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Dealing with bedroom boredom
June 2nd, 2011
08:12 AM ET

Dealing with bedroom boredom

Ian Kerner, a sexuality counselor and New York Times best-selling author, blogs about sex on Thursdays on The Chart. Read more from him at his website, GoodInBed.

In my experience as a sexuality counselor and founder of GoodinBed.com, roughly 25% of people are significantly bored in their relationships and another 25% are somewhat bored.

Of course it stands to reason that life can’t always be filled with fireworks and that a little bit of boredom every now and then is only to be expected. But what about when a general sense of malaise settles in - when you’re not necessarily unhappy in your relationship, but you’re not particularly excited either?

Relationship boredom may not be dramatic, but it can be dangerous if left unattended.

Boredom is like an attack on a relationship’s immunity system - once weakened we’re all the more susceptible to a cascade of ailments.

For example, it’s estimated that 25% of people who cheat do so due to boredom, and people who are bored in their relationships are also more vulnerable to emotional infidelity as well. Human beings are innate novelty-seekers, and our brains’ reward systems are wired to seek out new experiences. If we can’t get our thrills from within our relationships, then we’ll seek them without.

Professor Arthur Aron at Stony Brook University has spent a lifetime studying the science of marital satisfaction and has observed that novelty stimulates the transmission of dopamine and norepinephrine - two neurotransmitters that also play a key role in the exhilaration of early romantic love.

According to Aron’s research those couples in long term relationships that make a conscious effort to do exciting things together end up having a higher degree of marital satisfaction than those couples who just do pleasant and familiar things together. In essence, we can tap our brain’s “romantic love” system to stave off relationship boredom.

While many people tend to blame their partners for their relationship boredom, it turns out that those individuals who are bored in their current relationships were often bored in previous relationships.

So relationship boredom may have less to do with the person we’re with than the person we are. That’s why it’s so important to maintain your individuality in your relationship. From your career, to your friends, to maintaining your own personal passions and interests, being part of a strong couple requires being a strong individual.

As we discussed earlier, it’s important to keep things fresh outside the bedroom, but it’s also important to try new things in the bedroom.

At Good in Bed, we’ve found that the majority of people who express being bored in their relationships are also entirely interested in trying something new in the bedroom to combat boredom. Start with sharing a fantasy, and if you need some help jump-starting the excitement check out our book "52 Weeks of Amazing Sex," in which we offer a different creative scenario for every week of the year.

Sure there’s a time and place for “comfort sex,” but, again, marital contentment seems to favor those couples who make an effort to do exciting activities together versus just pleasant activities.

At the end of the day, it's easy to feel like there's nothing new under the sun to possibly talk about with your partner. But when you're feeling this way - nodding and half-listening, with no real interest in how your partner's day went - it’s a good sign that relationship boredom is settling in and that you need to shake things up.

Don’t wait for boredom to develop into a bigger drama, instead start creating a little drama with your partner.

Check out these options for your mediocre marriage from CNN.com.


soundoff (46 Responses)
  1. AGuest9

    Aha. They are selling a book. Anyway, with someone who looks like she does, no wonder he's surfing p0rn, or checking the score of the Lakers game, in bed.

    June 2, 2011 at 09:11 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Valerie

      If one doesn't like the way their partner looks, whose fault is that, really?

      Just wondering.........

      June 2, 2011 at 09:29 | Report abuse |
    • Mikey

      I'd hit that.

      June 2, 2011 at 10:57 | Report abuse |
    • ali

      You're accusing her of being unattractive? Did you completely miss his mullet?

      June 2, 2011 at 12:47 | Report abuse |
    • Johnny

      Are you referring to the girl in the picture? I don't know what standards you have, but she is very hot!

      June 2, 2011 at 13:55 | Report abuse |
    • oneHigginsD@hotmail.com

      Those of us who LIKE Women find the one in this picture very attractive.

      June 2, 2011 at 21:52 | Report abuse |
  2. Randy Newman

    Leave your hat on.

    June 2, 2011 at 09:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Bubba

    Here we go again with everyone fantasizing about my wife.

    June 2, 2011 at 09:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Brad Pitt

    Angelina reads in bed these days.

    June 2, 2011 at 09:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Bubs

    Thanks for the sneaky advertisement. I'm running to the bookstore right now. Right.

    June 2, 2011 at 09:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Jennifer

    women get just as bored in bed as men

    June 2, 2011 at 10:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Just a Dog

    I'm not bored...just greddy. Need it everyday.

    June 2, 2011 at 11:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Tom

    Boredom is not the fault of the partner. It is a character flaw in the person who is bored. Either they chose the wrong person prematurely and cannot admit the failure of the choosing process, or they will get bored with anyone eventually. Probably the latter.

    June 2, 2011 at 11:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Girl in the picture

    Im not wearing any panties and he's playing Everquest....

    June 2, 2011 at 11:43 | Report abuse | Reply
    • yum

      Phone number please!

      June 2, 2011 at 13:40 | Report abuse |
    • Sue

      Yep. Been there.

      June 2, 2011 at 14:47 | Report abuse |
  10. erich2112x

    Couple of beers and a J, some snacks, turn on the TV, and your set.

    June 2, 2011 at 11:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. J_Koz

    with lips like those you'd think she'd be good to go – maybe a blindfold and some velvet ties.

    He looks clueless – self absorbed and hopeless. But hey – more for me.

