Sex is not the most important part of a relationship, but it's still a pretty big part of it. Sex and physical intimacy provide a kind of emotional lubricant that allows you and your partner to bond. When you're enjoying that intimate connection, it makes it easier to move through the places in the relationship where you might experience disconnection. When you're not having sex (and that's uncharacteristic of your relationship) it's usually because of an underlying symptom placing distance in the relationship. But it can be tough to figure out what to say to your partner when you're not having sex, particularly since you don't want to pressure them into doing anything that they are uncomfortable with.
It is possible to talk about what is going on in your sex life without applying a lot of pressure on on your partner. There are two key things to keep in mind when you are approaching this tough conversation. The first is timing. Don't rush into a conversation about the fact that you're not having sex while you are lying in bed together. Broach the subject in a space where you can connect emotionally, but where they won't feel like you expect gratification that moment. Context is important.
The second thing is to give your partner as much space as they need to talk about what they are experiencing and why it is impacting their sex life. It might be that they don't have all the answers either, and that's fine. But focusing on how the lack of sex is impacting you is beside the point. If they are the ones who aren't interested in having sex, then they need to know that you've got their back emotionally and can hold space to hear them out.
Here are some other tips to guide you through this tough and necessary conversation.
"How Have You Been Feeling?"
One of the first things to prioritize is your partner's comfort. Simply ask your partner how they have been feeling lately. Have they been under a lot of stress at work? Has their body been feeling run down? Where in their life are they experiencing pressure? You're in a partnership to be a team. If one person is struggling, then the repercussions are going to be felt throughout the relationship.
Ask them what more you can do to make them comfortable. If they don't know, then they don't know. As long as you make it clear that you are there for them, they will come to you when they are ready and able.
"Do You Feel Like You Need Space?"
You can't ever control anyone. Whether or not you are having sex doesn't change the fact that your partner is their own person, with their own needs and priorities. You can come together and address those needs as a unit, but sometimes, a person just has to go off and take care of matters on their own.
Sometimes, a person might be feeling too much pressure in a relationship. They might feel like they need to reconnect with themselves and their dreams. Not having sex could be a way of placing distance in the relationship, so they are able to reclaim a sense of self.
Love is a dance, and the two of you need to figure out your rhythms: when to come together and when to separate. It shouldn't be all or nothing, but you should trust that each of you can figure out how to approach the other in your own time if something is bothering you.
3. "Do You Want To Join Me In [Insert Feel-Good Activity]?"
Whether or not you are having sex doesn't change the fact that your partner cannot be your only source of pleasure. If you feel like them not having sex with you is depriving you of something, then it might be time to reevaluate the role of sex in your relationship. Sex is great, but the fact that you are placing so much weight on it might be the reason why it isn't happening in the first place.
Invest in some nice sex toys. Take time to do the things that feel good, like taking baths, cooking decadent meals, lying in a sound bath, or getting a massage. Stimulate your senses and rediscover the ways in which the world is here to take pleasure. Invite your partner to join you, if they are interested. There are many different ways that your body can connect with this beautiful, material world we inhabit. Once you realize that, maybe you'll be ready to connect with one another again.
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