So, your sex life seems to have taken a downward turn recently, and you’re not sure why.
It’s not uncommon for couples to go through dry spells or have less sex as time goes on, but what do you do about it?
Does it mean you don’t like each other any more? Should you break up?
The answers to those questions depend on whether you still love your partner in a physical as well as emotional sense – answers only you know.
If you do want to make things work but your sex life is non-existent, read on to see if any of the following sounds familiar.
We detail 10 reasons why you don’t have sex anymore, and give advice to address each reason.
1. You’re stressed.
We’re all stressed, right? But the symptoms that stress can cause, both mentally and physically, are hugely underrated.
Many of us have a habit of writing things off to stress and playing down the negative side effects it has on us, sometimes wearing stress as a badge of honor to show how much we’re doing.
But forever being stressed is not a good thing. Among the tolls it takes on us, one casualty can be your sex life.
Feeling distracted because you’re stressed will prevent you from getting in the right headspace to be intimate with your partner. With your head not in the game, it can inhibit you from getting physically turned on and make sex difficult and uncomfortable.
Check in with each other to see how you are doing mentally and if there are any pressures causing you or your partner to be more stressed than usual.
Learn how to compartmentalize. That is, create mental boundaries between whatever is stressing you out and your relationship. These boundaries will not only help you manage your stress levels, but help you to distance outside noise from your relationship and stop it affecting quality time with your partner.
For women, it can feel like a minefield out there trying to find the best option for contraception. There is no ‘one size fits all’ and many come with a variety of side effects that show themselves differently for each of us.
Unfortunately, one side effect from hormonal contraceptives can be an interference with your natural sex drive, either increasing it or inhibiting it.
The problem with hormonal contraceptives is their very nature. They are designed to change the balance of the reproductive hormones in our body to prevent us going through the natural menstrual process.
Different hormonal contraceptives use different levels of estrogen and progesterone and varying types of man-made chemical versions of these hormones. No one can say exactly how you’ll react before you try them, so it’s about finding the right fit for you.
It’s not just a change in your sex drive to watch out for. Some contraceptives can cause weight gain and lower your self-esteem, whilst others can make you highly emotional – none of which helps you get in the mood with your partner.
If you’ve noticed significant changes in your behavior recently, speak to your partner to see if they’ve noticed, too, and think about whether it correlates with a change in your contraceptive.
If you are concerned your contraceptive could be having a negative effect on you, seek medical advice to see if there might be one more suited to your body.
Contraception can also be a problem for some men. Very few men actually prefer the sensation of a condom, but it can be a necessity. And yet, using one can be the stuff of nightmares for some.
The inevitable pause in proceedings, the fiddling around trying to rip open the packet, and actually putting it on – these can all contribute to anxiety that leads to the loss of arousal.
And if there is anxiety around not performing, it might mean that you simply don’t initiate sex because you’re so worried about that moment.
This problem is something you can try to address in a few ways.
Firstly, try different brands and varieties of condom as you may find some easier to put on than others.
Secondly, consider asking your partner if they will put it on – this can be a part of foreplay and keep the sexual vibes going.
Lastly, practice putting one on by yourself. There is no shame in using whatever means necessary to get yourself aroused and then just getting to grips – literally – with the process of putting it on. There is less pressure on you to perform, so the anxiety should be less. And, as with all things, practice makes perfect.
3. You’ve lost the spark.
When you’ve been together a while and the honeymoon phase has worn off, you might find that sex is no longer a priority in your relationship.
You’ve become too comfortable with each other to make the effort and slipped into bad habits of just not trying anymore.
Without sex, you may as well just be housemates. It’s the difference that marks you out as a couple and reaffirms the chemistry between you.
Start making date nights a habit again. Put away the comfy PJs and slip into something sexier. Surprise your partner with a romantic meal and ban talk of any mundane chores you have that week.
Taking time out together might seem like a luxury, but it’s essential if you want your relationship to flourish in the long term and your sex life to stay healthy.
4. You’ve lost your body confidence.
Being unable to love yourself will get in the way of allowing anyone else to love you too.
If you’re struggling with feeling comfortable in your own skin, you’re going to be less and less likely to want to strip off for your partner.
Finding the root of your lack of body confidence is the first step to moving past it.
Weight changes might be linked with an emotional issue that might be best addressed with the help of a mental health professional, for example.
If you’re body has changed since having children or through age, focus on everything your body accomplished rather than worrying about how toned or smooth it looks.
We are surrounded with images of ‘perfect’ bodies, with celebs flaunting toned abs and impossibly skinny thighs. Not only should you remember that most of these images are staged, but people come in all different shapes and sizes and it’s impossible to compare ourselves to anyone else.
Go easy on yourself and appreciate your body for the miracle it is. Loving yourself is the gateway to letting your partner love you physically again.
5. You don’t have time.
With a to-do list that stretches into eternity, sex can fall right to the bottom of all of that.
