Sex is supposed to be fun and exciting – but sometimes, it can also be nerve-racking. Lots of people are worried they might do something wrong in bed. Things can get a lot easier when you’ve been with someone for a while.
After all, when you trust your partner, you’re more relaxed, and knowing each other’s bodies helps with finding out what you both like and want. But does that take away from the good kind of excitement, too?
Novelty and excitement
Studies suggest it might – at least for women. We reported earlier that women’s interest in sex with their partner dwindles by the month – her sexual desire drops, his stays the same. And more women said they had an orgasm the last time they had sex when it had happened with someone they were not in a long-term relationship with, according to a survey that was part of a large-scale study on sexual behaviour.
“We also know that women generally get more aroused with newer partners, so it’s probably tied into feelings of novelty and excitement, higher desire and higher arousal,” says Dr Debra Herbenick, one of the researchers.
But she also says that “it’s difficult to know what sense to make” of the finding. “Sometimes we think that having an orgasm could be easier with somebody who knows your body well. And to some extent that’s true. Some relationships are very satisfying and very exciting, and your partner knows you well, and you’ll be more likely to have an orgasm – but there’s also a lot where there’s other things going on.”
In short, if you’ve been with someone for a longer time, everyday life just tends to get in the way of steamy sex. “In long-term relationships, we see that people often have sex very routinely, very quickly.”
This is the case with women especially. Routine or speediness put the men off all that much: “For men we actually found the opposite, at least for their erections,” says Herbenick. “They said erections were easier with a relationship partner.”
But women, says Herbenick, might have sex “just because they feel – and we’ve seen that in other research, too – that they’re obligated to”.
But it’s important to realise that it’s not all so black and white. OK, with new partners or one-night stands “there’s just a lot of excitement and newness,” but long-term relationships just have a lot more going on.
“There’s a lot of different types of relationship and, even within a relationship, a lot of different types of sex – there’s quickie sex as well as lovely, intimate longer sex… so it’s not just the relationship. As a grouping there’s a lot more complexity.”
So there’s no reason to panic and ditch your long-term partner in the quest for excitement. After all, getting all that “intimate longer sex” in exchange seems like a pretty good deal.