11 Signs You’re Not Enjoying Sex With Your Partner As Much As You Should Be
It can be quite the bummer if you feel like you're not enjoying sex with your partner as much as you used to. And if the problem is ongoing, it can even start to drive a wedge between you, which will obviously have a negative impact on your relationship. So, for that reason (and many others), ongoing boredom in the bedroom is an issue you'll want to address.
Recognizing that you're no longer enjoying sex is an important first step. But figuring out why? Well, that can be a bit trickier. Once you've ruled out health issues like depression, which can affect your desire and ability to have sex, it'll be time to talk with your partner about other possible explanations.
By creating an open dialogue, it'll make it easier to find solutions, while also keeping you close. And that is, in many ways, another inspiring reason to figure all this out. "Sex is bonding," Dr. Ben Michaelis, a clinical psychologist, tells Bustle. "When members of a couple have a strong intimate physical connection with each other, they feel closer and the relationship bond, including feelings of commitment and loyalty, are enhanced."
To make sure all of that remains a priority, read on for the signs you need to work on sex life, all in the name of having a better time in bed — and creating a healthier relationship.
1. You Put Off Having Sex And Always "Have Something Else To Do"
If you're not thrilled with your current sex life situation, chances are you'll be on the lookout for ways to avoid climbing into bed. "There's always something that needs to be done — work, school, friends that seem more important than spending time with your other half," Vijayeta Sinh, PhD, a relationship expert and psychologist, tells Bustle.
While it's fine to not be in the mood, if it becomes a pattern, "this usually means that something's amiss about your emotional connection and/or physical connection with each other," Sinh says. And that's definitely worth figuring out.
To start, look for ways to address underlying issues, such as anger, hurt feelings, or other relationship problems that could be impacting your feelings towards your partner, and thus your desire for sex. Then, begin working though the problems together, perhaps with the help of a therapist. Once you feel better mentally, you'll likely go back to being in the mood.
2. You Fantasize About Somebody Else During Sex
It's totally normal to fantasize during sex. If you think about a cute stranger for a few minutes, it doesn't mean you despise having sex with your partner, or actually wish they were somebody else. But if you need to imagine others in order to get off, take note. "This is a telltale sign that something is not working in your current relationship," Sinh says.
It's not great if, in order to enjoy yourself, you need to check out and mentally go elsewhere. Fantasies are all well and good, but it's important to be present with your partner, too, in order to get the most out of sex. So think about why this is happening, and consider other ways to spice things up that don't require you to glaze over.
3. You've Actually Been With Someone Else
Fantasizing is one thing, but cheating is something else entirely. As Michaelis says, "The classic, and accurate, sign that you may not be enjoying sex with your partner is [...] engaging in a romantic experience or different type of sexual act with someone else."
Of course, cheating is a complex issue. Usually, it points to personal problems, including unmet needs in the relationship that are driving you to seek comfort and attention elsewhere. And if you keep these things a secret, and don't give your partner a chance to change, it will impact your sex life.
On rarer occasions, the desire to cheat can also stem from an unsatisfying connection, including unfilled fantasies. It isn't always easy to talk about these things, but it's worth a try if your goal is to improve the sex you have with your partner — and save your relationship.
4. It Feels Like Sex Has Become A Chore
While not the most romantic thing, sometimes it's necessary to schedule sex in a relationship, all in the name of guaranteeing time with your partner. It will help you both get the love and attention you need, no matter how busy your lives become. And it will ensure that you keep your connection strong.
That doesn't, however, mean sex should feel like a chore. If it does, it could be a sign you're not enjoying sex with your partner as much as you should, Dr. Steve McGough, the director of R&D at Women and Couples Wellness, LLC, tells Bustle.
If you're just going through the motions, consider talking to your partner about ways to have more fun. Do you need to go on spicy vacation? Try new positions? Chat about a few shared fantasies? It can all help make sex fun again, and keep your spark alive.
5. You Hardly Ever Fantasize About Your Partner
Another sign you aren't enjoying sex? If "you don't think or fantasize about your partner or look forward to being intimate," McGough says. Of course, what you imagine when you're alone is completely up to you, and may or may not include your partner 100% of the time.
But take it as a sign if you don't daydream about them, look forward to getting it on, or feel butterflies after the fact. It likely means things have gotten a bit stale in the bedroom, and what you're doing as a couple is no longer capturing your attention.
Again, this will be a great time to be honest and talk more often about how you've been feeling, including what might help make sex fun and exciting again. It'll require both you and your partner working together in order to create the type of sex that leaves you thinking about the next day at work.