    June 2, 2011 at 12:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Jorge

    Maybe they've been eating too much American processed supermarket crap or fast-food shmeat and their hormone levels have creaked. If so, in a few more years she'll be 300 lbs. riding around in one of the handicap hoverounds at Walmart and he'll be collecting guns and taking Avandia just so he can pee standing up.

    June 2, 2011 at 14:26 | Report abuse | Reply
    • ser

      beautifully stated.....

      June 2, 2011 at 14:37 | Report abuse |
    • Adiemus

      That was priceless.

      June 2, 2011 at 16:36 | Report abuse |
    • erich2112x

      Logical but bitter, and certainly funny as h-ll.

      June 2, 2011 at 18:59 | Report abuse |
  13. Schmendrick the Magician

    Vodka/redbull And anal beads always make for an interesting evening

    June 2, 2011 at 15:20 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jorge

      You forgot the EKG electrode cream, soldered pennies and toy train transformer...

      June 3, 2011 at 12:07 | Report abuse |
  14. wndz

    I believe women should never denied themselfs to their husbands unless very very ill and same thing with husbands. If he ask me for it is all his...lol

    June 2, 2011 at 15:31 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Ron

      Why should he or she have to ask for it. After being a couple for a while the other partner should be able to decipher the littles clues that show the the lights are on on the run way. For most men the lights are always on or it doesn't take much to get them lit. So for all those couples out there stop waiting around for your partner to ask for it.

      June 2, 2011 at 21:34 | Report abuse |
  15. ?mark

    Threes Company MFF

    June 2, 2011 at 17:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Zingo

    Oh please. Life isn't a carnival everyday. How immature to think that it is.

    June 2, 2011 at 17:29 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Stuart

      It is if you are a carny!

      June 2, 2011 at 18:28 | Report abuse |
  17. Finger this out

    Open marriage will cure all these ills. A spouse swap party (whose house key do you have?)

    June 2, 2011 at 21:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. danew

    Some times i feel she's giveing up with life all together . . { what can i do a stop the giult feelings }.

    June 2, 2011 at 22:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Paul

    married 40 plus years and about 28 years without and thats when I got bored with the wife.

    June 2, 2011 at 22:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. DrVonBrain

    The ultimate way to combat boredom is to do away with monogamy (read "monotony"). Wouldn't that be great if you could just walk up to someone new each day (say at work) and simply say "Hey...want to get it on tonight?"

    June 2, 2011 at 22:45 | Report abuse | Reply
    • myveiw

      That would work if you had no morals or concious. Whoops You don't!

      June 2, 2011 at 23:09 | Report abuse |
  21. pauly d

    DrVonBrain, dats what im talkin bout! yea boi! cabs r here!

    June 3, 2011 at 00:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Happy Wife

    We were bored until my husband brought home some circus midgets, a midget gang bang is what was missing in my life ;)

    June 3, 2011 at 00:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. pauly d

    Myveiw, or should i say Sammi, Go Home!

    June 3, 2011 at 00:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. flubba

    Taking the advice of glib assessments on romance can kill your love life. Want to find out more? Read my book about it.

    June 3, 2011 at 01:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. verch

    By 2034 it is expected that the marriage rate will reduce itself to 0%. The problem of marital boredom will then go away.

    June 3, 2011 at 08:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Takhomasak

    Marriage, the dumbest mistake I ever made. Don't do it. No seriously, DON"T DO IT. Just do a internet search on “marriage” and “boredom” and you see a recurring trend that is rarely correctable. You have to have two willing parties and the "bored" person has already checked out. Their gone. Not coming back. You just wasted the period in your life that you could have been finically secure and for the most part young and healthy. The time that you figured out you made a bad decision your spouse has ran your finance into the ground and wasted 5-10 years of your life filled with darkness and resentment.

    I just saved you 19.95 + tax on a sh**y book that tells you to spend more time with someone who can give 2 freaks about you.
    Seriously, don't get married.

    June 3, 2011 at 10:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    • cs86

      Sorry, been married over 20 years and still love giving my husband oral!

      June 3, 2011 at 20:11 | Report abuse |
  27. joe

    Then try oral. You just can't go wrong with oral especially if she likes to swallow. And if that doesn't work, then try OJ. I mean call OJ.

    June 3, 2011 at 12:15 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Takhomasak

      You must not be married. Married chicks don't give oral unless you pay them some how.

      June 3, 2011 at 14:59 | Report abuse |
  28. lag2326

    sorry, Takhomasak..im married and give oral whenever he wants it..no pay..

    June 12, 2011 at 12:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Bubblicious

    No wonder. She's bored. He's got a platinum Macbook Pro!

    June 13, 2011 at 20:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Mr. Fix it

    PLEASE DON'T READ THIS YOU WILL GET KISSED ON THE NEAREST FRIDAY BY THE LOVE OF YOUR LIFE.TOMORROW WILL BE THE BEST DAY OF YOUR LIFE.HOWEVER IF YOU DON'T POST THIS COMMENT TO AT LEAST 3 POSTS YOU WILL DIE WITHIN 2 DAYS.NOW YOU STARTED READING THIS DON'T STOP THIS IS SO SCARY.SEND THIS OVER TO 5 POSTS IN 143 MINUTES.WHEN YOUR'E DONE PRESS F6 AND YOUR CRUSHES NAME WILL APPEAR ON THE SCREEN IN BIG LETTERS.THIS IS SO SCARY CAUSE IT ACTUALLY WORKS!!!!

    Read more: How to Have a Simultaneous Orgasm – How to Climax at the Same Time – Cosmopolitan

    June 30, 2011 at 13:34 | Report abuse | Reply

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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.