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My partner doesn't want to have sex anymore

Lots of people come to our forums because the sex in their relationship has become infrequent or stopped all together. It can be very worrying when your partner seems to lose interest in sex, especially if you had an active sex life beforehand, and you may find yourself wondering if there’s something wrong.

If you feel like your partner is no longer making an effort, it’s easy to fall into a vicious cycle where neither of you initiates sex – you stop trying because you think they have. 

So, what should you do?

Research shows its normal for sex to decline in a long-term relationship, but that doesn’t have to mean you give up trying entirely.

The fact that you’re worrying about this at all is a positive sign. While there is some evidence to show that sexless relationships are at an increased risk of breaking down, the bigger risk factor is actually indifference to the situation. You’re thinking about this, you’re worrying about it, and you’re here reading this article. That means you care. And, when you care, you’re more likely to make positive changes.

Lots of couples get on just fine without sex. For many people, sex may not be the most important thing in a long-term relationship.  For others, however, sexual intimacy is the most important differences between friendship and romantic relationships. It’s what binds us together with our partners. It relieves stress in our busy lives, reminds us that we are loved, and makes us feel attractive emotionally close to each other.

Why doesn’t my partner want to have sex?

There are lots of reasons why your partner is avoiding sex anymore and these may only be temporary. Possible reasons include: 

  • Tiredness from work or looking after children.
  • Wanting a change from the usual routine. Perhaps sex has become too familiar, or unexciting.
  • Loss of confidence – people can lose sexual confidence if they’ve gaining weight, or are dealing with stress, depression, or emotional problems.
  • Conflict between the two of you. If you have unresolved differences, these can get in the way of the desire for intimacy.
  • Physical or medical conditions, which may be undiagnosed.

Whatever the reason, sex can be a delicate issue. Be kind to yourself and be sensitive to your partner when discussing it, but keep in mind that indifference will not help the situation. It’s important to address the issue. Here are some things that might help:

  • Talk about it. Dealing with relationship issues almost always starts with improving communication. Give your partner an opportunity to talk about how they feel and what they want, as well as talking about your own feelings.
  • Have a date night. Get dressed up and have a romantic night out – or in – to remind yourselves of why you love spending time together.
  • Ban sex for a while. This may seem counterproductive, but it can take the pressure off while you and your partner rediscover your intimacy.
  • Try some non-sex sexy things. Take a bath together, or give each other a massage.
  • Have a conversation about trying new things in bed. It might feel strange at first, but it could be fun to open yourselves up to new ideas. It’s OK to inject a little humour into these conversations!
  • Look after your body. Getting in shape and eating well can help you feel more self-confident and energetic, which is never a bad thing for your sex life.
  • Don’t force yourself. Sex is not an obligation, and if you’re too tired or just don’t feel like it, it’s better to wait another day.

When a couple gets used to each other, it’s natural for sex to become less spontaneous. Scheduling sex might feel unromantic, but it can be fun to have something planned from time to time. Book a quiet moment with your partner and plan to have some physical affection even if you’re not in the mood for sex when the time arrives.

As you work things through, be prepared for it to take some time. Keep talking, and celebrate the small victories. Try to set resentment aside, and avoid putting pressure on your partner. 

Above all, have fun and try to make a little bit of extra effort… just like you used to.

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