Recently, Houston Relationship Therapy was invited to cohost a screening of a new movie coming out called Sex Tape, starring Cameron Diaz and Jason Segal. Previews for the comedy depict a married couple that makes a sex tape. This tape then gets accidently uploaded to the cloud and sent out to several people. The married couple then goes through several antics to try and erase their video or retrieve them from the friends and family it has been sent to.
I have to be honest, I am not usually one for movies like this, but I found this particular movie quite entertaining and quite realistic (at least the first part). The couple has a very active and enjoyable sex life when they first meet. However, after two children and demanding jobs, the couple struggles to find times to be intimate. My colleagues and I made several knowing glances at each other throughout the couple’s dialogue. They reminisced on how things used to be and wondered “where did their sex life go.” They commented that they could not remember the last time they had intercourse. At times, intimacy was awkward and the couple appeared to have forgotten how to kiss, let alone have sex. The movie also depicted other couples that had been married for several years and insinuated struggles in their sex lives as well.
As couples and sex therapists we see these dialogues almost on a daily basis. It is no secret that many couples struggle to maintain their once active and exuberant sex lives and we are often asked, “How do we bring the spark back?” Many couples try things such as making sex tapes, buying sexy lingerie, experimenting in role-play, or even opening up their marriage to include extra parties in the bedroom. However, what I have often found to be more lacking is not just sexual intimacy but emotional intimacy. This is not to say that the couples do not love each other. However, after time couples, married or not, with children or not, often become somewhat disconnected. Daily life stressors replace some of the excitement felt when a new relationship is formed. We become comfortable or complacent and stop putting forth effort in wooing our significant other. Often once emotional intimacy has been reestablished, sexual intimacy begins again.
That all being said there is nothing wrong with experimenting to spice things up a bit. Experimenting with different positions, places (such as the shower or living room), even costumes can go a long way. As long as both parties are comfortable with the activities and parameters are put in place, if necessary, excitement and desire will often continue. For more ideas and open discussions to talk about reconnecting emotionally or spicing things up sexually, I urge you to talk to someone. What you are experiencing is not only normal, but as noted in the film by the wife’s father, almost expected. We all experience struggles sexually and emotionally throughout the course of our relationship(s).