Your stress levels, mental health, and communication habits all factor into your sex life.
Sex in a new relationship is often pretty fantastic: It happens constantly, it's exciting to discover each other's bodies, and the two of you usually can't get enough of each other. If you're really lucky, the sex can last that way well into a long-term committed relationship, and you'll live happily — and sexually — ever after. That said, in most cases, lack of sex in a relationship — especially between exclusive partners — is likely to occur over time.
No sex for a few weeks or even a month is totally normal, and doesn’t always indicate an issue in your relationship. It might just mean that you’ve grown comfortable together and aren’t as hungry for constant, adventurous sexual exploration. But if your sexy time has come to a screeching halt altogether, Martha Tara Lee, a clinical sexologist (D.H.S., M.A., B.A.) and founder of Eros Coaching, says no sex in a relationship means there might be some underlying issues around lifestyles and overall health, changing attitudes, or even harboring secret resentments for your partner.
“A lot of times, deep down, we do have some inkling of the roots of any problem,” Lee tells Elite Daily. “Check if your attitudes and beliefs about sex and sexuality are supporting or hurting your sex life. What would make you want to have sex more? Which areas — sex quality, duration of foreplay, or simply frequency — would you like to work on? [You and your partner] may both need to learn new communication skills and techniques.”
If sex is a priority to you, San Diego-based sex, intimacy, and relationship coach Tari Mannello says it’s important to raise these questions with your partner. “When there’s no sex in a relationship and one or both people are very sexual, it’s a big problem,” Mannello tells Elite Daily. “Especially when we’re young, many of us get together with partners specifically because we want to keep having sex with them. If you and your partner identify as monogamous but you’re not having sex, you’re still not allowed to look at anyone else, talk to anyone else, touch anyone else, and you’re punished for it and shamed for it. So it becomes a real issue.”
If sex is something you’ve lost and you’re itching to get it back, the first step is identifying the root cause behind the slowdown. Read on to see if some of the common reasons why couples stop having regular sex might apply to your relationship.
One Of You Is Stressed
Although we're all pretty busy, sometimes it feels like we're going from responsibility to responsibility with no rest in between. If the two of you are very stressed out or very busy, it could have a negative effect on your sex life.
If this is the problem, the best thing you can do is communicate and ask each other for help, both with the responsibilities in your life and with sex. “Any relationship requires negotiation and compromise, and that includes sex,” Lee says. “It is important to communicate your sexual needs and wants, and be open to talking about it.”
Lee reiterates that people and couples go through phases, so this could just be a stressed period in your life that you'll work through. The best thing to do is give it time. However, if there’s still no sex after six months, Lee recommends that you reassess.
You Have Different Sexual Appetites
Most of the time in a two-person partnership, one person is going to have a higher sexual drive. And contrary to what many women have been led to believe about heterosexual relationships, it's not always the man. No matter which partner wants more sex, if your desires are really uneven, it can put enough stress on the relationship and lead to a sexual drought.
“Often I see couples who come together and they love everything about each other, but their sex drives are so mismatched,” Mannello says about his practice. “If it’s extreme, I think it’s difficult to stay together in a healthy sexual relationship. One person is always going to feel like it’s all the other person wants, like they’re being used for sex. And the other person is going to feel like they have to walk on eggshells; like they don’t know what to say or how to approach. When it’s so disparate like that, it’s hard to make it work.”
To keep things from afloat, Lee recommends that you talk it out. "If you are not happy with the state of things, do not sweep it under the carpet and wait until there is so much resentment and anger that it is too late to salvage the relationship," says Lee.
It’s also possible that one or both of your libidos has changed over time — and it’s equally possible that they’ll bounce back again when external lifestyle factors, such as outsize stress, decrease. Physical and mental disorders — such as depression and anxiety — can shrink your libido, as well. If you’ve noticed sharp changes in yours or your partner’s libidos, chat with your doctor.
Sex Isn’t A Priority In Your Relationship
After being in a relationship for a long time, it's easy to let other things take precedence over sex, even if they are good things for your relationship. Maybe you really like Netflixing together, but the "chill" part of it just isn't there at the moment. Or perhaps you both like to spend time with your families, which is great, but not for your sex life.
If you're having less sex because you're just not prioritizing it, then it’s time to be more conscious of your choices. This includes, if you have to, scheduling sex. Lee says, "Pencil sex into your schedule and prepare yourself for it as you would a date. Make it extra special for you."
It may seem counterintuitive, but taking the initiative to schedule your sex can actually help keep things exciting. By treating it as an event and giving yourself something to look forward to, it’ll be easier to get in the mood when the time comes.
You’ve Figured Out What Works For You
A slower sex life doesn’t necessarily mean that something is wrong. It could just be that you've fallen into the best possible pattern of what works for you both.
Sure, at the beginning of your relationship, you were bangin’ like jack rabbits. But everyone's sexual appetite goes through normal fluctuations.
If you went from having sex three times a day to once a day or a few times a week, it may be perfectly normal and healthy. As long as you and your partner are both OK with there being less sex in your relationship, then there’s nothing to worry about.
One Or Both Of You Has Suffered Too Much Rejection
Let’s say at the outset of your partnership, you were the more sexually dominant partner. You initiated almost all of your sexual encounters, and while it was fun at the time, it’s now six months in and you're starting to wonder if your partner’s lack of initiative might actually be a sign that they’re not as attracted to you as you are to them. You’d like the roles to be reversed for a bit, so that you can experience the feeling of being desired instead of always being the desirer. But when you stop initiating, the sex stops altogether; your partner has gotten too comfortable with your old, familiar pattern and isn’t willing to take the risk of initiating sex.
Sex is touchy in more ways than the strictly physical. If you or your partner is particularly sensitive to rejection, it could lead to a sexual standstill. “If initiating sex is always left up to the same person in the relationship and they’ve been turned down enough times, the rejection — or what they identify as rejection — can build up over time and wear down a person’s interest in trying to initiate sex,” Mannello says.
In a sexual relationship, there are a lot of dynamics at play, and a lot of feelings to consider. Be gentle with each other and don’t be afraid to talk it out.
There Really Is An Underlying Problem
If you still can’t explain the lack of sex in your relationship, there may be something underlying that hasn’t yet come to the surface. According to Lee, that means it may be time to "recruit a task force" that will help get your relationship back on track. "You might like to consider seeing a marriage counselor, psychologist, or even a sexologist for help," Lee says.
In order to fix your sex life, you’ll have to address what’s going on internally. Luckily, there are several sex therapists who specialize in issues like these specifically and who could be covered by insurance. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
No two bonds are the same, and no sex in a relationship doesn’t automatically mean one thing or another. That said, the best thing you can do is communicate with each other, find out why it's happening, and start moving forward together to get your sex life where you want it to be.
Martha Tara Lee, clinical sexologist (D.H.S., M.A., B.A.) and founder of Eros Coaching
Tari Mannello, sex, intimacy, and relationship coach and founder of Closeness San Diego
This article was originally published on