Fun, spontaneous sex is an integral part of most relationships, and a key factor in keeping your union healthy. Sex helps us connect with our partners and develop a closer bond, plus it’s well established that regular sex is good for the body, mind and soul.
If intimacy is suddenly lacking in your relationship, it can be frustrating, worrying and even upsetting. Having a partner who seems uninterested in having sex with you can knock your self esteem and leave you questioning the state of your relationship.
So how do you reintroduce intimacy into your relationship? It’s a three-step process.
Get to the root of the problem
There are many reasons your partner may lose interest in having sex with you, and first you need to establish the reason(s) for it. These may be medical, such as:
- Lower levels of testosterone
- Experiencing a mental health issue, like depression
- A side effect of medication
- A sexual disorder that’s now surfacing, as a result of earlier trauma or abuse
- Excessive masturbation and/or watching of porn, which means he sees to his needs on his own and has less desire to have partnered sex
- Sleep deprivation
- Excessive exercise
They may also be emotional, and these can be harder to tackle. Emotional reasons for rejecting sex include:
- Having an affair or being attracted to someone else
- Being angry with you
- Boredom with you and/or the relationship
- Uncertain of his sexual orientation
- No longer attracted to you
- Being uninterested in the relationship
You both need to be able to acknowledge that there’s a problem. If you can establish that you both want to be together, and want to re-establish your sexual connection, it may be worth visiting a doctor or therapist together to work out a way forward, particularly if it seems the problem is medical in nature.
If you’re unable to have an open discussion with your partner about the lack of intimacy, then your intimacy issues are not the biggest of your problems, and also not surprising. Without open, honest communication, there’s very little solid foundation to build a relationship on, which means that sexual problems are almost bound to arise over the long term.
If, after your honest discussion, it’s clear that the attraction is simply not there, and the desire to re-establish a sexual connection isn’t mutual, it is probably time for you to consider ending the relationship.
Start to reintroduce intimacy in your relationship
If you are both on the same page about reconnecting sexually, here are some things you can do to help to repair your lack of sexual intimacy.
- Listen to your partner’s reasons for having lost interest in sex. If you have contributed to these reasons, start to look at ways you can change your behaviour. Have you been unavailable, moody, belittling of your partner or equally uninterested in sex? Have you let your personal hygiene slide? Have you stopped making an effort in your relationship?
- Bear in mind that your partner’s ‘reasons’ for being disinterested may also be self-serving excuses, like “You’ve gained weight”. Look at your own behaviour within reason, but don’t allow yourself to be controlled by your partner if you believe their reasons are unfair.
- Be empathetic, patient and non-judgemental towards your partner as he works through his issues.
- Is personal hygiene the issue? Take a look at your overall appearance. Consider bad breath or body odour. These things can be addressed and could be reasons for your partner’s disinterest.
- Turn off the TV! More and more relationships are suffering the effects of Netflix and (no) chilling.
- Consider going to a sex therapist together.
- If it’s simply a matter of boredom and/or complacency, get yourself into a sexy headspace. Think of the things that attracted you to each other in the first place and start making an effort again. Send sexy texts throughout the day and set the right mood at home and in the bedroom. Turn yourself on, and this will help you to turn your partner on. The longer you go without sex in your relationship, the harder it is to get it back.
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At Marie Stopes, we can help you with a wide range of sexual health care issues, from contraceptive advice to HIV and STI screening and testing. Whether you’re concerned about a particular issue or simply need advice, we can help.
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