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Tips for Surviving Monogamy

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Tips for Surviving Monogamy

In the top 10 reasons why individuals and couples come to me for intimacy and sexuality coaching is the reality that they have simply stopped having sex. Many think that what they need is “Sexual CPR.” They know it is not because they have stopped loving each other, or even think that they have stopped finding each other sexy. It’s just that they are not “turned on” or excited by each other anymore. The problem is time and togetherness can wear down erotic energy in long-term relationships.

If you are in a long term monogamous relationship, and you have stopped having sex, or sex is very infrequent, you may think you are broken or something is wrong with you or your relationship. It might be comforting to know that you are far from alone.

Sexual boredom and the lack of fire are often the reasons why some people reach outside of their long term relationship even though they are still happy with their partner on all other levels.

In a culture that is obsessed with sex, we ironically provide very little adult sex education. Outside of a myriad of “how to” sex books, there is very little in the way of authentic tools taught to us about how to make sex happen when it stops, and how to make it feel good again.

What we need to learn is that sex needs to become a pleasure that we decide to make happen as opposed to us waiting for the heat of desire to take us over. It can seem awfully boring, and certainly not a NY Times bestseller, to preach about how we need to create time and room for sex in our lives when our hormones are not raging for it. If you are waiting to be swept away by fiery passion in a long term relationship, it is possible you will be waiting a long time for your next sexual experience!

But putting conscious effort into what we think should come naturally can be very uncomfortable for many couples. Even couples who seek sexual coaching can have a lot of trouble doing their homework, because homework means consciously choosing to have a sexual experience. It can feel very awkward and uncomfortable to put sex on the calendar for Wednesday night!

But it is also very empowering to be able to consciously deal with sex as we do with everything else that is important in our lives. When we make room for sex, and put sex on the calendar we are making a very important statement to ourselves and to our partner. In making the commitment to mindful sex, we are also declaring to our partners that not only is sex worthy of our time and attention – but so are they.

Knowing that our partners still find us desirable and are willing to plan to show up for us is incredibly important. That kind of conscious love will not only help fuel our erotic engines again, but all of the other parts of our relationship as well.

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Pamela Madsen

Pamela Madsen is an Integrative Life Coach Specializing In Women's Issues: Sexuality, Fertility, Body Image, Wellness and Rejuvenation. Pamela is also author of the best selling memoir Shameless (Rodale, Jan 2011), and founder of The American Fertility Association.Her websites and her daily blog,, are a breakfast essential for reporters, writers and policymakers.


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2:25AM PDT on Apr 3, 2012

My goodness you would think Monogamy was a disease the way the headline reads. My belief is, that if you really love someone, you have everything you need in that person.

5:34PM PDT on Apr 1, 2012

Not in need for tips, thanks... ditch the pink glasses ages ago!

1:38PM PDT on Mar 16, 2012

The more committed you are ,the more likely it will succeed.

1:53AM PDT on Mar 13, 2012

Thank you.

9:07PM PDT on Mar 12, 2012

The "sex problem" in the relationship is rarely about strictly sex. Odds are, theres a whole lotta worms hiding ynder that can lid. The other person is most likely not providing the emotional or mental aspects to their partner and rhus, the so called lack of sex or the lukewarm sex. Furthermore, like Jane said, the other half mite not exactly be the right other half and no amount of scheduled or unscheduled sex will help that. And yes, the focus outthere is wrongly on the sex just like this article and not on the communication and compromise between partners. The focus has to be on mutual fulfillment and satisfaction in all different areas, far beyond the sexual. Problem is ppl are mostly selfish and only care about whst can be done for them and not vice versa

1:37PM PDT on Mar 12, 2012

A good relationship is better than good sex and the sex is better in a good relationship. If we love and respect our mate we share in thier lives i.e. work,time apart,comforting...etc 'cause really sex is just sex and it does get boring if that is all there is.

12:08PM PDT on Mar 11, 2012

awesome! I think this is a great article.
scheduling sex might not sound good, but once you do it you find out it can actually help. at least for the woman. we've done it before, like when one of us wasn't in the mood when the other was, we would say "let's make a date for say, Friday night". then we anticipate it and think about it and plan it out in our heads until then and it ends up being amazing.

also, I have to say I don't understand what problem the world sees with monogamy. I have the person I want to be with forever and I could never imagine loving or being with anyone else. I think it is the most beautiful thing to make a commitment to one person and grow with that person for the rest of your life. I just don't see why people don't see that.

2:13PM PST on Mar 10, 2012

I disagree, orgasms are ok by yourself but they are sheer heaven with the "right person". The problem is, the "right person" usually splits and leaves you with a broken heart. It is not reasonable to expect to find your "soulmate" because it rarely happens. Only 1 million out of 310 million people every find the right person for them. It's almost a "myth".

11:03AM PST on Mar 10, 2012

It's monogamy ... not monotony!! There needs to be a deep relationship (friendship), and a commitment between the partners. If there isn't, there will always be serious problems in the relationship.

10:08AM PST on Mar 10, 2012

I agree with the fact that living 24/7 with someone in a serious long-term relationship doesn't help our sexuality. But, I do not think this is the only problem.

You say : "Don’t be stalemated by old conflicts, grudges, and who did the dishes last. You might be surprised to discover that when you welcome sex back into your relationship in a conscious and warm way – all of those old issues may start to feel less important after all."

I'm sorry, but, when something bothers you in your relationship, keeping the "sex" factor on track is very difficult. Sex implies emotions and if your emotionally turned off, you can't be quite turned on sexually. Both things go together.

I've never been able to be sexually active when my partner upset me, hurt me or deeply disappointed me and I don't see that happening any time soon. Why ? Because I'm human. And call me crazy, but, feelings are much more important to me than orgasms (I can get those all by myself !).

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