“When we look at people who have had great sex over the long term in a relationship, they don’t describe spontaneous desire as a trait,” she said.
So what are they describing? When clinical psychologists Peggy Kleinplatz and A. Dana Menard conducted a study for their book Magnificent Sex: Lessons From Extraordinary Lovers, they found that the components of great sex were consistent across gender, sexuality, and a variety of other descriptors and tastes were. This included things like communication, empathy, vulnerability, connection and being present in the moment. They stressed ignoring notions of romantic spontaneity and instead accepting resolution and making a plan.
They found that great sex doesn’t just happen. It requires intentionality. Don’t be afraid to add it to your calendar if you have to. Because while you can’t plan great sex, like Dr. Kleinplatz and Dr. Menard put it in their book, “deliberately creating the conditions under which the magic can occur”.
While experiencing low sexual desire during a pandemic may be normal and understandable, there are things you can do to increase the desire in a relationship. One thing that science says increases arousal is a novel experience. Not just the sexual nature, but anything to get your heart rate up.
This could be a good time for people to “open a dialogue with their partners about their overall relationship as well as their personal desires, fantasies, needs, etc.” Luetke, who studies the relationship between conflict and sexual intimacy at Indiana University, wrote in an email. If these conversations are uncomfortable for you, she recommended that you hire a therapist who specializes in sex.
Or find another way to get your heart rate up. You might not be able to ride a roller coaster or dance at a crowded concert, but you can still do a YouTube workout, go on a hike with your partner, or watch a scary movie together after the kids are in bed. Some research suggests that the excitement about your partner makes that person appear newer and therefore more sexually attractive by association.
Complete the stress cycle.
When your brain senses a threat (such as a lion chasing you), your body activates the sympathetic nervous system, which sends chemicals like adrenaline and cortisol so you can run faster or fight harder. Once the threat is gone (you ran away; you killed the lion) the parasympathetic nervous system kicks in, putting you out of combat or flight mode and returning your body to a calm state.