When Sex Stops
When sexual intimacy stops in a committed relationship, it can be the result of a long buildup of unresolved couple issues or a result of medical/physical problems that directly influence sexual desire or performance.
It is reasonable to expect that sexual desire will ebb and flow over the course of any relationship, usually starting with a high degree of sexual intimacy in the initial stages of a relationship when bonding feelings are most intense and the relationship has little if any problems. Over the course of time and increased responsibility (career and children) less and less energy is available for sexual intimacy often resulting in a re-prioritizing where sexual intimacy happens only when other commitments are completed. So over the course of a family life cycle, couples should expect that sexual desire and sexual activity, in general, will be impacted by increased responsibility and less quality couple time. Medical problems that may be impacting sexual intimacy should first be discussed with ones medical doctor to rule out hormonal shifts or other physical problems (sorry that part is up to your medical doctor). However, even if legitimate medical problems exist the resolution of these problems will still require the cooperation of both spouses.
Beyond the challenges of the family life cycle, however, other dynamic couple factors can negatively impact sexual intimacy. The factors that I see most often in counselling are unresolved resentment in one or both partners resulting in a withholding of sex, or unresolved sexual concerns that do not get discussed resulting in a "giving up" or resolved attitude that sex will never get any better so "why bother".
Unresolved resentment could be just about anything but what shows up in counselling the most frequently are: affairs, or suspicion of an affair, verbal abuse and character assassination where one or both partners experience their partner as not respecting them anymore, or where one or both partners feel low on the others priority list and sex has become mechanical, rushed or routine. In the case of the later, the partner who feels low on the priority list begins to take a stand of either indifference towards sex or avoidance.
Unresolved sexual concerns can include frustration with rushed sex, lack of communication during and after sex about what was pleasurable and what didn't work so well, changes in physical ability or restrictions such as injuries, expectations of performance based on younger years (expecting sex to be like it was when you were 20 and now you are 50,60,70?).
Very often couples can no longer discuss these issues as they end up in an impasse where one or both partners take the same position they always take and the discussion becomes circular creating a sense of futility in both. Couple counselling can address these issues in a safe environment, where both partners needs are heard, underlying issues discussed and healthy climates for sexual intimacy are outlined based on the couples unique history and circumstances.
How Marriage Counselling Can Help
In many situations, even two or three sessions with a professional marriage counsellor can dramatically improve your relationship. Understanding new strategies for improving communication between partners can make a significant difference in a short period of time.