6. Your Partner Is Always The One Who Initiates Sex
While not everyone is the type to initiate sex, take note if you typically have the ability but just... don't. As McGough says, it may mean you're not enjoying yourself. You're no longer inspired, or looking forward to it, so you're perfectly happy to continue watching Netflix well into the night.
When that's the case, take things to another level with your partner. Ask them what they like best, when it comes to getting in the mood, and turn it into a sort of game. Would they love it if you sent sexts throughout the day? Do they love a steamy picture? Try it out and see how it feels.
If you aren't necessarily in the mood right away, knowing that you're turning your partner on can ultimately be a turn on for you. And just like that you'll be ripping each other's clothes off.
7. You Don't Feel Comfortable During Sex
It's impossible to enjoy sex if you don't feel comfortable, whether it be physically due to an illness, or mentally due to depression, or because of a self-esteem hang up. So if you no longer climb into bed and feel free to fully relax and enjoy yourself, you may have landed on your hang-up.
"This can often cause stress and makes it very difficult to feel sexually aroused," McGough says. The best thing to do is tell your partner exactly what's been holding you back, so you can work on it together. Chances are, whatever is holding you back is likely something they never even noticed, which can be quite comforting. They can assure you that you're awesome, and there's no reason to feel awkward or tense.
Of course, seeing a doctor if you're experiencing pain or other health concerns is important, too. Sometimes you don't realize how much a health problem was holding you back from enjoying sex, until that health problem is gone.
8. You're Afraid To Talk About What You Want In Bed
It can feel weird to talk about what you do/don't like in bed, but the more you do it the easier it will become, especially if you bear in mind how it will eventually lead to a more fulfilling sex life.
"Communicate with your partner by affirming what you like," Dr. Tammy Nelson, a sex and relationship therapist, tells Bustle. Be honest in the lead-up to sex, as well as during sex, and provide positive direction.
Saying things like, "'I love it when you go to the right,' is much more affective and a better way to change your sex life than 'I hate it when you go the left,'" Nelson says. It can be a part of your dirty talk, or a gentle suggestion. Over time, you'll feel more confident speaking up, and your partner will be more informed, which will make for way better sex.
9. You Always Feel Disappointed After Sex
It'll be pretty difficult to thoroughly enjoy sex if your needs aren't being met, especially if your partner consistently lets you down or leaves you hanging. In fact, "one of the biggest reasons that women report for low desire or avoiding sex with their partner? Disappointment," Nelson says. It's only natural you won't want to seek out sex, if it isn't fun or fulfilling.
And that's why, to guarantee yourself a better time, it can help to speak up. Your partner can't make a change or try out all the right moves if they don't know what you want or what they're doing wrong. And vice versa. Again, communication is and always will be the best answer to most sex woes.
Keep in mind, though, that sex isn't always going to be "perfect." There will be nights when you're both tired, or one of you is sick, and the sex is boring or nonexistent as a result. It's only if this is an ongoing issues that you should be concerned.
10. You Think Sex Is Supposed To Be A Certain Way
If you talk with your friends about their sex lives — or even watch sexy movies or porn on a regular basis — it's easy to feel like yours doesn't measure up. So go ahead and get comments and critiques and wild expectations out of your head.
"There is no normal," Nelson says. "Focus on what works for the two of you [and] don’t worry so much what other people say you should be doing. Work on what you need to enjoy it."
For example, if you and your partner enjoy a relatively tame sex life, and it all feels really great and keeps you close, don't feel as if you need to go out of your comfort zones in order to keep up with a friend's freaky sex tales. If it's working for you, that's all that matters.
11. It Seems Like You're Letting Your Partner Down In Bed
Low self-esteem can play a huge role in whether or not you enjoy sex, especially as it pertains to performance. In fact, "one of the main reasons couples aren't connecting is lack or interest, boredom, and the loss of self-esteem that can accumulate as a result," Derek Newton, the founder of Simpatic.us, a site dedicated to helping couples explore their fantasies, tells Bustle.
If things haven't been too hot in the bedroom lately, it can really take a toll, and make it seem like you're no longer on the same wavelength. It can even cause you to worry to the point you're no longer having fun, or allowing yourself to be fully in the moment.
The best way to remedy this situation? You guessed it! Talk to your partner. If you're feeling bored, tell them. If you're struggling with depression, let them know. Together you can work on how to have a more fulfilling sex life, so you can officially have fun again.
Dr. Ben Michaelis, clinical psychologist
Vijayeta Sinh, PhD, relationship expert and psychologist
Dr. Tammy Nelson, sex and relationship therapist
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