Haven’t been ~fostering closeness~ with your partner between the sheets? There could be a couple of reasons why, from stress and logistical challenges to plain not feeling it.
Dr Martha Tara Lee, a clinical sexologist and relationship coach at Eros Coaching, tells us the most common reasons couples stop having sex, and provides some suggestions for working around these issues.
Tired people do not have the energy to follow through with sex. Rushing home after work, cooking dinner, washing up, and putting the kids to bed is part of the daily routine for most married couples with children. By the end of the day, they report falling asleep completely drained of energy and need sleep to begin all over again.
Suggestion: My clients often admit to having a perfectionist streak and needing to do it all themselves so that things can be done perfectly the first time.
Would you be able to share or delegate the household chores and caregiving duties? What needs to be let go of so that you have more time for rest? Instead of sex in the morning, how about in the mornings or on weekends? We do need to create time for what’s important.
Stress causes us to feel overwhelmed or unable to cope with mental or emotional pressure. Chronic stress affects our mental health, but the ongoing stress hormones also affect our physical health too. It can lead to helplessness, hopelessness, burnout, detachment and disengagement from life and your partner.
Suggestion: We cannot be proactively making things better if we keep identifying our stress as a weakness and deny this. Accept all your emotions without judgment.
Share your emotions with people who can support you and ask for specific help. Slow breathing, going for light physical exercise (like walking or yoga) or doing mental resilience related practices (like meditation and mindfulness) can help you to take back your life.
The lack of privacy namely staying with your in-laws or sleeping on the same bed with your child are real challenges my clients face. Parental guilt might cause parents to give all their free time to their kids – from ferrying them around, to taking them out for activities. Time is even more divided when parents have more than one child.
Suggestion: Look for pockets of time when the house is empty. Adapt to having sex at times and places which is not your preference. It doesn’t have to be any less than – it is just variety and part of life. Scheduling date night and staycation, or even daycations all contribute towards keeping the intimacy between you and your partner.
Just don't feel like it
It is easy for the flames of passion to subside in long-term relationship. Successful long-term relationships ae built on mutual respect, consideration, and stability. Routine can stifle desire as desire feeds off newness (including experiences).
Suggestion: Spontaneous sex is neither the “right way” to have sex nor “best way”. Sex may not be as spontaneous as before as time does need to be blocked off for sex to happen.
In fact, planned sex can cause sex to be better because this is when you can cocreate new experiences together – time to bring out the massage lotion, lubricant, lingerie and/ or sex toys. Planned sex doesn’t need to take away intimacy – it is a mindset thing.
Your partner might be avoiding sex because they are experiencing sexual difficulties leading to lack of sexual confidence and unwilling to accept this within themselves.
I’ve seen cases of people gaslighting their partner and blaming the lack of sexual intimacy on them to take the focus off the real problem e.g., work, stress, headache, period, diminished sexual attraction.
Suggestion: See a trained sexuality counselor or sexologist like me to support you to overcome the sexual difficulties. If a sexual issue persists for more than 12 months, do seek support. We do work with individuals and couples to develop sexual skills which will contribute to them gaining their sexual confidence.
Common sexual problems include unconsummated marriage, Vaginismus, Premature Ejaculation, Erectile Dysfunction. Session could involve sexual education around anatomy; communication; techniques to overcoming erectile difficulties and ejaculation control.
With technological advancement, more people than ever are turning to electronic devices for education, entertainment, and edutainment. Designed to take us down the rabbit hole, these smart devices can distract us from connecting to those closest and inadvertently neglect them.
Suggestion: Remember your priorities and choose to let your actions speak for themselves. Prioritise people over things can mean building awareness of when, where, and how long you’re using your phone. Make decisions like not check your phone when having a mealtime, or certain hours of the day e.g., once you reach home or after 9pm.
This article was first published in Her World Online.