Debunking Myths About Effortless Intimacy in Long-term Relationships

Every long-term relationship comes with its own myths about sex—myths that can cloud our expectations and stir confusion. These misunderstandings can lead to frustration and a sense of isolation between partners.

In this post, we're going to clear the air. We'll debunk some common myths about effortless intimacy and offer genuine, practical advice to help you and your partner reconnect and rediscover the joy in your intimate life together.

afro American couple laying in bed and being playful and intimate

Myth #1: If You Love Each Other, Sex Should Be Easy

Many believe that love alone is enough to ensure a fulfilling and effortless sex life. The truth is far more complex. External pressures like work stress, health issues, and significant life changes can heavily influence intimacy.

Expert Insight: Dr. John Gottman, a leading researcher on couples' therapy, explains, "Although love is a beautiful foundation, it is not always enough to overcome the practical and emotional challenges couples face. Without good communication and conflict resolution, the mere presence of love is not sufficient to sustain a vibrant sexual relationship."1 Another expert, Dr. Laura Berman, a sex and relationship therapist, points out that "sexual desire discrepancies between partners are one of the most common issues couples face. It's often exacerbated by stress, fatigue, and the natural ebb and flow of libido."2

Practical Advice: Open communication about sexual needs and expectations is crucial. Begin with understanding and acknowledging that changes in sexual desire are regular and can be managed through honest dialogue.

Couples should establish regular check-ins to discuss their sexual satisfaction and any changes in their health or emotional state that might affect their intimacy. Tools like scheduled intimacy sessions or relationship workshops can help couples navigate these challenges, ensuring both partners feel heard and valued.

Myth #2: If You're Aroused, You Shouldn't Need Lubricant 

There's a common belief that if you're truly aroused, your body will naturally provide all the lubrication needed for comfortable and enjoyable sex. However, the truth is that several factors can affect natural lubrication, regardless of arousal levels. Health issues, medications, and hormonal changes, such as those from birth control, menopause, or even stress, can decrease natural lubrication, making sex uncomfortable or even painful.

Expert Insight: Dr. Mary Jane Minkin, a clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Yale University, encourages the use of lubricants as a regular part of sexual activity, emphasizing, "Using a lubricant doesn't mean there's something wrong with you or your partner's ability to get aroused—it's about enhancing comfort and pleasure for both partners."3

Product Recommendation: Water-based lubricants are highly recommended due to their safety and compatibility with condoms and various sex toys. They are easier to clean up and less likely to cause irritation than oil-based or silicone-based lubricants.

When choosing a lubricant, look for products labeled as "non-irritating" and free from potential allergens like parabens and glycerin, which can be best choice for sensitive skin.

loving couple laying in bed and cuddling, the man lays in the woman's lap, bright room

Myth #3: Condoms Make Sex Less Enjoyable

Many people believe that using condoms during sex reduces pleasure and causes discomfort. However, advances in condom technology have significantly improved their comfort and potential to enhance pleasure. Modern condoms are designed to feel more natural and come in various styles that can increase sensation for both partners.

Expert Insight: Dr. Logan Levkoff, a sexuality educator and author, addresses this misconception directly: "The narrative that condoms are inherently less pleasurable stems from outdated views on what condoms are like. Today's condoms are much thinner, have less noticeable scents, and come in shapes that can actually enhance the sexual experience for everyone involved."4

Research supports this, with a study from Indiana University finding that people who used condoms reported just as much sexual pleasure as those who did not, particularly when they used lubricated or textured condoms.

Safety Note: Beyond pleasure, condoms play a crucial role in sexual health. They are the only form of contraception that also protects against STDs, including HIV, making them essential for new relationships and casual encounters where partners' sexual health statuses may not be fully known.

Using condoms correctly every time you have sex is key to effectively preventing both unintended pregnancies and the spread of sexually transmitted infections.

Myth #4: All Women Orgasm From Vaginal Sex Alone

A common belief persists that vaginal intercourse is sufficient and should lead to orgasm for all women. Contrary to this widespread myth, the majority of women do not orgasm from vaginal intercourse alone. Most women require clitoral stimulation or other forms of sexual activity to reach orgasm.

