Even Algorithms Think There’s a Problem with Sex After Marriage
It seems that everyone has an opinion about sex after marriage, and some of the loudest ones give a negative impression. Comedians (especially straight men it seems) would have you believe it simply disappears. Recently, I learned that even the images from stock photo sites point to a problem. When I searched the term “sex” here’s the first image that displayed:
Putting aside that all the images on the first page were straight white couples (a whole other issue with stock photo sites), sex looks very appealing. Although you can’t see much in the picture above, you have the feeling that it happened and that it was good.
Now, search the words “sex, marriage” and THIS is the first image that’s displayed:
I see this and think, not only are they not having sex, but they’re disappointed and maybe even angry about it. This is not the look of a one-time situation, it gives you the sense that there’s a pattern. Both people are unfilled sexually and probably emotionally too.
Fortunately, although the stock photo algorithms might think otherwise, the evidence tells us that married sex IS happening, and that it’s quite fulfilling, thank you very much. However, years after marriage there will likely be a decrease in the amount of sex most couples are having. The problem is many people scapegoat the institution of marriage as if it’s responsible for that change. What people often fail to acknowledge is the other factors that contribute to a reduction in sex such as having children, an increase in responsibilities at work, and good old-fashioned aging. For research nerds, think correlation not causation.
Another point to remember is a decrease in frequency does not necessarily result in sexual dissatisfaction. Over time, many married people experience an increase in the quality of their sex lives. Greater trust and comfort allows some couples to break down sexual barriers they may have had while dating. Some people attribute a higher level of satisfaction to having a partner who has had the time (and willingness) to learn their likes and dislikes. So, if you’re concerned about a decline in frequency, it may help take the focus off your marital status and put it on improving the quality of the sex you’re currently having. If sex is particularly satisfying for both partners, it's reasonable to expect that each of you will want to have more of it.