Our culture worships the gods of youth and eternal happiness. If we could bottle and merchandize the elixir of youth, most people in the Western world would purchase it no matter the price. We extol the blemish-and-wrinkle-free face and lay ourselves prostrate at the feet of the toned body. A full head of luxurious hair is enough to sell cars.

When it comes to relationships, the culture sends the message that, like a rose, love and passion fade with time, and if you’re lucky enough to remain married into the middle years, that’s great, but you can pretty much expect to say goodbye to your sex life. The culture sends the clear message that to quell the pit of emptiness and meaningless that often enters at midlife, you’ll need to leave the marriage and go out to find the new and shiny version. Older couples might be sweet, but sexy? Not according to the cultural depiction.

However, marriages based on real love, real sex, and real attraction tell a vastly different story.

When marriage is based on essence-to-essence love, when you learn to love each other well over decades, when you realize that your partner isn’t the sole source of your aliveness, and when you learn and practice the specific Love Laws and Loving Actions that shrink fear and grow love, attraction grows, and you see that aging together is sexy.

What did I just say? I’ll say it again.

Aging together is sexy.
Here’s an example of how it shows up in our marriage:

A few weeks ago, I came home with my first pair of reading glasses. When my husband saw me in the hallway wearing them, he smiled broadly, then pulled me into his arms and said, “You’re so sexy.” It’s the same way I feel about him when he wears his glasses.

I feel blessed beyond words that I’m with a man who thinks I’m sexy wearing reading glasses. But let me make it clear that, because my husband loves my essence, I could probably be wearing a sock on my head and he would find it sexy. When I see him in his studio working on his art or in our son’s room reading to him at night, the sight of him melts my heart. The glasses are cute, but it’s his essence, his commitment, his devotion, his artistic soul that I loved from the beginning that opens me wide and draws me to him.

Here are some other hidden sexy secrets in marriage:

Weathering the storms of life together is sexy.
The sexiness is in knowing that we have each other’s back, that we’ve endured hard times together and come out the other side. There are times when I look at my husband and am in awe of what we have walked through. Co-parenting alone deserves a medal!

I often think back to our early days when we were younger and had less gray hair, the days before reading glasses and stretch marks caused by bearing, birthing and nursing two children, and I wouldn’t wish us back there for the world. Did we even know each other back then? We thought we did, but it’s nothing compared to the rich, multi-textured, nuanced knowing that can only come from years and years of partnership.

A secure bond is sexy.
Science now proves what passionate couples have always known: it’s connection that creates a great sex life, and connection comes from feeling safe and secure in your relationship. Sexiness isn’t about the right lingerie or positions or spicing it up or any of the other gimmicks and fads that the culture splashes across magazine covers. Sexiness is rooted in true connection, which, as Sue Johnson teaches in Hold Me Tight, is rooted in learning to be vulnerable with one another. This takes years, and often requires the assistance of an EFT couples therapist, but it’s worth every ounce of effort to forge the safe bond that opens us to each other.

In short, it’s really time we redefine sexy. Like with nearly every aspect of love and relationships, our culture has it all wrong.

As I’ve shared many times on this site, if I had let the fear-flames engulf my heart all those years ago, I would never be here today, in the middle of our middle years together standing in the garden of our marriage, which is in full bloom and will only continue to flower. If I hadn’t leaned the tools and skills – the Love Laws and Loving Actions that I teach in Open Your Heart: A 30-day course to feel more love and attraction for your partner, our boys wouldn’t be thriving in this garden. If I had allowed fear to rule, I would have missed this extraordinary opportunity to learn how to give and receive love.

My husband and I are far from alone. There are thousands of couples who have gone through my courses and millions of others who have sought other sources of support to help weather the storms of marriage who love each other with a richness that only comes with time and learning to love well. You don’t hear of these stories very often because our news runs on a fear-and-shock cycle where we’re conditioned to believe that real love doesn’t sell. It’s a lie. Real love exists. You have to learn it and earn it, but it exists.

I look forward to meeting you at the next round of Open Your Heart, which will begin on August 4, 2019, where we will walk this road from fear to love… together.

Author's Bio: 

Sheryl Paul, M.A., has counseled thousands of people worldwide through her private practice, her bestselling books, her e-courses and her website. She has appeared several times on "The Oprah Winfrey Show", as well as on "Good Morning America" and other top media shows and publications around the globe. To sign up for her free 78-page eBook, "Conscious Transitions: The 7 Most Common (and Traumatic) Life Changes", visit her website at http://conscious-transitions.com. And if you're suffering from relationship anxiety – whether single, dating, engaged, or married – give yourself the gift of her popular eCourse