Disagree on the important stuff—whether you want to have a family, how to spend your money, and where you see yourselves in the future—and your relationship might not make it.
But sex is also pretty damn vital to your relationship. And as the years pass, how often you have it can ebb and flow. So what happens if you’re not on the same page about that?
It’s normal—and even if one of you would prefer to have it more, having less sex might not be the deal-breaker you think.
In fact, a survey of over 5,000 people from Open University in the U.K. discovered that sexual intimacy, desire, and frequency of sex do tend to fluctuate over the years in a long-term relationship. Generally, men wanted more sex than women.
About 30 percent of women without children said their partner wants to have sex more than they do, while only 17 percent of men said the same. The difference became even more pronounced when kids were added to the mix, with 40 percent of mothers saying their partner wanted more sex, compared to just 10 percent of fathers.
But here’s the interesting thing: Having sex less often wasn’t linked to lower levels of relationship or partner satisfaction, the research found.
That could be because people in the study were committed to being together and were willing to make things work, explains study author Jacqui Gabb, Ph.D. Happy couples recognized that their ebbs and flows in the sack weren’t a life sentence—they believed it could change. And instead of ruminating over the sex drop, they found creative ways to sidestep it.
How’d they do it? Below, the successful strategies that emerged from the research—and how to employ them if your sex lives aren’t quite synced up.