Physical intimacy is an important component in marriage and long-term relationships. The reasons why a passionate marriage might dwindle into a sexless marriage vary widely. The first step in keeping passion alive over the long haul is to understand the roadblocks to emotional and physical intimacy.

In addition to the natural reduction of sexual desire and frequency that occurs in long-term marriages/relationships, there are other factors that may be contributing to a lackluster sex life.

Here are a few to consider:

~Hormonal changes associated with pre-menopause and menopause (it is estimated that one in four premenopausal women and one in three menopausal women struggle with low sexual desire)

~Low levels of testosterone (high testosterone levels are associated with heightened sexual desire in both men and women)

~Stress (the adverse effects of stress are well-documented and can easily dampen your interest in sex)

~Depression (low sexual desire is a common symptom of depression)

~Side effects of certain medications (including many anti-depressant medications, high blood pressure medications)

~Emotional conflicts over sexuality (I will be examining the power that negative attitudes about sex can have on relationships in future articles)

~Unresolved anger or resentment toward your partner

~Poor communication between you and your partner

~Sexual performance anxieties (common in men but also prevalent in women)

~Fatigue (caused by stress, a medical condition or insomnia)

~History of trauma (especially sexual abuse)

If you or your partner struggle with low sexual desire, it's always a good idea to rule out any possible medical causes as the primary cause of low libido. I've heard many stories of individuals and couples spending loads of money in marriage/couples counseling only to discover that a medical condition was the central cause of a lack of physical intimacy.

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To make passion and intimacy a regular part of your relationship, check out Dr. Nicastro's Passion, Sex and Intimacy workbook.

Author's Bio: 

Rich Nicastro, Ph.D. is a psychologist with over fifteen years experience helping couples build stronger relationships. Dr. Nicastro has appeared on television and radio and his relationship advice has been featured in many national magazines.