If you've found yourself wanting to have sex less often lately, don't sound the alarm just yet. There are numerous explanations as to why your libido might change, according to Dr. Jessica O'Reilly, sexologist and relationship expert. Rather than ignoring the shift in your sex drive, Dr. Jess suggests understanding why your feelings might be changing and speaking openly with your partner about how often you'd like to do the deed.
There are plenty of factors that play into a person's sex drive, Dr. Jess explains in an interview with Elite Daily, including, "stress levels, medications, menstrual cycles, relationship duration, relationship satisfaction, communication, sleep habits, exercise, fitness, mood, and hormone levels."
In other words, even if you're typically very satisfied with the frequency of your sex life, it's normal to go through phases in which physical intimacy dips down on your list of priorities.
According to Dr. Jess, sex drives and the frequency at which partners have sex are a balancing act; it's normal if it takes awhile for you and your partner to figure out this dynamic, or for it to change over time.
"If you want a mutually validating, trustful, lasting, and compatible relationship — you and your partner should talk about sex," says Dr. Jess. She also stresses that cultivating compatibility is a team effort and a conversation about what you both enjoy is a great place to start. So how can you talk this out? Dr. Jess breaks it down into three simple steps.
After you've both discussed things that you like about your sex life, Dr. Jess suggests that you transition the conversation towards future possibilities and options. Ask your partner if there's anything that would work better for them or anything that they would like to try. This creates a smooth transition and opportunity for you to assert what you want as well.
Once you've created space to talk about sex with your partner, Dr. Jess recommends that you transition towards airing what you're feeling and you'd like to see more or less of. This is a great chance to explain why you want to have less sex and the reason for it. If it's a result of an outside source of stress, you and your partner could talk through this, as well. The solutions could be as simple as reserving the weekends for sex because you both need to focus on other things during the week. Your partner should understand and respect your wishes when it comes to wanting to have sex less often.
Consent is essential to any sexual experience, and just because you're in a relationship with someone does not mean that you owe them sex. If a partner implies that you owe them sex for any reason, they are not respecting the importance of your consent to sex.
There are so many factors that influence your sex drive, so it's OK if you want to have less sex right now. Any reason, include simply not wanting to have sex, is perfectly valid and should be respected. The first step to resolving any sort of sexual conflict is by channeling your inner Salt-N-Pepa and talking about sex.