Many relationships go through phases where one or both partners goes off sex. Sometimes this is a gradual process that almost goes unnoticed for a long time or it may arise from specific issues, perhaps an affair, which makes being sexual feel impossible.
Sometimes worries about the pressure to be sexual can lead partners to withdraw from all kinds of physical contact and expressions of affection. Not surprisingly, this can lead to one or both partners feeling rejected.
If this sounds familiar, you may need to tackle the root cause before you can work on rekindling your sex life. If you’re unsure how to start the conversation with your partner, talking to a counselor can help.
But if you both want to rekindle your sex life, it might help to follow these tips:
Talk to your partner
This might feel embarrassing and tricky but having an honest conversation about why you have stopped having sex, and what you would like to be different is the first step to making changes. By talking openly together, you can decide on the level of sexual intimacy that best suits you both which may include the mutual agreement not to be sexual at all. This is completely normal for many people and does not in any way adversely affect the relationship. Some people reach this decision easily, but if this is a topic that feels too difficult to discuss, or only one of you feels this way, then maybe counseling can help start a conversation about the way forward for each of you.
Listen to your partner
Listening to your partner is sometimes more difficult than it seems, especially if you may have made assumptions about what they’re going to say. Encourage them to share their thoughts and feelings with you. This may take time and even feel rather uncomfortable, especially if you’re not used to talking together about intimate things but it’s important not to make assumptions about how your partner is thinking and feeling.
Take your time
Sex isn’t just intercourse and if you haven’t had any physical contact with each other for a while, it might help to start slowly. Try to put some time aside to share with each other what would feel OK. Don’t under estimate the little things. A kiss or a cuddle can feel very intimate. Don’t be afraid to tell each other if things start to feel rushed or uncomfortable. Just stop, share how you’re feeling and what would help. The important thing is that no one feels under any pressure to do something that doesn’t feel OK. It may be helpful to bear in mind that if you’ve not been intimate for a long time, individual needs may have changed, so talking about this could really help you to create something that works for you both.