There will always be other things that need to be done that seem more important, but if you don’t make time for it, you’ll stop having sex altogether.
Sex is an important part of your relationship and deserves your attention. By not prioritizing sex, you stop prioritizing your relationship, and this should always be top of your list.
If you have to, schedule in time to be with your partner. In a busy life, spontaneity might not be your thing, but by deliberately carving out time to be together, you can make intimacy an active part of your life once more.
And scheduled sex doesn’t have to be boring sex. You can still be sexy, and make each other feel sexy, even when it’s in the diary once a week on a Sunday evening!
6. You’re anxious.
Anxiety can be both physically and mentally debilitating. You may not realize you’re feeling anxious until you start seeing it affecting areas of your life, including your sex life.
Anxiety might affect your mood, confidence, or stress levels. Negative thoughts can either prevent you getting in the mood altogether or distract you when you’re trying to be intimate.
The more anxiety begins to affect your sex life, the more anxious you’ll begin to feel when you come to have sex, trapping you in a cycle that needs to be broken.
By talking to loved ones or a therapist about the cause of your anxiety, they can help give you some coping mechanisms to keep these feelings from becoming overwhelming.
Having a support network to turn to at difficult times will help get your anxiety back in check, and you’ll begin to see other areas of your life start returning to normal.
7. You’re overtired.
When you’re tired and want to sleep, the last thing you feel like doing is having sex.
Whether it’s work or family life that’s keeping you awake, giving up sex for the sake of some extra shut-eye might seem worth it at the time.
Once in a while, you might be right for the sake of getting yourself back in a good routine. But when it’s a regular occurrence, you start losing out on the chance to reconnect with your partner and strengthen your relationship.
As contrived as it sounds, making it part of your night-time routine could be the answer. Make a plan to get ready for bed earlier than usual to enjoy the extra time together. Why choose between great sex and a good night’s sleep when you can have both?
8. You need to change your attitude.
Sex, especially for women, can be a tricky subject.
We’re sent a lot of mixed messages. We see women sexualized in films, media, even on catwalks. And we are told to embrace our bodies and sexual curiosity.
Yet words like slut and whore are thrown at us casually and we can be judged for exploring our sexual freedom; especially compared with men.
These conflicting messages can make it difficult to fully embrace your sexuality without feeling it’s shameful in some way.
And for all genders, the matter is made even more difficult if you’ve grown up in a religious or strict, traditional household, perhaps being told that sex before marriage was wrong, but wanting to explore your choices as an adult.
The sense of shame and judgment that hangs over a person’s sex life can be difficult to ignore and prevent you from fully enjoying a sexual relationship with your partner.
Your sex life is personal to you and is not there to be judged or commented on by others. Speaking with a professional could help you reconcile your conflicting thoughts and pinpoint why you feel uncomfortable around the subject.
Sharing your thoughts with your partner rather than trying to figure everything out on your own might help you to feel more comfortable and give you the confidence, with their support, to embrace your own sexual happiness.
You don’t have to answer to anyone’s expectations of your sexual choices. Your sex life is your business and no one else’s and it’s your happiness that counts.
9. You aren’t getting enough out of it.
For women especially, that mysterious ‘O’ can seem like the stuff of legends. If you struggle to orgasm with your partner, it doesn’t mean you should give up! Sex should be equally enjoyable for the both of you, so make sure you’re getting the attention you deserve as much as they are.
Make sex better by taking some time to explore your own body and figure out what feels good for you. The better understanding you have of your own body, the easier you can guide your partner to give you what you need.
Making sure your sex life stays fresh and exciting takes work, but there is a whole world of sex toys, role play scenarios, outfits, and even self-help books out there that can spice up your routine.
Even just being spontaneous once in a while with when or where you go at it could be enough to rekindle the passion for you.
Don’t give up on sex because it’s not doing enough for you. Chances are you just need to find what works.
10. You’re having issues in the bedroom.
There’s still a stigma around talking about sex and any issues you might be having with it, and couples often try to struggle through things alone rather than getting the right help.
You might be putting off talking to someone because you find it embarrassing, but seeing a trained professional will be more than worth the initial embarrassment of opening up to them about it.
If you’re having issues, then it’s best to speak to someone sooner rather than later. The longer the problem persists, the more stress you’ll start associating with sex and the problem will just get worse.
If you were ill you would go to the doctor, so why not go to a professional who is trained specifically to help with sex?
A lot of problems are more common than you realize, some naturally occurring with age or hormonal changes. Don’t allow issues to frustrate your sex life without speaking to someone who can help.
Having a thriving sex life depends on so many things being in balance – your time, your headspace, your hormones, and more. It’s no wonder that it doesn’t always go as planned.
Just because you aren’t having sex, doesn’t mean you don’t love each other and that your partner feels differently about you. Much of the time it’s outside factors preventing you from being able to relax.
Making more time for you and your partner to reconnect is vital if you want to get back on track. Relationships take work if you want them to thrive.
Start making your relationship a priority again and the rest will fall into place.
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