Sexual intimacy is one of the most important factors to a healthy relationship when sustaining long-term compatibility. In fact, sex is what differentiates a romantic relationship from all other interpersonal relationships. Like most problems in relationships, a decline in sexual intimacy is usually due to an emotional disconnect between the couple, lifestyle changes, or the differences in how each partner prefers to receive and give love to a romantic partner.
At the beginning of a relationship, couples tend to experience heightened emotional and sexual intimacy as lots of excitement and energy is being exchanged between the partners. Once the couple surpasses the honeymoon phase, they can often find themselves engaged in life responsibilities, such as raising children, chasing dreams and goals, or maintaining day-to-day tasks of upkeeping a home.
As the relationship evolves over time, sexual intimacy can become less of a priority because personal and professional goals take precedence as well as caring for other members of the family. The first relationship that gets neglected is typically the one between the couple because their hands are tied with daily responsibilities. This can lead to sexual frustrations for one or both partners, potentially leading to additional relationship problems of resentment, anger, untrustworthiness, loss of emotional security, and greater discord.
How are some ways you and your partner can increase the quantity and quality of your sex life:
1. Don’t Take It Personally
The majority of couples will immediately blame their partner for the lack of sexual intimacy in the relationship. However, this will only keep the couple in gridlock and prevent them from trying to understand each other and solve their sexual frustrations as a team.
There can be many reasons as to why your partner doesn’t want sex but it's best not to assume the reason as it can create a false narrative leading to a larger blowout and more resentment. Instead, seek interest in them to understand why they aren’t feeling it at the moment to get beneath the surface of the normal sex talk.
Your partner may have had a long workday, stressed about finances, exhausted from taking care of the kids, felt under the weather, or experienced an emotional disconnect from you. It's better to seek and understand by asking open-ended questions rather than taking them personally.
2. Talk About What’s Going On
It can be painful to talk about sexual intimacy, yet keeping communication channels open is the best way to engage your partner and explore how to reignite the spark. If one or both partners are shut down it can be very challenging to overcome this hurdle together. Even though you may be hurt, being vulnerable is important to get to the root cause of what keeps your partner from wanting to have sex.
While you have probably tried to have this conversation many times over and over, there’s a reason why you are met with the same story, vague response, or resistance. And you may be hesitant to speak up again because you don’t want to make sex feel like it's a life task or obligatory, but we need to focus on building emotional intimacy, especially for a partner to become more sexually active in the connection.
3. Be Open To Exploring New Ideas In and Out of The Bedroom
Making time for date nights, openly communicating desires and needs, and being willing to experiment with new ways that mutually respect each partner in the relationship can help increase intimacy in a fun and flirty way. This can jump-start the sexual connection to increase bonding time and re-establish trust where you can entice the feminine and masculine energy to pull your partner in closer. Being able to use love language, like touch, quality time or words of affirmations can help your partner feel emotionally safe to explore sex where it's pleasurable for both of you.
Also, your partner may or may not be bored in the relationship which can be a reason why they sexually shut you down. This is an opportunity to explore if there is something new they want to try or talk about what's holding them back. Some partners can be fearful they will offend their partner if they suggest fantasy play or bring sex toys into the bedroom. So, it can be helpful to bring up some of these ideas if you are feeling sexually rejected by your partner as these conversation starters can be helpful to see how they respond if they are tight-lipped.
4. Take Some Time For Yourself
It can be good to release some built-up emotion if you have been feeling frustrated for some time. Nurturing the relationship with yourself can help deepen a relationship with your partner as you are more attuned and in touch with your own needs and desires. Take some personal time for journaling, meditating, deep breathing, exercising, or taking up a new hobby to stay aligned to our inner truth.
Self-awareness can be a great way to navigate relationship discord because it helps you utilize conflict resolution skills and seek a solution-focused approach versus repeating the problem in your head over and over again. Even though you may be thinking I have already spent so much time alone and just want to be close to my partner, this can help you feel less stressed. Also, pulling back and shifting the energy in the connection to make them come closer to you, as your partner will come more curious want about what you are up to or where you are at.
5. Seek Professional Help If The Problem Persists
Sometimes couples can’t fix their relationship problems on their own and need expert advice or guidance to help give them rekindle the sexual intimacy. While it can feel shameful or embarrassing, working with a relationship coach can help you and your partner communicate better where you each can be heard and understood versus feeling like you are playing a game of tug of war. Learning how to utilize sexual boundaries can be a helpful technique for our couples to help overcome this challenge to create better sexual alignment.
Each partner can have psychological blind spots that prevent them from seeing how they are contributing to the relationship problem that keeps them stuck. Knowing how each partner plays a role is key to removing the blame and helping each partner feel safe to express their innermost feelings and explore sexual intimacy again.