Is your partner always asking for sex? Are “I’m just too tired” or “I’m not interested” your common responses? This indicates a power struggle dynamic common in relationships where one partner feels overwhelmed, or where the balance of responsibilities seem unequal. I’m going to go out on a limb and say point-blank that if you’re in a committed relationship NOT WANTING SEX IS A BI-PRODUCT OF OTHER ISSUES! Knowing why you are responding negatively to requests for sex is the first step.
The Benefits of Sex
- Sex increases feelings of intimacy and closeness
- Sex reassures your partner that they are attractive
- Sex helps your partner feel loved
- Sex is a fundamental expectation of an intimate relationship
- Sex helps alleviate stress
- Sex helps you build a better immune system
- Sex improves your self-esteem
- Sex decreases depression and anxiety
- Sex increases your libido
- Sex offers natural pain relief
- Sex improves your sleep patterns
- Sex lowers your blood pressure
But you don’t want it…. OK let’s explore this a bit. The questions are broad to include different times of life. You may have a young family, a very busy household, demanding careers, dealing with menopause or health issues. Somewhere the balance is off. Hormone issues aside, think about each question and if the answer is NO move to the next one. Not all questions will apply to your situation.
Not Tonight Honey:
Why Are You Avoiding Sex?
- Has the attraction waned? Is hygiene a problem? Your partners weight or appearance?
- Is it anger? Are you angry or annoyed with your partner? Your life? Your finances?
- Are you Resentful? Do you feel unappreciated? Over worked?
- It is the timing? Do you need a moment to relax first?
- Is this a control issue? Is sex used as a manipulation tool?
- Are orgasms hard to achieve? Or does Sex just feel like work?
- Do you feel sexy and confident in your body? Are you struggling with self-love or changes to your body due to pregnancy, aging, or weight?
THOUGHTS TO PONDERIf sex helps your partner feel loved and cared for, what is the real reason you are turning them down? Saying NO to sex with your partner, denies them a fundamental emotional and physical connection with you. Good sex won’t save a bad relationship, but lack of sexual intimacy will.
Note: “Partner ” is used throughout this post as this is not a gender specific issue. Attraction, Anger, Resentment, Timing, Manipulation, Orgasms, and Body Image are universal subjects in all relationships, whether they are a problem issue or not.
If attraction is the issue, this needs to be addressed. First with yourself. What specifically is the problem? Hygiene? Lack of effort to dress nicely and be presentable? Bad breath? These are all things that should be discussed. “Hey baby, I’m feeling a little frisky.” Give them and hug, a slow kiss and follow it up with: ”Why don’t you have a nice hot shower and meet me in the bedroom?” Wink, Wink.
If the issue is weight, tread softly here. Weight gain stems from many things, including: health, self-esteem, anxiety, depression, illness and much more. If the issue is weight, then you also need to think long and hard about what your relationship is based on. A good relationship is based on friendship. Your partner is more likely to put effort into their health, appearance and weight, if you are truly supportive and provide love and affection freely.
Withholding sex can actually be a contributing factor to your partners problem with weight. Nagging, hinting at diets, and policing every bite they eat, doesn’t help either. Losing weight is a personal decision and unless they are intrinsically motivated, nothing you say is going to “get them to diet”. In fact, the more you say about it, the less likely they are to do it, as in their mind, this just rewards YOUR bad behaviour. Instead, think about what you do like about them? Scent? Humor? Kindness? Focus on these traits.
As we age sex becomes less and less about looks, and more and more about our emotional connection. Thinks about make sex more playful, or relaxing, instead of based on appearance. By changing the narrative and focusing on the positive, you may actually invoke the very change you are looking for.
