During the first few months of my relationship, my partner and I were having sex every day. