How to Have a Healthy Married Sex Life

8 Ways to Boost Sexual Intimacy in Your Marriage

maintaining intimacy in your marriage
Verywell / Emily Roberts

Sexual frequency in marriage can change over time, but sex does not have to get boring in a long-term relationship. As the years go by and you get older, your intimate relationship should get better. Sex with your partner can become more satisfying because you know each other's likes, dislikes, habits, and preferences. 

We know that life can get in the way. Chores, kids, finances, work, stress, and other issues can put a damper on romance or even contribute to sexual problems in a marriage. These everyday factors can interfere with both your desire for sex and finding the time to put in the effort. But don't put sex last on the to-do list. There are ways to prioritize sex and keep it exciting.

Signs of a Healthy Sex Life

Building and maintaining a good sex life with your partner requires both of you to put in time and effort. These are the ingredients that can help you keep your intimate relationship satisfying. Some signs of an intimate marriage include:

  • Acceptance of each other's flaws and quirks
  • Date nights, fun, and playfulness
  • Love for each other
  • Physical attraction
  • Productive and meaningful communication
  • Willingness to make time for each other

There is no reason why you can't have an active and healthy sex life for many, many years. Try the strategies listed below to keep these key ingredients in your marriage.


Communication is the key to a healthy and active sex life in a marital relationship, so talk with one another more. Chatting about superficial things can be fun, but remember to go deeper in order to really establish intimacy.

Share your innermost thoughts and feelings with one another regularly. Sexual intimacy is a continuing process of discovery. True intimacy through communication is one of the things that can make sex great.

This might include sharing any frustrations you might have, talking about sexual experiences that you enjoy, or discussing other things you might want to explore together. Keeping an open line of communication can also help you address any sexual problems that you might be experiencing early on before they take a toll on your relationship or self-esteem.

Researchers have found that good communication plays a key role in building and maintaining marital satisfaction.

Share Desires and Expectations

Talk openly and share your sexual desires. Be open and honest about what you want. You don't want to use this time to be critical of your partner; just assert what you want in the bedroom and what makes you feel good. 

Talk with one another about your expectations concerning lovemaking. False or unmet expectations can hurt your marriage. If your expectations are not being met by your partner, communicate this tactfully and sensitively. 

Sex in a long-lasting relationship can deepen and become a richer experience. No matter how many times you have made love to each other, the wonder and awe of mutual attraction can still be there.

Make a Plan

When life becomes busy and schedules are hectic, planning for sexual encounters with one another may become important. Some people may find scheduling undesirable, but it all depends on how you look at it. You can make plans just as exciting as spontaneous sex. 

  • Set the mood in advance. If you want to have good sex at night, start the foreplay in the morning.
  • Send signals throughout the day, like notes, e-mails, texts, phone calls, hugs, or other flirtatious gestures, to build excitement for your sex date.

Of course, even with careful planning and genuine effort, you might run into occasions when sex with your spouse doesn't meet your expectations.

Initiate Sex More Often

Don't expect your spouse to be the only one in your marriage who is responsible for romance. You both need to take responsibility for having an intimate and successful relationship. Here are a few ideas to help you initiate sex more often.

  • Hold hands and show affection. Women particularly need to feel loved and connected in order to have the desire for sex. 
  • Make time for intimate acts. Something as simple as a long embrace, kiss, hand or foot massage can help you connect and build intimacy and signal to your partner that you're in the mood.
  • Plan date nights and other novel activities together and be open to trying new things.

Take Good Care of Yourself

A healthy sex life intersects with your overall physical, emotional, and mental health. People who feel happy and healthy and have a positive body image are more likely to be in the mood.

If you exercise regularly and eat a nutritious diet, you'll also have more energy for any activity. Keeping up with a fitness program will improve your flexibility and self-esteem, too.

There is some evidence that a single bout of exercise can help make sex more pleasurable, stimulating both short- and long-term arousal in women by driving increases in hormones as well as sympathetic nervous system activity.

Learn What Your Partner Likes

Understanding your partner's expectations, desires, likes, and dislikes is important—not only in terms of their sexual style and comfort level, but what they need to feel loved and appreciated, and ultimately happier in your relationship.

We all express and feel love differently—or have a different "love language"—and understanding those differences can play a big role in maintaining intimacy in your marriage.

Avoid Comparison

Comparing your sex life to someone else's, or to what marital sex statistics say about others, is not helpful or relevant. There are no rules when it comes to the right or wrong amount of sex.

What matters most is if the frequency of sex in your marriage is right for you and your partner—and, if not, how you communicate that and work together to adjust it.

Similarly, remember that sex is not going to be perfect each time; don't compare your sex life to the portrayals you see in movies or on television.

Seek Help When Needed

If you and your partner are having trouble building and maintaining a fulfilling sex life, you may need to seek help from a trained professional who can help you take steps to resolve the issue.

  • Talk to a doctor. If medical issues like erectile dysfunction (ED) or vaginal dryness are interfering with your sex life, a medical professional can prescribe appropriate treatment.
  • Seek counseling. Marriage counseling (also called couples therapy) can be very effective for opening the lines of communication between you and your spouse and figuring out strategies for improving sex and intimacy.
  • Reach out to a sex therapist. Sex therapy is a form of talk therapy, not hands-on therapy, that is used to help individuals and couples address sexual problems.

Working with a sex therapist, alone or together, can help you explore any emotional or relationship issues that might be affecting your sex life.

A Word From Verywell​​

While married sex sometimes gets dismissed as boring, it certainly doesn't have to be. What's more, it's found to have numerous benefits including lower blood pressure, reduced stress, increased intimacy, and even a lower divorce rate.

Remember, there will naturally be an ebb and flow when it comes to sex during marriage. Factors like children, stress, and illness can all affect sexual frequency. The good news is that if your sex life has hit a snag, there are plenty of ways to get back on track and spice things up.

4 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  2. Vazhappilly JJ, Reyes MES. Couples’ communication as a predictor of marital satisfaction among selected Filipino couplesPsychol Stud. 2016;61(4):301-306. doi:10.1007/s12646-016-0375-5

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By Sheri Stritof
Sheri Stritof has written about marriage and relationships for 20+ years. She's the co-author of The Everything Great Marriage Book.