There are a bunch of obvious reasons why your partner might not want to have sex on any given night. They've had a hell of a day at work, they're dealing with a bout of depression or anxiety, they haven't slept a full eight hours in a week—you get the idea. It all boils down to the fact that sometimes they just don't have the desire or energy to get naked and roll around.
But since a woman’s libido is complex and multi-faceted, there can be other issues at play, too, some that you both may not even know are problems. We turned to Houston-area sex therapist Mary Jo Rapini for some answers. Here’s what you both need to know and how to get back on track.
If your partner is holding onto anger, it’s going to be difficult for them to feel all lusty for you.
“A woman needs to feel readily loved and connected to their partner. Resentment prevents you from feeling free to escape during sex, which is key to wanting and enjoying it,” says Rapini. She suggests doing something nice together, like going to a movie, and then talking about your issue after. It’s a good way to break the ice and have an honest conversation.
It’s probably not a shocker to have this on the list, but it's worth keeping in mind. She may be avoiding sex because of something you inadvertently said about her body, or because she's dealing with body hang-ups that are preventing her from getting in the mood.
Even better: If she outwardly wants to make a change to get healthy and feel better about her body, you can offer to work out and cook meals with her, which can strengthen your bond.
It’s easy to blame hormones if she's not all hot in the sheets these days. But if she thinks it’s the pill she's on (and doesn't want to get off of it for physical or, well, birth control reasons), you may assume you guys are doomed to a cooled-off sex life.
Not so fast. One study in 2016 in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that hormonal birth control wasn’t a strong factor in libido in long-term couples—relationship factors make more of a difference. The lesson: The pill doesn’t determine your bedroom destiny, so if she's having issues, it's worth considering the other points on this list, too.
Rapini sees many women in their mid-thirties who tell her that their partner is a great husband and dad, but they’re not great in bed.
“I ask them to evaluate how important that is for them,” she says. If you both want a family right now, dad skills might win out over bedroom skills for the time being. But if it starts interfering with your sex life for the long haul? Ask her if there's anything you could be doing differently or if there's anything new she's been wanting to try. It can be awkward, but it may be as simple as her wanting a bit more foreplay.
“Down the road even the great lovers are no longer great lovers,” says Rapini. Shockingly, “in long-term relationships, more women than men are likely to get bored,” she adds. Being open to exploring new things, like going on a date to a sex toy store or looking online for ideas can help bring new, satisfying experiences into your bedroom.