Avoid the Dreaded Dead Bedroom! 6 Habits You Can Start Now
If not, "dead bedroom" is the informal term used to describe a relationship where participants (who used to have sex) haven't had sex in a long time.
You won't hear this term talked about in professional circles, though: not only is it hard to use as a diagnosis (how long, exactly, would a couple need to go without sex?), but it also adds stigma and shame - which certainly isn't helping anyone!
A "dead" bedroom also implies a loss of passion or vitality - and that doesn't have to be in the case. Some couples maintain strong relationships with attraction to one another - and sexual intimacy just hasn't been in the cards for awhile.
Some couples don't even realize that "dead bedroom" has "hit" them - until they're trying to recall the last time they had sex...and they can't.
If you're unfamiliar with the sensation, I want you to think about your favorite gourmet food or dessert, and figure out how long ago it was that you ate it. Despite it being a favorite, for most of us, we'd probably have to stop and think about the last time it made it into our mouths. (Unless you're having your favorite gourmet dessert on a regular basis, and in which case, I'm very jealous.)
But a "dead bedroom" isn't something that passively happens to couples. It's a long, multitude of steps that happens over time. Luckily, if that is something you want to avoid, it means that any couple can work to reduce its likelihood by following some relationship-focused steps.
Prioritize SexYep, it seems obvious.
I've been just as guilty of letting everything else in my busy life come before sex. It often seems like there aren't enough hours in the day to support all of the things we need to do - and we need to somehow make time for sex too?
I'm most guilty of the "I'm not really in the mood" excuse - while also spending the previous hour watching a TV show. Of course I'm not "in the mood" after watching a murder mystery docuseries!
The simple and easy answer to this? Prioritize sex. You can schedule in sex if you want (some people really love looking forward to upcoming sexytimes, and you might be one of them).
But this also might look like scheduling in downtime in your life: no busywork, time filler, or mindless entertainment.
Especially if you're someone who doesn't want to have sex unless you're in a sexy, aroused mood, packing every minute full of errands is, unsurprisingly, bound to never leave your brain enough time to wander - and get in the sexy mood in the first place!
Prioritize Your ConnectionLet's say that dead bedroom has already begun to creep into your relationship - and the idea of simply "turning back on" sex sounds absolutely anxiety-inducing. I get it. Sometimes, especially after long periods of reduced connection, the idea of simply "having sex" is really, really uncomfortable. Been there, hated it.
If that's the case, focus on prioritizing the connection between the two of you instead. Leave the focus on "sex" out of the picture.
Instead, go on a date night. Pick one of the hobbies you both enjoy and head out of the house to explore that hobby in some way. Recreate your first date. Think about what attracted you to your partner in the first place. Try some new thing the two of you have never tried before. Go to that restaurant you've had on your to-do list for forever.
This tends to reignite your connection - and make the idea of intimate touching much more palatable. Once you get home and want to continue the reconnection quest, a spicy game like Behind Closed Doors might be just the ticket to capitalize on those romantic feelings and turn them physical.
Respond to Your PartnerIf you're like most couples, there are hundreds of opportunities a day where you have to choose something related to your partner.
Some of these will be direct requests from your partner - often called "bids for connection" in the world of psychology. They might ask you to pick up the kids after work - or ask you to bring home dinner. They might ask you to wash the dishes or fill the car up with gas. They might ask for your opinion about clothing, a movie, or a work situation.
As easy as it can be to see your overwhelming to-do list and refuse to add more to it, responding positively to these "bids for connection" can make a drastic impact on your relationship. In a study, at the six-year follow-up, couples who were still married had "turned towards" each other's bids 86% of the time - while couples who were divorced only averaged 33%.
This makes sense. After all, a "bid for connection" is, literally, your partner requesting your time and energy to depend on your connection - or further the connection between you.
This also means prioritizing your partner - even without being asked. When your partner needs to unload the groceries, it'd certainly be easier to stay on the couch and keep reading your book. But think about how much easier it would make their lives to have help unloading and unpacking the groceries. Are they folding the laundry? Mulching the yard? Stepping in to help, without needing to be asked, can leave your relationship in a positive space.
