11 Reasons Your Partner Doesn't Want To Have Sex

by Emma McGowan

When you make a move but your partner doesn’t want to have sex, what’s the first thing you think? Probably that they’re not into you anymore, right? That’s a really common immediate reaction that a lot of people have when they make sexual overtures and get turned down. Personally, I know that I tend to spiral off into self doubt when I’m in the mood and my partner just isn’t. Is he not into me anymore? Are we having sex enough? WHAT DOES IT MEAN??

Luckily, I’ve gotten better at training my brain out of anxious spirals recently and I cut off those thoughts before they go from whispers to shouts, but that initial one — that maybe my partner just isn’t interested in sex with me now that we’ve been together for a few years — still pops up. Kind of a lot, if I’m being honest. And that’s when I have to start thinking a little more logically about the situation.

Almost every couple is going to have at least a slightly mismatched libido — there are very, very few of us out there who are so synced up that both people want to do it at the exact same time, every time. And while, sure, sometimes people do fall out of attraction to their partners, I think if you looked at every single instance where one partner wants to have sex but the other doesn’t, you’d find that the majority of the time? Lack of attraction isn't the the reason.

So what are the reasons your partner might not want to have sex with you right this minute? Here are 11 possibilities.

1. They’re Tired

Look, I know that when I’m tired, I don’t want to do anything except like, read and pass out. Sex takes a lot of energy! Maybe they just don’t have it in them right now.

2. Work Is Stressing Them Out

Work stress not only gets people’s brains churning but also can raise cortisol levels and high cortisol levels are associated with lower sexual desire. So if your honey is dealing with a lot at work right now, could be why they’re not able to focus in on sex.

3. They’re Just Not Horny Right Now

This one might be solvable if your partner has responsive desire but don’t be pushy about it. If they’re just not feeling it, then they’re just not feeling it. Let them know that you are and then let them be.

4. They Have A Headache

I know this is the most cliched excuse in the world for not wanting to have sex (and totally brings up images of like, Betty Draper in the early seasons of Mad Men) but headaches are the worst and absolutely get in the way of sexy times.

5. They Just Masturbated


6. They Don’t Like Morning/Evening/Afternoon Sex

Maybe you want to get it on in the morning and your partner can’t do anything for the first hour after waking up, including sex. Or maybe you love it in the afternoon but they’re too distracted. Regardless, if you’re approaching your partner at the time of day that they’re not up for getting down, their rejection of sex is not a rejection of you.

7. They’re Dealing With Family Stuff

Like work, families can be hella stressful and those of us who are close with our families know particularly how much family problems can become personal problems. If there’s a lot going on in your partner’s family life, that could be on their mind when you approach them for sex. I mean, nothing is less of a turn than Grandpa’s heart failure, right?

8. They’re Sick

Stuffy noses and aching coughs do not an amorous partner make.

9. Their Hormones Are Out Of Whack

Sometimes people have a low sex drive because their testosterone levels are low so if not wanting sex is a persistent issue, it might be time to get that checked. (And that applies to people of all genders, not just cis men.) On the other side of the spectrum, hormonal fluctuations related to menstrual cycle can make some people not want to have sex. Like personally, I don’t want to be touched at all right around my period.

10. They're Not Feeling Great About Their Body

Sometimes poor body image makes people really, really not want to get naked.

11. All Of The Above

Or any combination of the above. The grand point being: It’s probably not about you, boo.

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