Ask Layla

Ask Layla: My partner and I are already falling into the same pattern of sex, should I be worried?

Sometimes, our deep friendship chemistry can actually hinder desire, as excessive familiarity can lead to emotional fusion


I am in my 40s and after a tough separation I have met someone loving and kind. We have a really good connection, great fun, and enjoy each other's company so much. Our families also get on, and there is a definite sense of having reached a place of real maturity with a partner. That said, our sexual relationship, after a year, is already slipping into something of a pattern. He is a good lover, kind and attentive and puts my needs first which I really appreciate, but sex together follows the same kind of routine often.

At this point in my life, I know enough about connections to know that physical fireworks aren’t everything, and I have found in the past that relationships with the most physical chemistry have often been the most difficult or insecure. I love my partner, and really appreciate the kind of security I feel which has also been difficult to find. I am concerned though that at this early stage if we are falling into a pattern physically eventually we run the risk of it becoming boring and then losing interest. I’ve had experiences in the past which were more experimental and exciting, and while I know that’s not the measure of everything, as I get older I do still want a fulfilling sexual life as I think it's an important part of a healthy life in general.

My question is, do I open up to my partner about my concerns in the hope that we might change things up a bit? I’ve tried to mix things up before and it doesn’t seem to work for him so I have essentially stopped trying to change what we do.


Sexuality is multifaceted, and while it would be nice to have a magic fix to reignite the spark, it's not that simple. Merely changing things up in the bedroom only sometimes creates the excitement we want. Sometimes, our deep friendship chemistry can actually hinder desire, as excessive familiarity can lead to emotional fusion. To see our partner as a desired object, we need some psychological space. Conflict, albeit within reason, can create individuation, helping us see our partner as a unique individual rather than just a familiar friend. Desire entails the freedom to indulge in fantasy and self-focus within a relationship, without feeling responsible for our partner.

Emotional fusion, where couples feel emotionally entwined, can stem from a need for validation or fear of rejection. This is why naming the issue is essential, though it should be approached respectfully, perhaps with a touch of humour to ease the tension. Ignoring these issues early on could spell trouble for your future together. This is why initiating a conversation about preferences and fantasies could give you both insight into each other's desires. Using the "Compliment Sandwich" technique, where constructive feedback is sandwiched between compliments, can be helpful.

Your partner could have different expectations regarding a fulfilling sex life, so you may have to adjust yours. While there are many positive aspects to your relationship, as priorities shift with time, it's essential to address issues openly. Finding a light-hearted moment to broach the subject can make it more approachable. The goal isn't just to solve the problem but to create an environment where discussing your sex life feels natural and prevents future resentments from building up.


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