How To Say "No" When You're Not In The Mood

by Marisa Riley

Let me set the scene: it’s about nine o'clock on a Tuesday night, and your significant other is in the mood.. but you’re le tired. How do you say no to sex with your partner without hurting their feelings?! Rachel Kramer Bussel (cool last name), an author/editor who specializes in erotica and sex writing, rounded up her own suggestions (and those of her sex smart pals) for Salon on how to say no when you’re not in the mood. Together they came up with some pretty solid, ok, really solid solutions:

1. Say something early on

Lauren Marie Fleming, a sex blogger who goes by Queerie Bradshaw (you may have heard of her), talked to Bussel about how she takes it personally when her partner rejects her sexual advances. To deal with it, her partner will tell her early on if she’s not in the mood to eliminate the possibility of rejection.

2. Give a “true reason”

Fleming explains that receiving a solid reason, rather than just a “No, thanks. K, night!” can benefit your partner immensely. “I’ve found that giving me a reason helps tremendously. When she used to just turn out the lights and roll over in bed, I assumed I did something to turn her off.”

3. Ask again later and rain checks

Bussel also spoke with Kristina Wright, author of “Bedded Bliss: A Couple’s Guide to Lust Ever After,” about how she says no to her husband of 23 years. Wright says she needs a bit of build up to get in the mood, and often says no up front. Her solution: not saying just “no” but adding an “ask me later” to the end. When you’re busy, it’s hard to predict if you’ll be in the mood hours or even minutes later. Wright also recommends suggesting a rain check!

4. Saying no isn't a bad thing

Reid Mihalko, a sex and relationship "geek," explains for Bussel that saying no can be a positive thing. Mihalko says sometimes he’s looking for a connection rather than sex. “We practice, when either of us says no to a request, answering with, ‘Thank you for taking care of yourself,’ which reinforces that it’s OK for us to say no while also subtly turning the rejection into a good thing. When I know my partner can say no freely, it allows me to trust their yes, so when we do have sex, I don’t worry whether or not they’re into it.”

5. Advance notice

Bussel personally notes that she’s a big fan of advance notice. Making a plan helps her get in the mood ahead of time, and being spontaneous — especially when she’s trying to get some rest — isn’t always a good thing. Sure, spur of the moment romance is great and all, but so is drooling/fantasizing over the idea of it all day.

I believe what Bussel and her pals are trying to say is, well, you should communicate with your partner! There’s nothing worse than leaving someone in the dark without an explanation. Whether it’s a rain check, a reason, or even a thank you, talking seems to be the the best thing you can do in this situation. Thanks, Salon!

Image: Bustle Stock Photo