What If Our Sex Life is in a Rut?

Tasha Levert

The question:

My husband and I are stuck in a sex rut. We still have sex regularly, but it’s always the same. It’s like a routine with the same motions and moves. I’m a little bored, I think he’s bored. How do we find our passion anew?

Kudos to you and your husband for having sex regularly.

Ruts are part of life.

Endless are the articles published by check-out magazines and chick blogs promising rut-busting solutions guaranteed to drive your man wild, but I feel those articles fail to address the deeper struggle. A rut is not a dilemma or problem to be busted. A rut is the longing within that will not be ignored.

Addressing your rut in the bedroom could be as simple as wearing something that makes you feel beautiful, breaking up the routine, or trying something new. If this is you, then go for it. Talk to your husband about what you are feeling. Conversation starters could be:

  • I feel like we are falling into a routine in our lovemaking. Do you feel this way too? In what way?
  • I think I’m ready to try something new. Do you ever feel this way? What would you want to try?
  • I miss the way we used to be before we had kids, jobs and a mortgage. I miss getting to be spontaneous. What’s your favorite memory of us from when we were more spontaneous? How can we rediscover that part of ourselves in the midst of all this responsibility?

Or skip all the conversation, put on that thing that makes you feel pretty, get that man of yours, stop reading this article, and go bust that rut. For more on moving past the rut in your bedroom, read The Language of Sex by Dr. Gary Smalley and Ted Cunningham.

Need some practical things to try? I get that. I’m a mom too, and between the demands of my family’s schedule and sheer sleep deprivation, sometimes my creativity lacks. Try these fun tips to spice things up:

  • Revisit a sentimental setting or memory. Tip: One way to get this conversation started is to go through old photos.
  • Reclaim your bedroom. Clean your sheets. Remove all the clutter and/or laundry (even if it means shoving it under your bed). The goal is not to become a clean freak. Instead, by reclaiming your bedroom, you are reclaiming your marriage bed. Tip: My room always looks significantly cleaner if I turn off all the lights and light one tiny candle.
  • Send him a text or leave him a note about something you’d like to try or do that evening. Tip: If you plan on sending him a text, make sure he has turned off the option for his texts to preview on his home screen . . . or at least send a pre-text, “Are you alone?”
  • Create a night of romance that he would enjoy. Too often women fall into the trap of planning date nights that they enjoy, but spending a day thinking and planning about ways to show your husband how much you love him can be a great solution for taking you out of your funk. Tip: Planning a guy-friendly date night is distinctly different. Maybe it’s taking him to an arcade, ballgame, action movie, driving range (and letting him help you on your swing). For my husband, dude romance never involves ironed clothes or white table clothes.

For most people, however, it’s not that simple. Many of us don’t experience one rut at a time. If you’re bored with your sex life, you’re probably bored with other parts of your life as well.

The difficult part for many of us is knowing if we are simply experiencing a little rut, or if it’s a symptom of something much bigger. The easy part is overthinking it and talking in circles. Ask yourself a few questions to determine if your sex life needs a little jumpstart or if there’s something bigger to consider.

For most people, however, it’s not that simple. Many of us don’t experience one rut at a time. If you’re bored with your sex life, you’re probably bored with other parts of your life as well.

  • How’s your body? How is your health? I’m not talking about being super thin or getting back into those pre-baby jeans. I’m talking about wellness and nutrition. Breaking through a rut means taking care of yourself, eating food that restores your body, and being kind to the girl you see in the mirror. Listen to your body.
  • How’s your mind? How are you feeling? I’m not talking about feeling like you’re a got-it-all-together-super-mom. Does that girl even exist? I’m talking about facing your hurts and struggles so you can live a life of freedom. Listen to your mind. The energy it takes to pretend that nothing is wrong is way more exhausting than what it takes to do the work to move forward.
  • How’s your soul? Are you making space to breathe, listen and hear? I highly recommend Love Does by Bob Goff as a way to rekindle. (This book is my favorite.)

Ruts are often a whisper from a longing within.

Take a moment to pause, listen and think about what your rut is trying to tell you. If you’re like me and struggle with being still, use this to time to journal your thoughts and feelings about your rut. Writing down my thoughts helps me focus.

Still struggling? Consider talking to a close friend or counselor to help you unpack what your rut is trying to tell you.

For me, most of my ruts want me to be still, relax, take life less seriously, and laugh. A lot.

Let your rut become a hope-filled wakeup call to live fully, instead of making it a life sentence. Ruts are temporary. Hope is forever. Choose hope.

What questions do you have about marriage or sex? Because we want to answer them! We posted this answer to a popular, but not-often-talked-about, question about the female orgasm last year, and it became one of our top 20 posts of the year, so we know you’re thinking about ways to improve things in the bedroom with your husband.

Tasha Levert is an expert on female relationship needs and has her Ph.D. in marriage and family therapy. Plus, she’s witty and honest, and we love her. Send an email with your questions tomagazines@mops.org (yes, even the embarrassing ones), and we’ll start getting answers for the questions we’re all asking but don’t know who to ask.

Tasha Levert, Ph.D., is a licensed professional counselor in New Orleans who provides face-to-face and online care. She is a conference speaker, worship leader and the author of  Stories of Hope for the Sleep Deprived. Tasha and her husband Tim (Pastor with Students at the Vineyard Church of New Orleans) have three beautiful daughters and a lazy schnauzer named Gumbo. To find out more about Tasha or her practice go to tashalevert.com or broomtreecounseling.com.