In 2015, PR News Wire reported that people in the U.S spent more than Nine Billion Dollars on the self-improvement industry; motivational books, self-improvement guides, online tutorials, therapy- just anything geared towards personal improvement.

Other than raising lots of questions on our sense of self-sufficiency, it was clear that people had issues – lots of them. Two years later, a Men’s Journal in the UK reported that 83% of married couples experienced a significant disinterest in their partners year after year. So how are these two figures related?

In an article published by Your Tango, the author talks about how couples eventually run out of fun ideas within the first few years of marriage, and as time goes by, it becomes harder and boring to cope with each other, both sexually and emotionally.

Waithera Otieno, a Relationships Expert in Nairobi shares her experience, as a counselor, in view of this issue. “Many couples in long-term relationships go through eight stages of intimacy, and each phase in the relationship almost always has a lesson to be learnt.”

Here are the eight stages of intimate life for long-term couples.

The Lusty Phase

When you first fall in love, sex is hardly ever off the table. The feelings are intense and all you want to do is explore the heights of your eroticism. The anticipation of sexuality is strong and your intimate life can accurately be summarized as lust. During lovemaking, you enjoy the warm physical connection you both share and the result is a happy, fun, and stress-free relationship. Most couples rarely have fights during this phase.

The Cuddly Phase

After 18-30 months, the passionate lusty emotions grow deeper and develop into a tight bond. You enjoy the affectionate time you spend together and the undeniable love you so deeply share. However, your libido stabilizes to near normal levels and there is less emphasis on the mind-blowing sex. Most couples in this phase will likely take the next bold step to admit that they are in love.

The Power Struggle

At this stage, couples are faced with the challenge of deciding who the boss is. Arguments come and go, and this is usually the onset of a real relationship – no sugarcoating, just two real people being real with each other. Sometimes, sex is used as a weapon, to either punish or reward. Most couples have lots fights in this stage, and while some manage to get past through it, some can’t handle the pressure. If the power struggle is too much, cheating in the relationship creeps in and your sex life suffers. Read Stupid Excuses People Give for Cheating Today

The Reality Check phase

Somewhere along the relationship, you realize that your partner can’t be everything. You become more independent of each other, looking outside of the relationship to satisfy unmet needs. The fights and arguments are toned down at this stage, but only because most partners hardly care anymore. If something is not working in the relationship, rather than discussing it, you both want to look for solutions outside the relationship. Chances of cheating in the relationship increase and most couples separate at this stage. Read Is She Cheating? Watch out for these Clear Signs

The Responsibility Phase

Other important roles and responsibilities, such as parenthood, bills, and demanding careers come into play (Read Money: Experts Review on Financial Goals for Couples) You hardly have time for each other and when you spend time together, it’s usually for explicit reasons. Your relationship at this stage is generally stable, but for the wrong reasons. You are more goal-oriented and for the first time in your relationship, you are ready to forego your individual needs and work together to build on something. Most couples in this stage forget about sex entirely.

The Functional Phase

Your relationship has moved from fun to functional. You are together more out of safety, familiarity and as life partners, rather than sex and romance. You occasionally have maintenance sex out of physical need and habit, rather than passion and desire. You may (and probably will) find this stage boring. However, with just a few sexual improvement tricks, you can bring back some excitement to the relationship. Read Get The Sex You Really Want.

The Crispy Phase

Your relationship has come a long way, but for the most part, you were both lost in other pressing affairs, such as paying bills, raising your kids, building a home, etc. But now, you are free again. Your children are old enough to leave home and for the first time in a long time, your life as a couple is stress-free. In the crispy face, couples have the chance to renew their relationships and start all over. You may fall in love again as you rediscover each other. The quality of your sex sessions becomes mind-blowing than ever.

The “In love Again Phase

In old age, after experiencing life’s highs and lows, you sex sessions become slow but satisfying and sensual. You enjoy the snuggles and cuddles again, and at this point, you can safely say that you made it as a successful couple.

Talk about finding The One.

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