My boyfriend and I haven’t been having sex as often. He initiates, but I am just not interested. I can tell he gets sad over it, and we’ve talked about it several times over the last six months. He says it’s just been difficult not having sex as much, and lately I find myself starting to become defensive in these conversations. I am also becoming more careful about how I cuddle/play around with me in order to not lead him on only to later tell him I’m not in the mood. This has been tough too. It’s killing me to feel like such a disappointment, but I think the underlying issue here is sex drive and my general feelings around sex. It’s not that I don’t want to have sex with my boyfriend; it’s that I don’t want to have sex with anyone. (Ahem, not even myself.) I have completely lost interest. I keep googling things intermittently, but I don’t know how to boost my sex drive. Do you have any advice for me?
Changes in sex drive are normal. Most people will experience ups and downs in their sex drive throughout their lives. Have there been any changes in your life recently? Stress? Grief? Depression? Any new medications you’re taking? Six months is a long time to experience this kind of change but I wouldn’t say it’s abnormal.
Here’s a question: do you enjoy having sex as often as you currently are? Do you feel satisfied with your sex life? Does your disappointment about your sex drive feel internal (you wish that your drive was what it used to be) or does it feel external (you wish that your drive was what it used to be so you wouldn’t have to see that sad face on your boyfriend.)
No matter the reason, it often becomes a vicious circle. You’ve not been in the mood so many times that when you are in the mood for sex there’s so much pressure to stay in the mood and have sex and have good sex that you rapidly lose the mood.
Here are a few suggestions:
- Attempt to remove the pressure from sex by finding other ways to be intimate with your partner. Indicate that you will not be having sex. See if putting sex off limits changes how you feel about having sex. This can also be a good way to become closer by exploring just touching, just looking, just being naked together.
- Talk to a counselor or therapist about what you’ve been experiencing and see if they have any suggestions. The root cause of your disinterest could be attached to something else entirely, like something you’re struggling with internally, or how you feel romantically about your partner.
- Take the night into your own hands – start thinking about some of the favorite things you and your partner do in the bedroom. Get that image in your head a good hour or two before you let on to your partner that you might want to have sex. Essentially, give yourself a “head start.”
- Just let it be – really. It’s okay not to want sex all the time or as much as you used to, if you’re comfortable with it. You may go a while having sex less often and maybe in a few months you’ll be full swing in the opposite direction! Don’t medicalize it, don’t shame yourself for it, and don’t let your partner do either of those things either.
Ultimately what to do next depends on how you feel about this change. If it’s really bothering you because you wish you could be having sex more with your partner, think about looking into some different exercises to find that place again. If you’re comfortable with it and feel like you just want to exist in this space for a while, that’s totally okay too. Just communicate with your partner what you’re feeling in the best way you can, and find ways you can be intimate together that comfortably satisfy those needs for both of you.
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