Relationships Spouses & Partners How to Have a Healthy Married Sex Life 8 Ways to Boost Sexual Intimacy in Your Marriage By Sheri Stritof Sheri Stritof Sheri Stritof has written about marriage and relationships for 20+ years. She's the co-author of The Everything Great Marriage Book. Learn about our editorial process Updated on September 13, 2022 Medically reviewed Verywell Mind articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and mental healthcare professionals. Medical Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more. by Carly Snyder, MD Medically reviewed by Carly Snyder, MD Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Carly Snyder, MD is a reproductive and perinatal psychiatrist who combines traditional psychiatry with integrative medicine-based treatments. Learn about our Medical Review Board Print Table of Contents View All Table of Contents Signs of a Healthy Sex Life Communicate Share Desires and Expectations Make a Plan Initiate Sex More Often Take Good Care of Yourself Learn What Your Partner Likes Avoid Comparison Seek Help When Needed 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 quirksDate nights, fun, and playfulnessLove for each otherPhysical attractionProductive and meaningful communicationWillingness 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. Communicate 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. Why Couples Should Talk About Their Feelings 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. 5 Psychological Theories of Love 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. Activities to Strengthen Your Marriage 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. The Benefits of Having Sex More Often 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. Can Aphrodisiacs Improve Your Sex Life? 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. Angry Sex: Is It Healthy? 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. Kardan-Souraki M, Hamzehgardeshi Z, Asadpour I, Mohammadpour RA, Khani S. A review of marital intimacy-enhancing interventions among married individuals. Glob J Health Sci. 2016;8(8):53109. doi:10.5539/gjhs.v8n8p74 Vazhappilly JJ, Reyes MES. Couples’ communication as a predictor of marital satisfaction among selected Filipino couples. Psychol Stud. 2016;61(4):301-306. doi:10.1007/s12646-016-0375-5 Finley N. Lifestyle choices can augment female sexual well-being. Am J Lifestyle Med. 2018;12(1):38-41. doi:10.1177/1559827617740823 Stanton AM, Handy AB, Meston CM. The effects of exercise on sexual function in women. Sexual Medicine Reviews. 2018;6(4):548-557. doi:10.1016/j.sxmr.2018.02.004 See Our Editorial Process Meet Our Review Board Share Feedback Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! What is your feedback? Other Helpful Report an Error Submit Speak to a Therapist for Relationships Advertiser Disclosure × The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which Verywell Mind receives compensation.