Sexual boredom, or feeling bored with the sexual aspects of life, can be a common phenomenon, particularly in long-term relationships. Sometimes, even when a romantic relationship is otherwise healthy, the sexual aspect of it can feel predictable, stale, and rote.
Although a routine sex life is not necessarily an issue for everyone, it can become a problem if one or both members of a couple become dissatisfied with their sex life, and the situation negatively impacts their connection or intimacy. Accordingly, past research has shown an association between sexual boredom and risky sexual behavior, compulsive sexual behavior, relationship conflict and dissatisfaction, and sex outside of a committed relationship.
Fortunately, there are ways for couples who are experiencing sexual boredom to address it and reintroduce some excitement into their sex life. Below are some ideas for couples looking to overcome sexual boredom.
Pay attention during sex.
While this concept may sound extraordinarily basic, a lack of focus or attention during sex may be at the root of many sexual issues, including sexual boredom. Several studies have demonstrated the importance of attention in facilitating physical and subjective sexual arousal. When one or both partners are distracted by outside stimuli during a sexual encounter, they may be less likely to become aroused by sexual stimuli and more likely to feel bored. Couples can practice being present during sex by limiting distractions and focusing on the physical sensations of the experience.
Embrace sex positivity.
The results of a 2018 quantitative study of 352 individuals showed an association between lower sexual boredom scores and higher scores of sex-positive traits such as “erotophilia, sensation seeking, sexual sensation seeking, sexual assertiveness, sex drive, sex frequency, sexual self-esteem, self-esteem, and openness to experience” (de Oliveira et al., 2021). The individuals who scored highly in sex-positive traits also tended to report higher levels of sexual novelty in their relationships, perhaps due to their positive attitudes regarding sex and their willingness to experience new things.
Incorporate novelty into your sex life.
In line with embracing sex positivity is introducing novel elements into sexual interactions. Novelty is, by definition, the ultimate remedy for boredom. Experimenting with roleplaying, sex toys, new positions, new sexual activities, or even a new location can bring a refreshing, new quality to sex that once felt monotonous or overly rehearsed.
Communicate with your partner.
While sexual boredom has been associated with decreased sexual satisfaction, partner communication (especially around the topic of sex) has been linked to increased sexual satisfaction. Couples may be able to offset sexual boredom by openly discussing their sexual fantasies, desires, likes, and dislikes so as to better satisfy one another.
Speak with a professional.
A sex therapist or mental health professional may be able to help couples dealing with relationship conflict or past trauma that could be contributing to sexual boredom. In addition to helping facilitate productive conversations, a sex therapist can provide suggestions or techniques for a couple looking to enhance their sex life.
de Oliveira, L., Carvalho, J., & Nobre, P. (2021). A systematic review on sexual boredom. The Journal of Sexual Medicine, 18(3), 565-581. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsxm.2020.12.019
Matthews, S.J., Giuliano, T.A., Rosa, M.N., Thomas, K.H., Swift, B.A., Ahearn, N.D., Garcia, A.G., Smith, S.R., Niblett, C.M., & Mills, M.M. (2018). The battle against bedroom boredom: Development and validation of a brief measure of sexual novelty in relationships. The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, 27(3), 277-287. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3138/cjhs.2017-0041
Štulhofer, A., Buško, V., & Brouillard, P. (2010). Development and bicultural validation of the new sexual satisfaction scale. Journal of sex research, 47(4), 257-268. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/00224490903100561