No sex is not always a reason to worry about the state of a relationship. Sexual therapist Nicole Engel explores the many reasons why sometimes there’s no action in bed and explains that things might not be as bad as they seem.
“The reasons can be completely individual,” says Nicole Engel. Sometimes there is a biological reason for a partner’s loss of lust or libido, for example a bladder infection. “A partner may be suffering from known sexual disfunctions such as vaginismus or premature ejaculation,” Engel continues. “In such cases, the problem is that the partner simply has something else on his/her mind.”
However, the most common killer of lust in our modern society is still stress. “Sexual hormones are important drivers of lust,” she adds. “But these can suffer tremendously when we’re under the pressures of stress, whether from overworking, interpersonal conflict or having to take care of our elderly parents, for example.”
“In any case, the release of happy hormones will increase the likelihood that over time sexual lust will recover again.”
At the same time, sex can be a great tool to relieve stress. And men in particular, Engel points out, tend to be better than women at addressing their stress levels by having sex. “It’s about looking at the bigger picture. Is sex just another burden in my daily life? Or is it something that can calm me down and help me to de-stress, like a good massage?”
Obviously, one way the overstressed partner might seek relief is with the help of a fast, uncomplicated quickie. But there is another way. “You could also take your time and carefully monitor how your lust increases,” Engel says. Besides our sexual hormones, other hormones such as oxytocin, serotonin and melatonin also play a role in sex. That’s why it may be beneficial to slow down the sex and take time to really enjoy being together. “In any case, the release of happy hormones will increase the likelihood that over time sexual lust will recover again.”
Not feeling it? Not only a female phenomenon
It’s a common misconception that men always want to have sex. So, when a male partner suddenly doesn’t want to, many women examine themselves as if they are the only possible cause of their partner’s loss of libidinous interest. Reacting with self-accusation often makes matters worse, however, and puts relationships under tremendous pressure. If you and your partner are no longer having sex, it’s always helpful to talk openly to each other and establish the truth.
“It’s not about finding someone to blame, but understanding each other and getting to know your partnership dynamic,” Engel says. “Subsequently, a couple can work on making positive changes.” And if you get stuck or things get a little tricky, there’s nothing wrong with seeking professional support – for example couple’s therapy. “In my experience, couples who invest in resolving their difficulties with each other often find fulfillment, unlike couples who take the easy way out and separate,” the psychologist adds.
Sex toys can help
By the way, “watching pornography and using sex toys during lovemaking or when masturbating can be a wonderful way to recover lost feelings of lust,” Engel advises. Ever felt the tingling sensation just before using a sex toy? Just thinking about sex can stimulate desire. Give it a try!