couple making heart with hands
couple making heart with hands

The 7 Year Itch and How It Affects Sexual Health

The seven-year itch is something that occurs naturally in every relationship that is long-standing. It means the couple is absolutely normal; however, how it’s handled is another question. The actions of the couple will determine the outcome of the relationship.

What is the 7 Year Itch?

Back in the day (pre-baby boomer to within the baby boomer era) we heard the coined phrase “7-year itch”. This reflects the time period when a couple has been together, married or not for 7 years.  Biologically, it has been found that we are only going to have those “in love” chemicals roaming around the body for about a year and things start to taper-off within the 3-year cycle. This has a lot to do with procreation and gene distribution.  Once that job is done, whether you have children or not—you’re done with the need for those love-like chemicals.

And here’s another bomb to drop on you. The 7-year itch, according to recent research is off by 3 years. This starts to happen by year 4. In cultures other than Western societies, the couple stayed together until the kids were out of toddler age. Then, if they wanted to mate with others, they could do so without guilt or shame. We don’t think there was much to do with jealousy and possessiveness because this was something that was accepted from the time they are children, much like it was accepted that you had a mom and a dad your whole life that stayed together in this culture. This came about mostly due to our religious beliefs.

We aren’t here to say that either way of living is right or wrong—but, it’s not one way or the other. You can choose what type of relationship you choose to have without remorse. Our culture; however, will tend to shame others for being different, this is the issue.

What does this do for sexual health in our society?

Sexual health has a lot to do with our mental and physical health as a whole. If you think a bit deeper, there is a lot of stress that comes from the 7 year or 4-year itch when it drops on you. It is phenomenon that you don’t really see coming. It’s like the boiling frog effect. If you place a frog in a pot of boiling water, it doesn’t know it’s boiling until it’s too late.

The snowball that this creates is that of paranoid suspicion that maybe there is something wrong with you or that your partner is growing away from you or even cheating.  It’s a slippery-slope to say the least. Sometimes this is the cause of things like the variety of sexual dysfunctions out there. When this happens, the other partner starts to feel unattractive.

The7 year itch is the time where divorce can occur. Once the conversation has been had where the ‘D’ word has been mentioned—it’s typically down-hill from there.

How to effectively scratch the 7-year itch

We will say that it’s easy to see when you’ve read an article like this one. Below, we’ll list some of the tell-tale signs that you or your partner or both are experiencing the 7-year itch which as you know now can start in year 4.  

There is one disclaimer though. This does not mean you need to get paranoid or start fights or accuse anyone of anything. In the next post of this two-part series we will give you tips on how to talk to your partner in different situations. This is very important. So, right after this, get on to part two and print it out if you have to.

  • Your partner is not having sex as much as they used to, or you are not as interested.  Make sure you rule out menopause or pre-menopause as a factor as well as medications and depression.
  • You or your partner are not doing the things you used to enjoy with each other. Make sure you rule out legitimate things, like work or something new that’s going on that would take you or them away.
  • You or your partner are entertaining the thought of straying with someone else. This is where a delicate approach is needed.
  • You and your partner seem happy enough with no real drama but are very much in a rut.

These are the main signs that should be pretty consistent throughout without much change. Keep in mind that these things can mean other situations may be involved. Go to part two for how you can handle this effectively.

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