Six things that will make you want more sex in a long-term relationship

couple kissing

How do I make myself want more sex?

It’s one of the questions I am asked the most – especially by women in long-term relationships.

There are lots of reasons why women tend to go off sex with the same partner faster than men – less to do with ‘natural’ libido, more to do with being sick of boring sex, by the way.

That’s why the first and obvious way to make yourself want more sex is to make sure the sex you’re having is exciting and satisfying sex.

But there are other, less obvious things that affect our appetite for sex.

Here’s six factors that hugely influence desire.

You have to want to want

You have to WANT to feel sexy to feel sexy.

Lots of people pay lip service to wanting to have sex more. Then go through the motions, pretending they’re trying everything in the hope that it will work. When really they’re trying to prove that nothing anyone suggests will work to help them.

That’s just a waste of time.

If you seriously don’t want to be sexual anymore, then shift your efforts into making sure your life (and your partner’s, if you have one) is happy sex-free. (I talk about how to manage a sexless relationship in my new book.)

Expect a flicker, not a fire

Some people feel desire as a huge, raging fire in their lower belly, for others it’s more like a flicker than a flame.

If you’re waiting for the fire and think anything else isn’t true arousal, you might be waiting an awfully long time if you’re in a long-term relationship. Most of us experience high intensity arousal at the very start of relationships, when we’re young – and when we’re doing something we shouldn’t be, like having an affair.

It’s rare to feel continual, powerful, potent passion for someone you’ve been with for a long time and are faithful to. It’s just not how humans are programmed.

The flicker is the flame. Accept it and work with it.

Initiate sex to feel more sexually powerful

The person who initiates sex more often is seen as the ‘sexy person’. Being the ‘sexy person’ makes you feel sexy.

Shifting power – changing from being the person who waits to be asks for sex to the person who is demanding sex from someone else – is an effective way to shake a sleeping libido awake.

Take responsibility for arousing yourself

Belgian therapist Esther Perel knows her stuff and is very clear about this: it’s not our partner’s job to arouse us, it’s our own.

This might mean fantasising to get in the mood or during sex. It might mean putting on some music that takes you back to when you were young and up for it all the time. It might mean ‘warming up’ with your vibrator before you slip under the sheets (even better, still holding it). It might mean reading or watching erotica.

Explore until you know guaranteed ways to turn yourself on.

While we’re on that point…

Be careful with your sex triggers

A quick word on porn here.

I love watching porn when I masturbate but I also watch it with my husband – for good reason.

While there’s nothing wrong with only watching it solo, be careful about setting up triggers that might backfire.

I made a pact with an old boyfriend of mine, years ago, to give up smoking. He gave up, I didn’t. Being a heavy smoker (I hate it now but back then would have eaten cigarettes if I could!) this meant I looked forward to when he wasn’t there rather than when he was. His presence, previously liked, was now associated with not having fun. The minute he left, the fun – smoking – could start.

We split up.

In the same way, be careful about having all the ‘fun sex’ – naughtily watching ‘taboo’ porn while masturbating – when your partner isn’t around. Otherwise, them leaving to go to work/going to bed early without you becomes a positive sex trigger: you can sneak off for a solo sex fix. Sex with them becomes associated with being dull and boring. Sex solo is interesting and exciting.

If you like porn, explore it together. That way it feeds your erotic connection rather than separates it.


It might sound like strange advice to tell you to exercise if you want to reconnect to your sexual self but it’s exactly what will help rekindle your desire for sex.

Research by Dr Cindy Meston (based at a Texan university) discovered exercise can significantly increase sexual desire even in women with low libido.

She found women who exercised on an exercise bike had significantly, sometimes dramatically, higher levels of sexual arousal when asked to look at erotic images afterwards, than women who didn’t exercise beforehand. Meanwhile, researchers at a Turkish university proved women who exercise have better clitoral blood flow than women who didn’t.

Good blood flow always means better sex.

Exercise is good for everyone. Do it. If you hate going to the gym, head outside for a walk or do a class at home. There are some brilliant free online fitness classes for all levels. Walk, go for a bike ride, go swimming, do Pilates, try heavy weights, a self-defence class. Just move.

Your sex life will thank you.