A lagging sex life is the number one signal that something is awry in a relationship, followed by the urge to punch a hole in the wall if you have to watch your partner chew with their mouth open for one.more.second. Okay, the second issue just means you’re spending too much time together. But the first—the mysterious vanishing of your sex life—is a real red flag.
When you cease to want to fuggle your partner, it’s often a symptom of a larger issue that needs to be addressed. You know how it feels: You still think they’re attractive, but you’re not really all that attracted to them anymore…
A sex drought, often blamed on “boredom” (womp womp), in a primary relationship is the number one listed culprit for affairs. Instead of trying to fix whatever is going on in the relationship, we seek an outside party. More exciting, less complication – a quick-fix band-aid, or so it seems.
Imagine if you went to the doctor because you were having a health issue. You say “doc, I think there is something wrong with my leg.” Your doc takes a quick glance at your appendage and says, “you’re right. Something is wrong with it. Let’s cut if off and get you a new one.”
Not exactly how things work, right? Hopefully, the doctor asks you a bunch of questions to try to identify what exactly the issue is before they suggest a treatment. You can use the same approach when your sex life is lagging. Instead of labeling it as broken or “boring,” take a look at your relationship and ask yourself what could be causing this disinterest, and how you can remedy it without checking out.
Sometimes the issue is broad; maybe you’ve gotten in a ho-hum routine and aren’t spending enough quality time together—meaning phones off, kids to bed, face-to-face realtime togetherness. Sometimes it’s more specific, like a breach in trust or broken communication.
A couple’s sex life swings up and down over the arch of a relationship, and that’ doesn’t necessarily mean there is a problem, it may just mean your hormones are changing over time, as those flakey, fickle hormones like to do. Just because you have sex two times a week now and you used to have it twice a day doesn’t mean you should reactive your Tinder profile. It’s when you’re simply not interested in sex with your partner anymore, period, that you should start to take notice.
Instead of ending things, or sleeping with someone else, or trying to become asexual, or smothering our Feelings with work or food, treat lack-of-sex as a symptom and try to work out the issue. Here are some helpful tips for doing that:
Take a look at your relationship as a whole. How happy are you in your relationship? Is sex the only thing that isn’t working, or is there a larger problem? Is there a big awkward elephant in the room you’re not wanting to deal with? Be honest here. The harder the question is to answer, the more likely it is you’re nearing the cause.
Pinpoint the culprit. Go ahead and play doctor. Examine all facets of your life, not only your relationship: Has anything changed as of late that could be causing you to choose American Horror Story over a pre-slumber sex session? (Number one rule for a healthy sex life is no TV in the bedroom, my super scientific research tells me.)
Financial stress, pressure to move forward, or a new living situation could be culprits. Is there tension between the two of you? Maybe your sweatpants-and-chinese dinner ritual doesn’t set the stage for romance, or you’re feeling more like roomies than lovers. If you’re having trouble pinpointing the issue, try and ask yourself the following questions:
- When was the last time you had a healthy sex life? What has changed since then? This can help you identify evil outside influences, like the fact that all of your friends are getting married now and it’s freaking your internal freak.
- What does your ideal sex life look like? Maybe you aren’t connecting on a sexual level anymore, and it really is just about adding some excitement back in. Handcuffs, fluffies, a dirty talk dictionary, an Alison Wonderland-themed musical porno from 1976…whatever you think would help with the flavor.
Check in. Now this is going to blow your mind: Maybe it’s not about you. Maybe you’re still wanting sex and your partner isn’t, and that’s why your sex life is off. If this is the case, ask your partner how they’re feeling sexually. Ask your partner about THEIR ideal sex life. In a sexual wonderland, how many times they would like to be doing it, per week. Does their answer match with your dream sex life?
For a variety of reasons (stress, diet, sleep schedule) our sex drives move at an individual pace… you may have heard it as “reaching peak.” There is still not that much scientific evidence out there on our sexual “primes,” but you always hear that men reach it earlier than women, etc.
Another explanation for sexual “peak” is just that our individual bodies are changing, our hormones are changing, our wants and needs are changing and our sex drives change along with them. So check in with your partner to see if they’re at a satiating pace, or if they wish they were getting more action.
If you’re having a sex drought, it means it’s time for you to check back IN to your relationship. Don’t check out. Figure out the cause, treat sex as a symptom, and don’t label it unfixable until you know what’s causing the issue in the first place.