Why does desire so often fade even when couples still love each other?

Is diminishing desire the norm? Do we sacrifice passion for feeling safe and secure? It is indeed ironic, now that baby boomers can have as much sex as they want, they seem to have lost their desire for it.

Many sex therapists believe that improving a couple’s relationship often results in an improvement in the sex department. This is, however, not always so. I see numerous clients who know they are loved but who long to be desired. They miss the feeling, the connection that eroticism provides.

Our fundamental need for security propels us toward a committed relationship. However, we also need adventure and excitement. Can we get these two distinct sets of needs - security and passion - met in the same place?

Many men are cherished but starving lovers. They know their wives love them. That’s why they have stayed all these years. But what hurts so much is that they’ve never felt wanted by her. It is so difficult not to take such repeated rejection personally.

For some people, love and desire go hand in hand. For others, emotional intimacy shuts down erotic response. Is it possible to experience lust and excitement with the same person you look to for comfort and stability? Is intimacy knowing everything about each other? Or does it include maintaining a sense of separateness and consequently, mystery?

Feeling erotically impoverished in relationship is draining and refusing to tolerate this situation allows one to bring more authenticity to the partnership. This is not without risk and often takes one beyond one’s comfort zone. It is, however, another way of taking care of a marriage.

Erotic intimacy is an act of giving and taking. We must enter the erotic space of our partner without fear that we will lose ourselves. At the same time, however, we need to surrender to the experience of self-absorption while in another’s presence without the fear of being abandoned.

And so, it takes work and courage to push beyond your limits and create more sexual fire in your relationship. Couples must bring an "intentionality" to sex. Planned pleasure, so-to-speak, like the anticipation that is part of the dating stage.

Complaining about the sexual deadness in your relationship is easy. Cultivating erotic passion with your spouse takes energy and bravery.