Statistical Data: Research consistently shows the importance of external stimulation, with one landmark study published in the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy revealing that nearly 75% of women do not reach orgasm through vaginal intercourse alone. Further, a comprehensive report from the Kinsey Institute found that only about 18% of women can achieve orgasm from intercourse without additional clitoral stimulation.5

Advice: Understanding and embracing the diversity of sexual preferences and needs is crucial for a satisfying sexual relationship. Couples are encouraged to communicate openly about their desires and explore various types of stimulation beyond just intercourse.

This exploration not only enhances sexual satisfaction but also strengthens intimacy and connection. Experimenting with positions that offer clitoral stimulation during sex or incorporating sex toys, sex card games, and manual stimulation into lovemaking can be effective ways to ensure that all partners' needs are met.

loving couple laying in bed and being playful, the woman is laughing,

Myth #5: Frequent Sex is a Sign of a Healthy Relationship

There's a common assumption that the more frequently a couple has sex, the healthier their relationship must be. In reality, the quality of sexual encounters and the mutual satisfaction derived from them are far more significant indicators of a healthy sexual relationship than mere frequency. Each couple has their own unique sexual rhythm that works best for them, and this can change over time due to various life circumstances.

Expert Insight: Relationship experts often emphasize that it's not the quantity of sexual interactions but the quality. Dr. Justin Lehmiller, a research fellow at The Kinsey Institute, states, "It's not about how often couples are having sex, but how both partners feel about their sexual encounters. Feeling connected and fulfilled is far more important than ticking a box on a frequency chart."6 He suggests that couples focus on ensuring that each sexual experience is mutually satisfying rather than simply increasing the number of encounters.

Couples' Insights: One couple shared that after the birth of their first child, their frequency of sexual activity decreased. Still, the times they did engage in sex were more meaningful and emotionally fulfilling. They found that focusing on quality helped maintain their intimate connection, even when they couldn't be as physically active as before.

Advice: It's beneficial for partners to communicate openly. This can help prevent misunderstandings about frequency and focus more on creating satisfying and intimate experiences. Scheduling intimacy, trying new activities together like sensual massage, and continually expressing affection in daily life can also enhance the quality of sexual and emotional connections within the relationship.

Myth #6: Sex Should Always Be Spontaneous

There's a widespread belief that sex should always be spontaneous and that planning it in advance undermines the excitement. Contrary to this belief, scheduling intimacy can enhance anticipation and excitement, ensuring both partners are mentally and physically prepared. This can be particularly helpful in long-term relationships where daily responsibilities and stress may leave little room for spontaneity.

Expert Insight: Dr. Laura Berman notes, "Planning sex doesn't have to mean it's less romantic or mechanical. It can build anticipation, making the experience more intense and enjoyable. Scheduled sex is also a way for couples to show commitment to maintaining their sexual relationship, which is vital for overall relationship health."7

Practical Tips:

Communicate Openly: Discuss with your partner the best times for both of you, considering your schedules and energy levels. This ensures that sex happens when both partners are most receptive.

Create a Romantic Environment: Plan special details like lighting, music, or a particular theme to set the mood. This can make the planned encounter feel more exciting and special.

Build Anticipation: Use texting or notes to build anticipation throughout the day or week before your scheduled time. This can turn anticipation into a form of foreplay.

Be Flexible: While having a schedule is good, remain flexible. If one partner isn't feeling up to it, be willing to adjust without pressure or disappointment.

Incorporate Variety: Keep things interesting by occasionally changing the routine. Try new locations, different times of day, or a "Naughty Game" for couples to keep the experiences fresh and engaging.

Myth #7: Sex Is Not Important as You Age

There is a common belief that as couples grow older, they lose interest in or the need for sexual intimacy. Contrary to this misconception, sexual desire does not necessarily diminish with age. Many older couples continue to enjoy a fulfilling sex life. The nature of sexual expression may change, but the importance of intimacy remains constant.

Expert Insights: Dr. Pepper Schwartz, a sociologist and author on aging and sexuality, emphasizes, "Age does not protect you from love, but love to some extent protects you from age."8 She highlights that older adults often continue to have strong sexual desires and can enjoy intimate relationships well into their later years. Research supports this, showing that many seniors report active and satisfying sex lives, which contribute significantly to their overall quality of life and emotional well-being.

