4 Ways to Spice Up Your Sex Life in a Long-Term Relationship

Reignite your love life with these intimacy tips for partners.

4 Ways to Spice Up Your Sex Life in a Long-Term Relationship

No matter how much you love your one-and-only, life can get in the way of romance. When work, family responsibilities and other day-to-day obligations take priority, sex is often the first thing to be cast aside. If you’re in a long-term relationship that’s lost some of its spark, try these tips to revive the passion.

Share the child care
In 2015, after studying survey responses from more than 900 heterosexual couples regarding their marriages, sociologists from Georgia State University discovered that spouses who reported the lowest marriage and sex life satisfaction lived in households where women did the majority of the child rearing. When the men helped out with the kids more often, husbands and wives were more satisfied in their union, both emotionally and sexually.

To split the tasks more equitably—and maybe boost your time in bed—start off with a conversation. Discuss ways to divide responsibilities, such as splitting up homework duties and alternating school drop-offs and pick-ups. Then, test your new duties for a few weeks, assess how you both feel and adjust as needed.

Get more ZZZs
Good sleep may translate to a better sex life. In 2017, results from a study of almost 94,000 women between ages 50 and 79 suggested that inadequate slumber—less than seven or eight hours each night—was linked to sexual dissatisfaction. Published in Menopause: The Journal of The North American Menopause Society, the study also found that age played a role; the older the participant, the less likely she’d be sexually active on limited hours of shut-eye.

To ensure better sleep, try these tips:

  • Stick to a sleep schedule. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day.
  • Turn your bedroom into a sleep haven. Lower the thermostat, darken the lights and keep digital devices off for at least an hour before bedtime.
  • Lay off the caffeine. While some people don’t have problems sipping a cappuccino with dessert, drinking coffee or soda within six—or even eight—hours of bedtime can interrupt your slumber.

Be willing to put in the effort
Understanding that a good sex life requires work—as opposed to believing that sexual compatibility is inevitable among soulmates—may boost the chances of intimacy between you and your partner. A 2016 study of 1,900 people published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology suggested that couples who focused on “sexual growth” outside of their general marital happiness were more satisfied overall. In other words, if you’re willing to feel out new ways to achieve a better sex life, you’re halfway there.

Get back in sync with your significant other by:

  • Taking good care of yourself and each other; eating well and getting adequate exercise can boost libido and overall health
  • Scheduling one-on-one time that works best with your lifestyle
  • Consulting with a sex therapist

Pay attention to your partner’s needs
When it comes to affection, a little attention goes a long way. A 2016 study published in the Journal of Sex Research examined the intimate behaviors of 38,747 men and women who were married or living together for at least three years. Participants who remained sexually satisfied over that time reported four key factors to keeping passion alive in a long-term relationship:

  • Expressing feelings of love, such as leaving a sweet note in your partner’s computer bag
  • Setting the mood, such as planning a date night or overnight getaway
  • Engaging in foreplay
  • Mixing up sexual activities

Cuddling after sex and experimenting with new ideas were also linked to more satisfaction. 

If you’re pressed for ideas, try some research—a plethora of books, magazines and online resources are dedicated to safe, rewarding sex between partners. Better yet, ask your significant other what they’d appreciate most. They likely have some ideas of their own.

Medically reviewed in January 2018. Updated in January 2020.

Georgia State University. "Want a better relationship and a better sex life? Men should take more child care responsibilities, study finds." ScienceDaily. August 23, 2015.
J Kling, J Manson, et al. “Association of sleep disturbance and sexual function in postmenopausal women.” Menopause. 24(6):604–612, June 2017.
JA Maxwell, A Muise, et al. “How implicit theories of sexuality shape sexual and relationship well-being.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 112(2), 238–279, 2016.
DA Frederick, J Lever, et al. “What Keeps Passion Alive? Sexual Satisfaction Is Associated With Sexual Communication, Mood Setting, Sexual Variety, Oral Sex, Orgasm, and Sex Frequency in a National U.S. Study.” The Journal of Sex Research. 54:2, 186-201, 2017.

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