Sex & Relationships

How to Trigger Desire in a Stale Relationship



Joan-Price-senior-planetWelcome to our new Sex at Our Age columnist, award-winning senior sexpert Joan Price! Every week during Senior Sex Month and then monthly, Joan will answer your questions about everything from loss of desire to solo sex and partner issues. Nothing is out of bounds!  (Read our Q&A with Joan here.)




I really do need your help. I have a husband who loves me and needs the intimacy we used to have. I seem to have lost the desire almost altogether, and my poor husband is suffering.

I was brought up in the 50s with parents who wouldn’t talk about sex. My husband was my first real lover, and although I had other experiences – the 70s and liberation and all that – I felt too guilty to enjoy them. One tempestuous affair back then took me by storm. By chance, I ran into that old lover on Facebook, and although we’ve both moved on, remembering our affair brings back those old sensations for me.

How can I use these feelings to help me reinvigorate my relationship with my husband, whom I love dearly? I really want to get my libido back.



Good for you wanting to use the feelings that your old lover stirred in you to stimulate your desire for your husband. Fantasy is a great way to ramp up a tired libido, especially in a long marriage that feels sexually stale.

Whatever you fantasize that gets you going can benefit your marriage if it helps you feel sexually open to your husband again. No need for guilt – it’s not “cheating” to imagine a scenario that turns you on, even if it does involve another person. Just aim those juicy new feelings toward your husband and enjoy.

New relationships are wildly sexy, but after you’ve been together for decades, as much as you love each other, sex can become predictable and dull. It’s important to change it up and surprise each other regularly. Here are a few ways:

  1. Try new things: positions, environment, sex toys, sexy clothing, lubricants, erotica.
  2. Rediscover each other: Pretend that you’re new lovers, just finding out what the other person likes sexually. Explore different ways of touching.
  3. Start sensually: Before taking it to the next step, give him a massage or have him massage you; agree to kiss for 20 minutes; do a striptease for him – or have him do one for you!
  4. Pick a public place to role play that you don’t know each other. Flirt. Pick each other up. Seduce each other.
  5. Exchange memories about your early times together, when your love was new and exciting. Recapture those feelings by revisiting a place you used to go or doing something that was part of that time.
  6. Exercise first to get your blood flow going. This will make arousal faster and easier.

The more you have sex, the more easily arousal and desire will kick in. Rather than waiting to have sex until you’re in the mood, just go with it – concentrate on relaxing, free your mind from distractions and let yourself feel the sensations. Opening yourself to your physiological arousal will trigger your desire.


Would you like to see more questions and answers? See all of Joan’s advice in Sex At Our Age.

To send Joan your questions, email
Joan Price is the author of the award-winning self-help book “Naked at Our Age: Talking Out Loud about Senior Sex” and of “Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk about Sex After Sixty.” Visit Joan’s  blog, “Naked at Our Age.” 


6 responses to “How to Trigger Desire in a Stale Relationship

  1. A reader told me that this line serves her well: “It don’t matter where you get your appetite, as long as you eat at home!” (Google tells me that it’s a song title by Jason Mraz’s drummer, Michael “Leroy” Bram.)

    The take-away idea, which Starbringer said in a different way: if you bring that revved up sexual energy home to your spouse/partner, it doesn’t matter what your imagination did to start your desire and arousal.

    So let go of the thought that it’s “wrong” to get turned on with a fantasy — fantasies are our buddies in bed!

  2. In the U.S. we have a real problem with male circumcision. It ruins sex for men. Europe has much more sex than the U.S. and its hard not to conclude that its because they don’t cut off their incredibly sensitive foreskins.

  3. I see so many people in so many different kinds of relationships who beat themselves up for being attracted or aroused by people other then the person closest to them, I try to remind someone that you can’t possibly be happy forcing your self to have eyes for only one person…and if it comes naturally to you, something dire maybe wrong.

    Speaking from experience on this matter…

  4. I like what Joan says about change of venue. Take it out of the usual and let yourself relax somewhere new and different. And, while you’re at it, venture into new conversational territory. I like to imagine that my sig other is a bit of an iceberg, with a good part of him unknown to me. It’s sexy to probe, ask questions, solicit opinions. Try to see him as others do. And never assume you know. Watching your mate open up to you can be thrilling in lots of ways.

    1. What a great idea, Rae! Your “iceberg” strategy must be revealing and quite a turn-on! You’re right that we can’t assume we know what our partner thinks, and we may discover fascinating surprises as our mate opens up!

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