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Anger is a powerful emotion and many times the true reason for with-holding sex. Lack of sex is not the issue, the anger is. Until you address what is making you so upset that you don’t want intimacy with your partner, the problems will only compound. Are you uncomfortable expressing anger? Is this an emotion that you were raised to suppress? Have you learned to be passive-aggressive? If anger is holding you back from wanting to be intimate, it is also holding you back from experiencing joy. If anger is a problem for you, consider counseling. Learning how to discuss issues that make you angry can be a learned skill. Three books that we highly recommend are:
Letting Go of Anger by Ronald T Potter – a guide to healthy anger expression. This book examines the 11 most common styles of anger and helps you learn how to communicate your anger in healthy ways. Getting angry is a natural reaction, expressing it appropriately to the situation can bring better resolution
Anger Management Workbook for Women by Aaron Karmin – A modern no-nonsense anger management workbook specifically for women. Positive and productive anger management tools to strengthen the most important and overlooked relationship in your life – You!
Your Personality Tree by Florence Littauer– an older book but 100% relevant to today, this book includes personality tests for all members of your family. Understanding each personality type can give you a better perspective on what communication styles are most effective. Whether it’s showing love or resolving conflict, understanding which aspects are personality traits and what are learned behaviors will help you build a strong and loving home.
Resentment is very similar to anger, but it is actually compounded anger combined with bitterness and a negative condescending attitude towards your partner. Resentment lingers, festers, and is fed by constant negative thoughts, and a mind that is always looking for additional flaws or slights that can be “added to the list”, in order to justify the resentment. Again counseling can be very constructive in giving you the tools to learn positive ways to release resentment It is important to realize this is actually a problem.
FOOD FOR THOUGHTIf you have spent the whole day thinking negative thoughts about your partner, and sharing all their little flaws with your friends, or family or anyone who would listen… NOTHING they do, no matter how nice, will makeup for that. They can walk in the door with a dozen roses, take you to dinner, tell you that you’re beautiful and it won’t count for anything. A resentful heart won’t appreciate the effort, it will look for more flaws.
Resentment starts and ends with you. If you have problems dealing with resentment we highly recommend the following reading as a starting point.
9 Steps to Heal Your Resentment and Reboot Your Marriage by Tanja Pajevic – Excellent read. This book offers real solutions to heal resentment towards your spouse. All the information is practical and helpful. Based on a post which went viral, this book not only resonated with me, but with women globally who have experienced the same thing.
Resentment: How to Let Go of Bitterness in an Entertaining Way by Barb Bailey – A fun and creative way to explore past hurts and letting go of resentment for profound change here and now. Using real life stories, some funny others a bit shocking. This book is linked to a website where you can share the laughter and tears of your own journey.
Relationship Magic: Waking Up Together by Guy Finley – Not your usual self-help book, this book is filled with ways to look at common issues, and stop fights dead in their tracks. Learn how to use your differences to become more loving and kind to one another.
Sex doesn’t always mean you need to orgasm. (OK this gets a lot of women riled… but really? Here’s a thought… why not provide 2 quickies, followed by a longer session, with you as the focus?). Hear me out here… If timing is an issue, let’s face it, sometimes the end of the day is the only time we have. Some nights, out of sheer exhaustion, a quick kiss and a good nights sleep are all that you can manage together. But, bedtime can also be good “cuddle time”. Consider changing how you think about sex. If sex helps your partner connect to you, why not? Most quickies are 15 minutes or less. If quickies are all you ever have and this lack of attention is making you NOT WANT SEX…RENEGOTIATE!
If your partner is always asking for sex, try initiating. This will surprise and reassure your partner! A hand-job, BJ or a quick romp, can dispel a ton on anxiety and reassure your partner that you love them. Quickies go both ways too… sometimes your partner may be ‘too tired to put on the whole performance”. You don’t always need an orgasm for sex to be pleasurable or “worth doing”. Sex should not be work. Negotiate. Express what you expect from the longer session. “ I love when you ______, and I really want _____.” Stating your expectations or needs, from a positive perspective, gives your partner the opportunity to plan accordingly. This suggestion only works if it’s balanced with longer more fulfilling sessions of play. Read How to Talk About Sex with Your Partner
Sex as a weapon or tool for manipulation, is a dangerous game. It tells your partner that your affection and love are based solely on obedience to your wishes. When sex is used as a form of manipulation, it hurts the relationship, and it hurts you. Many men refer to this as being in the “dog house”. Sex as a weapon also implies that only one person wants sex, and the with holder is only complying if they are rewarded first.