At a minimum, when your partner makes a "bid for connection" for conversation, put down what you're doing and give them your full attention. Ask follow-up questions - and take genuine interest in their answers. Learn the jargon and important aspects of their hobbies - and check-in about work and home projects you know they're engaged in.
A better, stronger, happier relationship connection leads to sex more often; it's a simple way to reduce the likelihood that a dead bedroom creeps up.
Explore Alternative Forms of PleasureDead bedroom is more likely to happen if sex isn't something you both enjoy. For some couples (like those who are asexual), that may simply be how your relationship operates. In that case, "dead bedroom" is probably not a worry for you; it's just how you like it!
For many couples, however, sex is a usually-enjoyable experience that fuels their intimate connection.
But if sex isn't enjoyable, it can be easy to let a dead bedroom sneak up. If sex had the same level of enjoyment as folding laundry, I, too, would quietly avoid doing it again!
Instead, before dead bedroom hits, start finding ways to make sex more enjoyable. For a lot of heterosexual couples, this may involve looking at sexual options that aren't intercourse. Not only will this help your relationship weather any instances of erectile dysfunction (which get more common as you get older!), but penis-in-vagina intercourse is rarely the primary means of orgasm for most vulva-owning partners.
If you want a simple, easy way to slowly segue into this one, consider adding a new sex toy to your bedroom every now and again. Not only does this add some excitement back into your sex life, but it also allows you both to find new ways to enjoy pleasure that may not be intercourse-centric. As you get more comfortable with sex toys, you may also find yourself choosing from some of the more unique toys out there. Spencer's has some fun sex toy bundles that can be a great way to continue to figure out pleasurable options aside from intercourse! Give the vibrating panties bundle a try (complete with blindfold and remote control bullet vibrator to slip in the included lacy panties) or check out this banging kit, featuring a cock ring, butt plug, bullet vibe and blindfold!
Talk About ItDead bedroom is so dangerous because it sneaks up, unexpected, on a lot of couples. Sure, you knew it'd been awhile since you had sex, but at some point, you lift your head up from the day-to-day experience to realize it's been a very long time since the two of you did anything sexual.
It's a lot harder for it to sneak up if you speak up to your partner when you notice that it's happening and talk about it. Not only does this put it out in the open for a full discussion, but it ensures that it isn't sneaking up on either of you.
With the conversation out in the open, it's on everybody's radar - and the conversation can even lead to a scheduled sex date and future plans to make sex a higher priority for the two of you.
In some cases, the worry about a dead bedroom may be one-sided. For whatever reason (mismatched sex drives, busy lives, unpleasurable sex), your partner may not be as concerned about a dead bedroom sneaking up on the two of you. If that's the case, consider swapping the conversations to answer questions like these:
- What could we reduce in your life to make sex an easier activity to enjoy?
- What could we add to our sex life to make sex more enjoyable for you?
- Is there something that's actively keeping you from wanting to have sex?
- What is negatively affecting your life right now - and what can I do to help?
Don't just have the conversation either. If your partner gives you the answers you're looking for, jump into action. So often, our partners give us the exact information we need (like "I'm stressed about money" or "I'm too frazzled keeping up with the house chores"), but we don't modify our own lives to help reduce those friction points - like picking up some of the household chores or finding ways to reduce household spending.
In some cases, the loss of desire may not have an emotional or mental cause. There are many medical conditions - and medications - that can cause a loss of libido. If that's the case, make sure to bring up your concerns to your healthcare provider.
Maintain Your IndividualityI know, I know: we just spent this entire list talking about relationship improvements.
But your relationship is made up of two people: two independent people. To keep the relationship strong, both people within the relationship need to be doing okay too.
Maintaining your individual self means doing some of the boring stuff - and some of the fun stuff - to ensure your "cup" is full enough to pour your energy into the relationship as well. Things like:
- Valuing and maintaining your social connections.
- Moving your body in ways that feel good.
- Nourishing your body with nutritious foods sometimes - and indulgent foods other times.
- Spending time and energy on your own hobbies and things that bring you joy.
- Reducing negative self-talk.
Mistress Kay has a fondness for all things sexual. With a house that's quickly running out of room for all of her reading and vibrating pleasures, she spends her free time reading, writing, and learning about the sexual universe with her partners. She can be reached at Kinky World.