WE'VE STOPPED HAVING SEX
It’s very common for a relationship to go through phases where one or both partners lose interest in sex.
This can be simply down to the fact that sexual interest tends to ebb and flow over time. It’s not unusual for partners to have different sex drives at different stages of their relationship.
It can also be related to specific issues in the relationship or external pressures from outside it.
Why might you/ your partner go off sex?
There are lots of reasons why you or your partner might be feeling less interested in sex:
Getting perspective on sex
Anxieties surrounding sex can also come from different expectations about how much sex you think you should be having.
It’s very common for one partner to have a lower or higher libido than the other, or for one to have a more passive attitude towards initiating sex. Likewise, many people don’t experience spontaneous sexual desire and find this only usually kicks in after their partner makes an advance. They may also need the setting and mood to feel right.
Both these things can leave one of you feeling like the other isn’t attracted to them, while the other feels there’s nothing wrong.
Worrying about your sex life can also be triggered by feeing like you’re not having as much sex as you ‘should’ be – and thinking that everyone else is at it much more than you. The truth, of course, is that the ‘right’ amount is however much works for you and your partner – no more, no less.
How to talk to your partner about not having sex
If you feel like there’s an issue with your sex life, the first thing to do is figure out why. The best way to do that is to talk to your partner.
We know this can feel embarrassing and tricky, especially if you haven’t spoken about sex together in a long time – or ever before. If you aren’t sure where to start, you might find the following tips useful:
Working back towards it
If you haven’t been intimate with your partner for while, trying to move towards having a sexual relationship again can be a daunting prospect.
You might find it helps to take the approach that we use in sex therapy. This is based around taking some of the pressure off sex, and learning to enjoy it again – slowly – from the ground up:
Throughout this process, it’s important to keep talking and checking in with each other: telling each other what you’re enjoying, anything you might be finding difficult, and what you might like to try going forward. If one of you is finding things are progressing too fast, you could slow down.
What’s important is that you’re aware of how the other is feeling and neither of you feels under too much pressure to progress too quickly. If you think that you’ll need help, don’t be embarrassed to ask about sex therapy. Although talking to a therapist about your sex life can feel a little strange at first, many couples are surprised at how effective it is.
In fact, 94% of people who attend sex therapy with us found their sex lives had improved.
It can be particularly useful if you’ve been experiencing problems for a long time. Just because you’re stuck at the moment doesn’t mean you need to stay stuck.
Likewise, if your issues with sex stem from issues in your relationship itself, relationship counselling is a really good way of unpacking these. Again, we know it can be difficult to ask for this kind of help, but many couples find that even one session is enough to start to unplug problems in communication that have been making things difficult for years.