THE QUESTION: I love my wife, but somehow we’ve turned from lovers into housemates. Ever since our second kid arrived – we’ve got a four year old and a two year old – we’ve lost any sort of sexual spark. I was optimistic that being together all the time in lockdown might improve the situation. But when I’ve tried to talk to my wife about it, she’s made it clear that she’s not really that bothered by our lack of action. It’s literally been months now. I’m 36-years-old and struggling to reconcile myself to the prospect of a life without sex.” GF
John Aiken is a father of two, a veteran relationship specialist and one of the experts on Channel 9’s Married at First Sight. He’s also the author of three books including Making Couples Happy: How science can help get relationships back on track. Here’s what he had to say.
Good will equals good sex. Everything that happens outside of the bedroom creates a sense of positivity between a couple that translates into the bedroom. So what GF needs to be thinking is: “What can I do outside of the bedroom that’s going to bring us closer together, that’s going to create intimacy and that’s going to give us back that sense of teamwork that we’ve lost?”
Because as a couple with small kids they’re probably just being complacent about their relationship. They’re probably running through their parenting roles and not really doing the little things that matter in the relationship anymore. That’s why they’re essentially just flatmates.
If you’re trying to bring the spark back, you need to view everything outside of the bedroom as foreplay. That means giving compliments and being appreciative. It means helping with the kids and saying “yes” to her rather than “no” to her all the time. When she’s under stress, it’s about listening to her and not trying to fix anything. It’s about really making an effort to get along with her friends or making a point of giving her an hour at the end of the day to unwind or do her exercise.
If you do those things then you’re slowly building up the bank account. Once that good will develops, she’ll start to think, “Actually you’re a really lovely guy, you’re considerate, you’re thoughtful towards me and you’re making a genuine effort. Now I want to do the same back to you.” So it creates this flow-on effect that will then move into the bedroom. Good will equals good sex.
Another really worthwhile thing to do is to make sure you have little rituals that allow you to keep connecting with your partner throughout the day. Make sure you go to bed or get up at the same time. Find the time to connect over a coffee or do something together before the kids are around. If you or your partner is going out during the day, make sure you say goodbye to them and give them a little kiss. When you return, make sure the first thing that you do is to go to them. These are little things but they’re very important. They make a huge difference to our levels of intimacy.
If you want to reignite that spark, it’s not about techniques or toys. It’s about focusing on how to bring your partner close outside of the bedroom. What it really boils down to is building good will.