small things for granted, because these things make up the bigger picture of your relationship.


Just like anything else that matters in life, keeping the sexual desire and intimacy alive in a long-term relationship will take hard work and dedication, but the payoff is definitely worth it! Less sex DOES not equal less love, but it does mean that you and your partner need to work on keeping the passion and intimacy in your relationship alive and well.