It is the beginning of a nightmare. Suddenly your partner doesn’t want to have sex anymore. The fire is gone. You don’t know what you did wrong. Your regular cues are totally ignored. Your partner shoos away your once passionate embrace. It’s like a scene from a horror show.
If you are reading this you might be looking for answers or a route map on where to go from here. One thing for sure is that you are not alone. Many couples go through a dry spell. It can be short term, caused by the regular rigours of life like stress and fatigue.
Some medical journals state that in heterosexual relationships, 15% or men and 34% of women report disinterest in sex. Alarmingly, the studies show that women are four times more likely to lose interest in sex, even those in strong long term relationships. When men lose interest in sex, they don’t necessarily want to talk about it because their masculinity is brought to question.
Sometimes a sexual drought can resolve itself. Unfortunately there can be periods of prolonged disinterest. Such a season can be strenuous building a rift between you and your partner. Frustration can build resentment and lead to extra marital affairs or separation.
How did we get here?
Several factors can play a role on how long the dry spell lasts, like age and how long you have been a couple. When both partners are willing to engage in a candid conversation, the problem can be addressed. Feelings of guilt, anger, blame and embarrassment can be avoided and a solution worked towards.
Assumptions should be avoided like your partner has simply decided they want out of the relationship, or has found someone else. There could be a myriad of possibilities. Causes of disinterest include but are not limited to:
- Erectile dysfunction
- Pain during sex
- Pregnancy and birthing
- Chronic illness
- Drug use
- Alcohol use
- Low self-esteem and insecurities
- Boring routine
- No emotional connection
- Low libido
- Financial problems
- Previous sexual trauma
- Restrictive attitudes towards sex
- Loss of emotional connection
- Sexual rejection
- Physical ailments and serious medical illness
- Excessive masturbation
- Addiction to pornography
Where do we start?
If your partner knows exactly what the problem is, you are lucky.
Best to find neutral ground to have the conversation when you’re both not emotionally or physically exhausted. The ideal spot should be somewhere private where you can be comfortable enough to pour your hearts out without fear or interruptions. Talk about the problem as a unit without pointing a finger at the person who has lost interest.
If your partner knows exactly what the problem is, you are lucky. Don’t expect an immediate change. Therapy may help to bring small positive changes especially if the problems are related to stress, anxiety or depression. While working through this, continue with honest and open communication with small gestures of affection and intimacy to bring you closer.
If the problem is unknown but acknowledged then it might be necessary to bring in a medical doctor’s opinion. Physical examination and blood tests can check for medical conditions like low testosterone and hyperthyroidism. Other conditions to rule out might be the use of birth control and antidepressants.
If your partner is bored of the same old Netflix and chill routine, then spice it up. Explore different ways of making love. Explore sexual fantasies. Dive into it wholeheartedly without prejudice or judgement.
The common reason for men’s sexual decline is erectile dysfunction. Meditation has proven to be a useful tool for treating some forms of this condition. Some prescription drugs or medical intervention can be beneficial. Hormonal imbalances can also be addressed by your trusted medical professional.
Some men will stop having sex with their partners if they feel their partner is constantly nagging, complaining and critiquing. The feeling of inadequacy builds and eventually shows up in the bedroom.
Men also want to be desired. If this is missing in their relationship because of frequent rejection, they might become unwilling to put out. Being desired builds their confidence especially when their partner initiates sex.
Distractions like television and social media can also eat into a couple’s special time together. There are counsellors who actually recommend removing the television and other devices from the bedroom to reinstate more intimate interactions with each other.
In the unfortunate event that your partner is not willing to discuss the issue, the burden falls on you. Don’t be bitter. Be patient, sensitive and understanding. Take the lead and suggest a solution like couples counselling. Do not shame your partner. To reduce the impact of low sexual desire, communicate better and be supportive.
If the hard truth is that your partner is sleeping with somebody else, as difficult as this is, it would be best to address this soberly. Maybe they are more compatible with this other person. Maybe it’s only about sex and nothing more. Hopefully your partner can be honest and not string you along.
Getting back to it
….a healthy sex life with your partner is where you are both staying connected…
Do not compare yourself to neighbours or friends. Remember that frequency of intercourse does not equate to sexual satisfaction. You and your partner can find your own rhythm, your own magic number. It could be two times a week or two times a month. There is no problem as long as both of you are comfortable with it.
Create time to spend together doing something relaxing. Make a date night. Just for the two of you. It could be as simple as reading next to each other while sipping on a glass of wine or watching a movie. Moments like these create opportunity for intimacy. Throw in a dash of spontaneity too.
A predictable routine can be a mood killer. Don’t be shy to mix things up. Change the scene. Set the stage. Use your imagination. Have fun with it. Excitement does not equate satisfaction. Though orgasms are wonderful, a healthy sex life with your partner is where you are both staying connected to each other, physically, emotionally and mentally.
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