The ones who have been in a long-term relationship can relate to this golden yet unspoken truth of sex – Irrespective of how amazing it was at the beginning of the relationship, things gradually slow down. This is often due to desire discrepancy – one of you wants to rock the bed and the other simply isn’t feeling it. Obviously, there are several blogs, the “how to reignite sexy times with your partner” articles and sexpert or love guru columns that give you many solutions for the same on the internet. However, can we just press pause for one moment and discuss why it’s absolutely OK to NOT want to sleep with your partner for a while?
Reasons for not craving sex:
Married or not, you have all the rights to take a break from sex. Here is a list of few reasons as to why many people refrain from sex with their partner as given by Zhana Vrangalova, Ph.D to the mbg. Zhana is a professor of human sexuality at NYU and a famous sex researcher.
- Sleep deprivation
- Newborn babies
- Some medical issues
- Taking certain medications
- Hormonal imbalances or fluctuations
- Anxiety, depression
- Insecurity when it comes to their bodies
- Angry or annoyed with your partner
- No communication
- Unhappy or boring sex life
Not craving sexy times is no crime:
“It is absolutely normal to not be in a mood for sex for some periods of time,” Vrangalova told mbg. “Our level of spontaneous sexual desires—the frequency and intensity with which [we] think about and desire sex without being ‘provoked’ by something sexual—fluctuates a fair amount over the course of our lives. These fluctuations are due to all sorts of biological, psychological, and relational factors.”
Sex goes through many phases in long term relationships, it is very common. There are even some couples where one of them wants to stay away from intimacy or they start disliking sexy times with their partner. Four out of five people have experienced mismatch in sexual desires in their relationships shows a study. Incase you are couple that is dealing with it right now, then fear not. You are not the only one.
This obviously does NOT imply that there is something fundamentally wrong with your relationship OR you.
“There are so many things that affect our sex drives at different points in our lives. Virtually all long-term couples will find themselves in situations where one of them desires sex more than the other some of the time. About a third of these couples will struggle with this for prolonged periods of time or at a level that’s distressing to one or both partners,” Vrangalova explained. “Expecting for two people who’ve been living together for a while to both be in the mood for sex at the same time on a regular basis is unrealistic.”
Is it possible for a relationship to exist without sex?
YES, absolutely. However, it is totally based on the couple.
“An active sex life is important to relationship satisfaction to the extent that it’s important to the people in that relationship. Whether not wanting sex will negatively affect someone’s relationship depends entirely on how their partner views their lack of interest. And how the couple deals with this sexual desire discrepancy,” Vrangalova said.
There are certain people who don’t feel the need to indulge in sex at all times. And they are equally happy as those who are regularly having sex, show some studies.
For some people, sex is a must. Then what?
There exists a vast research that proves a strong connection between relationship and sexual satisfactions. Research also shows that desire discrepancy could increase conflicts and instability in relationships.
But, a specific climate or mood of your relationship is mostly why you do not crave sex at the moment said Vanessa Marin. She is a sex therapist. “There’s a two-way relationship between relationship satisfaction and sexual desire. If you’re not feeling desire for your partner, it may be because of other dynamics in your relationship,” she told mbg. “For example, maybe you’re feeling like your partner isn’t holding up their end of the bargain with the kids.”
All this said, it does not mean your relationship will end, if at all you want a break from sex for some period. If sex is a must for your partner, then this shouldn’t become a forever break. You need to understand that they expect you to be compassionate about their desires and needs, just like how you do. “Asking for a break from sex may be difficult for your partner,” Marin said. “But there are still plenty of reasons you may want to ask for a break, even though you know it may be difficult. And there are reasons your partner would say ‘yes’ to taking a break, even though it may be difficult.”
How to deal with this ‘no sex’ phase?
1. Communicate with your partner about it.
“Tell your partner you’d like to talk about something important,” Marin explained. “Then work together to create the time and space for that conversation to happen. In the moment, make sure you both feel calm and open. Remind your partner that you love them, and that you have their best interests in mind, both individually and as a couple. Tell your partner why you’d like to take a break and the positive impact that you think it will have on your relationship overall.”
2. There are several ways to keep intimacy alive:
Irrespective of your ‘no sex’ phase duration, Vrangalova said to find other ways that will avoid the consequences of lack of physical intimacy. These new other ways to strengthen your connection, play, affections and joy. Also several other solutions to have a good time with your partner and which will eventually lead you both back to the bedroom.
Make sure to keep in mind that the one who is not wanting a sex break should be supportive of their partner who does. Experiencing that kind of affection and love could itself pave way for more intimacy.
3. Figure out your feelings as a curiosity and not guilt:
Try to figure out what sex truly means to you and what is mostly making it impossible to enjoy sex with your partner. Once you clearly understand it, your partner and you can work a way around it. May be come up with a more sex stimulating environment for the both of you.
This new environment might mean more space from kids, exploration of new sexual interest such as kinks. Going on more sexual staycations with your partner or working through your issues – these are just some of the few examples.
Always remember there is absolutely nothing to feel guilty about. Sex is something that makes you feel good, happy and more connected with your partner. So, your partner can definitely wait.
4. Patience is the key:
You can’t completely go without sex forever, if it is important to either one of you. “There’s no hard-and-fast rule here, so it’s important for you and your partner to keep checking in with each other,” Marin said.
However, just keep in mind you are not flawed for asking to press pause on your sex life. Even more, there is no need to rush any changes immediately. Just take it slow, set your own pace.
Honesty with your partner will help you keep the communication lines open and love to just naturally flow.