If you’ve been living in the world this past week, you will not be surprised by the following statistic: Nine out of 10 married Croatian men would rather watch the World Cup on TV than have sex with their wives. The study was conducted by Ipsos Puls agency and published in the Zagreb paper 24Sata, but I imagine this statistic would hold in many countries, for men and women. (The exact numbers of the Croatian study: 40 percent of men aged 30 to 50 were willing to forgo sex for one month, if that meant they could watch the World Cup.) That’s right, soccer may be sabotaging your sex life. Here are five other things that are secretly responsible for your sexual rut.
1. YOU’RE WORKING OUT WRONG
We’ve always known that riding bikes does some kind of number on our junk (or at least we’ve always suspected as much.) It looks like there's some truth to this: A study conducted by the Yale University School of Medicine found that lady cyclers who position their handlebars lower than the level of their seats often experience numbness in their pelvic floors — in such a position, the seat puts increased pressure on the perineum tissue, leading to a decrease in sensation. Minimized sensation in the pelvic region is bad for sex, obviously. So if you haven’t been feeling like sex has been doing it for you — and this feeling corresponds, time-wise, with your recent cycling kick — you should probably re-evaluate the way you’re sitting on your bike.
2. YOU’RE DEPRESSED
Depression, whether or not you’re being treated for it, is a not-so-secret saboteur of sex lives. Not only do many depression meds decrease sex drive and/or make it difficult to orgasm, the condition itself may have you feeling pretty blasé about sex, which can then spread to your partner. As Dr. Stephanie Buehler writes in her book Sex, Love, and Mental Illness , “One symptom of depression is anhedonia, a lack of pleasure in things that were once enjoyable…Sex is often one of those activities in which a person loses interest.
Add to that fatigue, lethargy, and a tendency to want to be alone and there are plenty of reasons for depressed persons and their partners to experience a decline in their sex life." While certainly not a cure-all, therapy (whether couples or individual) is a constructive way to work through these issues. If you’re on SSRI medication, talk to your doctor about the sexual side effects you’re experiencing and whether there's any way to mix up your treatment.
3. YOU’RE SNORING
If you’re no longer sleeping in the same bed as your partner because you’re snoring or s/he is snoring, you're likely in a sexual rut, purely due to the logistical difficulties this arrangement poses — it’s difficult to have sex with someone who’s sleeping in a different room. However, it’s not uncommon: The New York Times reports that 25 percent of couples sleep in separate rooms due to one partner’s aggressive snoring. And the more time you spend sleeping apart, the more permanent this sexual rut becomes. Tin B. Tessina, psychotherapist and author of Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting About the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage, tells the Philadelphia Inquirer that “sleeping apart can contribute to the disconnect that plagues marriages and relationships.” Furthermore, “instead of spontaneous interaction, couples have to make a planned effort to meet up. Over time, the loss of sexual activity can lead to a lack of intimacy and bonding.”
So: make it a priority to have your snoring (or your partner’s) treated! Sleep apnea affects roughly 30 percent of snorers, and a study conducted by the Internal Society for Sexual Medicine found that women with sneep apnea were at a much higher risk of having sexual difficulties.
4. YOU'RE ADDICTED TO YOUR PHONE
Candy Crush is amazing, but it could be crushing your sex life. Same goes for Instagram, Tinder, Farmville, and whatever else compels 15 percent of adults to check their phones or read a text WHILE ENGAGING in a sexual act. The Durex survey, conducted in the UK, also found that 33 percent of adults surveyed found that technology is actively getting in the way of their sex lives. 60 percent admitted to spending more time playing with technology in bed than playing with their partner in bed.
This issue is not so easily solved; it would be impossible to return to a time when people didn’t poop with their iPads and doctors didn’t botch surgeries because they were sexting. However, you can fight against the sexually-sabotaging effects of technology by making a concerted effort to set aside in-bed, partner playtime (yes, sometimes sex needs to be scheduled, and that’s OK), during which technology use is completely off-limits. Hide your phone in the couch downstairs, if that’s what it takes.
5. YOUR TV SHOWS HAVE RUINED REALITY FOR YOU
You may really like your boyfriend, or your husband, or your booty call, or whoever it is you’re boning with somewhat regular frequency. However, TV sex is super hot, and the people who have TV sex are even hotter. Unfortunately, this can dull your reality, making you less excited about having sex with your definitely-not-Eric-Northman partner.
Jeremy Osborn, PhD, authored a 2012 study on the ways television affects couples. “People who believe the unrealistic portrayals on TV are less committed to their spouses and think their alternatives…are relatively attractive,” he says. I'm not saying don't watch this season of True Blood...but maybe lower your expectations of what men's abs should look like in real life?