As a young couple, you should be having scorching sex on a regular basis, right? Well, the reality is, even the most solid couples reveal that they’ve had sexual trouble. “Being in a long-term relationship doesn’t mean you’d have wild sex all the time,” says Lisa, 29, a teacher who’s been in a relationship for six years.
The most common reason: Couples don’t communicate with each other about their dissatisfaction in the sack. “Embarrassment and a fear that something’s wrong with them keep most young people from bringing up complaints,” says sexologist Yvonne K. Fulbright, PhD, author of Touch Me There! “But you can’t solve the problem if you won’t even acknowledge you have it.”
It doesn’t mean that you need to have lengthy, uncomfortable conversations either—there are other ways to convey your needs. Here, experts identify the five most common carnal crises young couples face and offer their best advice on how to deal.
He’s Not Pleasing You…But Thinks He Is
Oh, he tries, but if he’s still not hitting your high notes—because he’s too fast, too slow, or too far off the mark—speak up. “Probably, it isn’t that he’s bad in bed; it’s that you haven’t informed him about what he’s doing right or wrong,” says sex therapist Gloria Brame, PhD. “Men tend to stick with techniques that worked with other women, so unless you tell him otherwise, he’ll assume you like it, too.”
Your Libido Is Higher Than His
“A large number of men have lower libidos than their girlfriends do but can’t admit it,” says Bob Berkowitz, PhD, co-author of He’s Just Not Up For It Anymore. “Not being able to keep up can make some guys feel emasculated. Meanwhile, a woman with a higher libido is embarrassed by her sexuality or wonders why he’s not attracted to her.”
First step: “Rule out physical conditions,” says Berkowitz. “Certain medications (such as antidepressants) and health issues (such as high blood pressure) can dampen a man’s libido.”
When his machinery malfunctions, the last thing you want to do is, gulp, talk about it. But, you can reassure him with this: Erectile issues—from premature ejaculation to losing erections to not being able to come—are common, even in young, strapping guys. “For men, sexual performance issues are psychological or physiological,” says Ian Kerner, PhD, author of He Comes Next. “He might have a fear of intimacy or a troubled sexual past, but more often than not, stress, poor diet, or lack of exercise is to blame.” Those kinds of temporary factors fade over time. If the problems are ongoing, however, consider seeing a sex therapist.
You’ve Gotten Into A Rut
No, sex is never going to be like it was in the beginning. That’s because when couples first start dating, they can’t wait to try out every position and tongue trick in the book. A few years later, “most long-term couples have figured out which buttons to push to make their partners feel good, so they stick with what works,” says Kerner. “They may be having orgasms, but relying on the same moves can make most couples lazy about exploring.”
Without indicating that your sex life is putting you to sleep, suggest that you try to revive that once-adventurous attitude. “Excitement breeds excitement, so anything new will get you inspired,” says Brame. That might mean trading in the comfy tee shirt you always wear to bed for something skimpier, having sex in different rooms, or adding a position into the rotation.
Initiating Sex Falls On You
Look back at your sexual history together. “If he used to initiate all the time and now he barely does, it may be that he’s tired of the sex you’re having or he’s gotten lazy,” says Berkowitz. If so, hint that you’re up for trying new moves.
And, toy with him a bit. If he’s become a slacker, teasing him with sexy innuendos, then playing hard-to-get will put him back into the pursuer role, which often motivates a man, says Kerner.