Not to say that sex can’t be used as a reward, if the sex is already satisfying. “Honey I got a little something special planned in the bedroom for your birthday” can be fun. We aren’t discussing that type of reward system. We are talking about when withholding sex is actually a form of punishment.
Why Manipulation is Dangerous to Your Relationship
- It Conveys that Sex is a Commodity – no longer something enjoyed for mutual pleasure but as a tool for “personal gain”. It also says you “earned” this, but I don’t necessarily want to. Are you taking one for the team in your own love life?
- It Signifies a Mommy/Child Dynamic – go do your chores and I’ll give you sex. If you dangle sex as a way for your partner to pull their weight and contribute equally in your relationship (chores, childcare, etc.) you are in fact rewarding BAD behaviour. You have essentially trained your partner to not do his part until a reward is offered.
- It Implies “LOVE is Earned” – I’ll have sex with you only if you do what I want, or give me what I’m asking for. Why not just go out and pay for it then? They already are. It also allows the person not receiving sex to justify bad behavior. “Well I’m not going to get laid anyway” mentality.
Healthy relationships are based on RESPECT. If your relationship has dissolved to this, remember it only takes one person to change for change to happen. It might take your partner a while to adjust, to trust your new direction, but they will start responding differently once the new pattern is established. You deserve a relationship filled with love and affection, kindness and friendship. And listen ladies, if you can potty train a 2-year old, you have the skills to build a healthy more satisfying relationship.
Love Unfu*ked by Gary John Bishop – “Love is patient, Love is blind…” Until it’s not. Then what? Real Talk, for real people who want their relationships to actually work.
Couples That Work by Jennifer Petrigieri -This Book focuses on how dual-career can tackle and resolve the challenges they face throughout their life together. This applies to (Stay-at-Home Career Moms too)
Difficulty reaching orgasm can make sex feel like a lot of work. This is especially true if having an orgasm is the only reason sex seems “worth it”. This can be a combination or many factors which are thoroughly discussed in the following articles. Click the link to read more:
Orgasms – Types of Women’s Orgasms and How to Talk About Sex With Your Partner
Body Image & Your Libido
Body Image and feeling sexually attractive are key components to wanting sex. If you are turning your partner down due to feelings of insecurity about your own looks, or changes in your body, remember this… GOOD SEX DOES NOT REVOLVE AROUND APPEARANCE ALONE. We all struggle with body image at some point in our lives. Holding yourself to an ideal in order to feel sexy, not only deprives you of a wonderful sex life, but this negative self-talk can contribute to low self-esteem.
Your body doesn’t define you as a person. Did you know that only 2% of women consider themselves “beautiful”. That is tragic. Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes, and external beauty is only skin deep. Your partner loves you and wants to share pleasure with you. They see you through an entirely different lens. They see the miracle that birthed your children, your kindness, love, sense of humor, generosity and your soul. Looks are only 10% of the equation. Why give this 10% more value than all the other more important traits. Seriously just go to Walmart and look around at all the mommies and couples. Size is not a factor. Consider counseling. Don’t let a negative body image, damage a good relationship. Happiness is a choice and it begins with you.
When Women Stop Hating Their Bodies by Jane R Hirschmann & Carol H Munter – this book empowers women to stop thinking that something is wrong with their bodies and that dieting is the solution. Giving strategies to think about our problems differently, rather than eat or diet over them, allowing food to resume it’s proper place in their lives.
What Do You See When You Look In The Mirror? by Thomas F Cash – helps readers devalue stereotypes, overcome self-consciousness, end self-defeating behavior, and establish healthy thinking patterns. The problem isn’t your body it’s the way you think about yourself.
Positive change begins with you. Whether you need to change your mindset, alter how you approach lifes issues, or change how you communicate with your partner, you are the master of your own happiness. When you change (your mind, your approach, or your attitude) those around you will automatically respond to this change. You are a beautiful, powerful and amazing, don’t tell yourself otherwise.
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