Additional Expert Quote: The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) reports that: "Two-thirds of people aged 65 and older say that sexual activity is a critical part of a good relationship, with 60% agreeing that it is crucial for their overall quality of life".9


Adapt and Explore: Be willing to adapt sexual activities to accommodate physical comfort and health conditions. Exploring different forms of intimacy, like touching, kissing, and other non-penetrative acts, can also be deeply fulfilling.

Stay Informed: Keep informed about sexual health as it pertains to aging. Understanding the physical changes that occur can help manage expectations and adaptations.

Prioritize Intimacy: Continue to prioritize intimacy, regardless of age. This might mean scheduling time for intimacy or finding new ways to connect emotionally and physically.

couple laying in bed, the woman is on top, both are looking at each other and smiling

Myth #8: Only Young Couples Try New Things in Bed

There's an assumption that sexual experimentation is reserved for young couples or those in new relationships. In fact, couples at any age or stage of their relationship can and should explore new dimensions of their sexuality. Experimentation can rekindle excitement, deepen intimacy, and enhance overall relationship satisfaction, no matter how long partners have been together.

Expert Insight: Dr. Ruth Westheimer, a well-known sex therapist, often emphasizes that sexual curiosity doesn't wane with age. She argues, "It's never too late to spice up your relationship with some new ideas. Experimentation isn't just for the young; it's for the young at heart."10 She encourages couples to keep their sexual relationship dynamic and engaging, regardless of their age or the length of the relationship.

Practical Advice:

Communicate Openly and Honestly: Before trying anything new, discuss boundaries, and any concerns you might have. Effective communication ensures that both partners feel safe and respected.

Start Small: If you're new to experimenting, start with minor changes. This could be anything from trying a new position to incorporating Sensual Pleasure Ties in your foreplay.

Educate Yourselves: Research together about different practices that interest you both. Understanding the how-to, safety, and potential benefits can make the process more engaging and less daunting.

Use Reliable Resources: When looking into new activities, especially if they involve BDSM or other more advanced sexual practices, rely on credible resources that can offer guidance and instruction.

Check-in Regularly: Discuss what you liked or didn't like about the experience after trying something new. Regular check-ins help you refine your preferences and ensure ongoing consent and comfort.

Myth #9: Good Sex Must Be Intense and Earth-Shattering

There's a prevalent belief that for sex to be considered good, it must always be intense and result in earth-shattering climaxes. In truth, sexual encounters can be deeply satisfying and intimate even when they are gentle, quiet, or subdued. Good sex is not defined by the level of intensity but by the connection, satisfaction, and comfort that both partners feel during and after the experience.

Couples' Insights: Many couples find that their most memorable sexual experiences often involve moments of deep emotional connection rather than dramatic physical performances. One couple shared, "Some of our best moments together aren't the wild nights but the quiet mornings where our intimacy is really about being present with each other, expressing our love and affection in gentle ways."

Expert Insight: Dr. Emily Nagoski, author of "Come As You Are," suggests redefining what successful sexual encounters look like. She states, "Good sex isn't about achieving a particular outcome like an orgasm. It's about the experience of pleasure and connection. The best sexual experiences are those where you feel completely attuned to your partner's needs as well as your own."11

Practical Advice:

Focus on the Journey, Not the Destination: Shift the focus from goal-oriented sex to a more holistic view where the journey itself is the pleasure. This includes foreplay, emotional intimacy, and the shared vulnerability of being together.

Explore Sensual Touch: Experiment with different types of touch, such as light caresses, massage, or simply holding each other, to enhance emotional and physical connection.

Create a Relaxing Environment: Create a relaxing atmosphere that encourages slow and gentle exploration. Soft music, dim lighting, and comfortable bedding create a nurturing space conducive to gentle intimacy.

Practice Mindfulness: Being fully present during sexual activity can enhance the experience, making even subtle sensations more profound and satisfying.

Myth #10: Sexual Issues Are Too Embarrassing to Discuss with a Professional

There's a pervasive stigma that talking about sexual problems with a professional is embarrassing or somehow an admission of failure in a relationship.

