“Man, have you seen a lady at night with a bonnet on? The most thirstiest dude wouldn’t get it up!” These are the words that fell upon the ears of over a million viewers from the lips of Todd Tucker during a confessional on Sunday night’s episode of The Real Housewives of Atlanta. Tucker, the newlywed husband of Bedroom Kandi creator and accomplished R&B star Kandi Burruss, vented his frustrations with the couple’s growing issues in the bedroom at the request of his wife’s desire to consult a counselor for their issues.

“I can’t believe Kandi wants me to go to marriage counseling. I know things in the bedroom have been a little tough for me and Kandi, but is it that extreme?” Tucker laments in his confessional. The couple was married in August of last year, and for Kandi, sex once a week is completely unacceptable.

For many viewers, these intimacy issues seem to be a bit premature in such an early stage of marriage. But studies have shown a decrease in sexual desire arises around or at the two-year mark of long-term relationships. We sit and watch these types of situations unfold between couples on various TV shows and, although some storylines are fictional and others staged, they represent real issues that a number of average couples face—often without remedy.

A few truths can be pulled from this situation between Kandi and Todd. But there are also solutions if each partner makes a commitment towards change. The truth may not be pretty, but it’s the only way to begin the process of rekindling flames of sexual desire that are on their way to being snuffed out completely.

Honey, You’ve Let Yourself Go

Physical attraction is the first thing that draws us to one to another, especially when it comes to sexual desire. During the dating stage, each person makes a conscious effort to put their best face (and bodies) forward to bait the mates they desire. But as time would have it, thanks to gravity, childbearing, overeating, stress, the natural aging process and just downright laziness, bodies tend to shift shape, and superficial maintenance begins to take a less important role in the dynamic of the relationship.

Love for one’s partner elicits acceptance of this downward spiral of physicality. But truth be told, this decline sometimes poses a problem, especially in the area of sexual attraction. Todd goes on record to say what many men are thinking in this situation: “Let’s be real. I’m not Tyson Beckford and you’re not Rihanna,” suggesting that neither partner has room to slip physically.  While this comment wasn’t favorable for Kandi to hear, it’s a reality for many men in relationships that are facing intimacy issues.

Let’s face it: looks matter. Having a partner who’s appealing to the eye is necessary to begin the arousal process. It can be tough for a woman to maintain “supermodel” looks while also juggling the responsibilities of being a mother, wife and career woman. But the fact of the matter is, there must be effort placed into maintaining the look that served as the bait from the courting stage.

It’s unrealistic to believe that any woman is going to be glammed up at all hours of the day. But by maintaining a healthy diet, incorporating at least 30 minutes of rigorous activity and investing time into her physical appearance, any woman can keep the eyes of her guy from wandering to greener pastures.

The same rules that apply to women in this situation also apply to men, of course. Understanding the importance of maintaining attractiveness, each partner should want to look good for the other.

I Was Working Late

If you don’t work, you don’t eat. With this fact in mind, millions make their way to respectable jobs daily to bring home the bacon. But bringing work home from the office or allowing the demands of the job to interfere with personal time can take a toll on a couple’s moments of intimacy.

In deflecting Kandi’s requests to seek counseling for their issues, Todd reverted back to speaking about business. “I don’t know why Todd is bringing up finances,” Kandi responded in her confessional. “It’s not like we’re hurting in our pockets around here.” Financial problems top the list of issues attributed to marital woes, and when the money isn’t right, nightly romps in the sack take a huge hit.

The stress that sets in as a result is a major killer of libido. But this can be avoided if each partner makes a commitment to leave work at the office and accept the things they can’t change about their finances in the moment. Work life and sex life should be kept completely separate from each other. This issue can be difficult for some to get through alone, and this is where speaking with a relationship coach or marriage counselor is beneficial to establishing solutions. Make a commitment to not allow the stresses of work and finances to put a strain on intimacy building and erotic expression; seek out professional mediation when necessary.

What Happened to That Tongue Trick?

When sex enters the courting stage, each partner pulls out all the stops to ensure his/her sexual performance goes on record as pleasurable and satisfying. This desire to be viewed as champion lovers sets the bar high for future experiences. But as the infatuation stage fades and reality sets in, sexual performance can begin to become more lax, resulting in a less than pleasurable bedroom experience.

“When’s the last time you didn’t have the bonnet on and you put some heels on?” Todd asked, venting his frustrations. Sometimes partners become lazy in the bedroom, leaving their spouses unfulfilled and dissatisfied. Never underestimate the importance of maintaining the sexual standards that were set at the beginning stage of the relationship.

Desire, passion and execution of skills can all change over time. But making the commitment to adjust as time progresses ensures each partner will remain on top of his/her game. Again, these instructions are for both male and female partners, because improvement is a mutual effort. Great sex begins with each partner having a desire to please the other.

Several other factors could serve as contributors towards the marital issues being experienced between Kandi and Todd, But relationships take work. While Kandi has the right idea to bring in a professional to help with finding solutions, it takes convincing for an unwilling partner to participate. Counseling and therapy generally aren’t often embraced within the African-American community as acceptable forms of conflict resolution, but it is time for the stigma placed around clinical advisement to be lifted.

When issues can’t be resolved internally, couples should seek outside help. In reality on and off television, relationships require diligent work, and that work requires more than the shifting of the blame on sleeping bonnets and failed business attempts. If aspects of your relationship are beginning to slip, it’s time to check in with self to determine what can be improved on your end to make the relationship better for the whole.

Glamazon Tyomi is a freelance writer, model and sex educator with a deeply rooted passion for spreading the message of sex positivity and encouraging the masses to embrace their sexuality. Her website, www.glamerotica101.com, reaches internationally as a source for advice and information for the sexually active/curious. Follow her on Twitter at @glamazontyomi.