Part of being intimate is being sexual together. When there is a problem in the sexual relationship it can be very difficult for couples. This article looks at some of the reasons why a sexual relationship might be difficult. Loss of desire can be common in both men and women. The partner who does not want to have sex may seem as if they have ‘shut down’. It may seem as if he or she never initiates sex or has lost interest in the other partner.
If something is happening in your sex life this can lead to other difficult feelings, ranging from minor frustrations to severe distress.
There may be many reasons a couple stops having sex. These can be psychological, physical, due to your immediate surroundings or other pressures.
The psychological factors
Psychological factors are thought to play a major role in sexual problems. How you feel mentally can have an impact on having good sex or not. The way we think can be very powerful and once you find yourself in a negative frame of mind it can be very hard to change.
Think about how you are feeling. Perhaps this could be influencing your partner too, how do you think they might be feeling?
Where you live and your immediate surroundings might also have a part to play. For example, you may find yourself living with your parents for a period of time and this could affect your sex life. Remember, we are living in an economic crisis which may mean living with parents, dealing with unemployment or worries about money and debt. This could be putting extra pressure on your sex life.
To enjoy your sex life most people need privacy and time alone together. Sharing crowded space with others can really have an effect on your sex life.
What is your situation at the moment? Could it be causing a problem for you and your partner?
Sometimes there can be a physical problem. How do you feel about yourself? Everybody is conscious of how they look, perhaps you have anxieties about your weight or physical appearance. Accepting yourself as you really are and being happy with it has a huge part to play.
Other physical problems might include erectile dysfunction, low desire, vaginismus, pain during intercourse and premature ejaculation. If you are concerned about any of these problems seek advice from your GP.
Other physical problems might follow the birth of a child. Both women and men (although more commonly women) can be anxious about having sex again after the birth of a child. New parents can feel exhausted with the lack of sleep, busy lives and the stress of a new baby making it difficult to get back to the way it was before. There is more information on this in the section on becoming a parent. You can also post on the Relationship Forum
We are bombarded by sexual images in the media showing beautiful men and women with perfect bodies and this can be hard to cope with. This can make us feel as if we should be sexual all the time but real sex lives can fall very short of these perfect images.
It might also seem as if friends have the perfect sex lives, plus sex is a difficult subject to confide in others about, so it can seem as if you are very isolated and alone.
But sex is very personal for each and every couple, what seems right for you may not be for another couple. Each of us has our own needs and desires but you should be able to have a frank and open discussion about what you’d like and any problems you might have.
All of these pressures and factors can make us feel worse and add to the spiral of negative thinking. If you can break the cycle and start to think positively about yourself and your sex life it will help you get back on track. Watch the Relationship Insight The Circle of Thoughts, Feelings and Behaviours.
As a start you could try the exercise Building intimacy in the Goals and Exercises section.
If you are concerned about any of the issues raised above seek medical advice.