In fact, many sexual challenges are pretty common and can be effectively addressed with professional guidance. Seeking help from a sex therapist or counselor is a proactive step towards improving both your sexual health and your relationship.

Expert Insight: Dr. Megan Fleming, a clinical psychologist specializing in sex therapy and relationships, emphasizes, "Sexual issues are as common as any other health concern, and consulting a professional is a wise and healthy decision, not a mark of shame. Therapists are trained to handle these issues sensitively and confidentially, helping you explore solutions in a safe environment."12

Encouragement: It's important to normalize the process of seeking help. Just as you would see a doctor for a physical ailment, consulting a professional for sexual difficulties is a responsible and caring act for yourself and your relationship.

joyful couple's naughty game for couples on red background with splashing elements surrounding the game

Joyful Couple Game to Improve Intimacy

Joyful Couple has the perfect tool to deepen your emotional connection with the Romantic Game, add a little excitement with the Naughty Game, or explore new conversational depths with Life Conversations.

Each game is designed to enhance intimacy, encourage open dialogue, and bring fun into the heart of your relationship. Dive into heartfelt discussions or spicy explorations and discover each other all over again. It's time to play, connect, and grow closer than ever before with Joyful Couple's innovative relationship enhancers!


Throughout this exploration, we've debunked several common misconceptions about intimacy in long-term relationships, shedding light on the realities that shape our sexual experiences. From recognizing that love alone doesn't simplify sex to understanding the importance of lubrication, condoms, and open discussions about desires, we hope you feel more equipped to navigate the complexities of intimacy with confidence.

As we conclude, we encourage you to approach your intimate life with an open mind and an open heart. Honest communication with your partner is the key to enhancing your connection and enjoying a fulfilling sexual relationship.

We invite you to share your own experiences and insights in the comments below. How have you overcome these common myths in your relationship?

And as always, feel free to read other relationship tips and look around our store to find some thoughtful and sexy gifts for couples.

close up of a woman being held by a man in a playful way, the couple is standing outside, a lake is seen in the background

FAQ Section:

1. How often should couples have sex to maintain a healthy relationship?

There's no one-size-fits-all answer to how often couples should have sex. What's more important than frequency is the quality of the sexual encounters and the satisfaction both partners feel. Communication is key. Discussing and understanding each other's needs can help you find a rhythm that works for both of you, ensuring that sex remains a positive and fulfilling part of your relationship.

2. Is it normal to need lubricant even if I'm aroused?

Absolutely! Needing lubricant is quite common and doesn't necessarily reflect your level of arousal. Medication, hormonal changes, and overall health can affect natural lubrication. Using a water-based lubricant can enhance comfort and pleasure for both partners, making it a great addition to any sexual encounter.

3. Can we improve our sex life by scheduling sex?

Scheduling sex can be a very effective way to improve your intimate life, especially in long-term relationships where spontaneity might wane due to life's many responsibilities. Planning intimacy can increase anticipation, giving both partners something to look forward to. It also ensures that you make time for each other, which can help maintain a solid physical connection.

4. What should I do if my partner and I have different sexual needs?

Having different sexual needs is common among couples. The key to harmonizing these differences lies in open and honest communication. Discuss your desires and boundaries, and be willing to compromise where possible. Sometimes, exploring new activities together or seeking advice from a sex therapist can provide new ways to satisfy both partners' needs.


 1. The Gottman Institute,

2. Dr. Laura Berman,



5. David L. Rowland, Julia A. Kneusel, Katelyn R. Bacys, Benjamin D. Hamilton, Zainab Bhutto & Zainab Zadeh. (2021) The Role of Orgasmic Difficulty in Attributing Cause for Positive and Negative Sexual Outcomes in Women: The Importance of Cross-Cultural AnalysesJournal of Sex & Marital Therapy 47:4, pages 368-380.



8. Sex & Aging — With Dr. Pepper Schwartz

9. Ageless Desire: Relationships and Sex in Middle Age and Beyond,

10. Dr. Ruth's 7 Tips for Spicing Up Your Love Life,


12. What to Do When Your Sex Drives Don't Match Up, According to Sex Expert Megan Fleming,

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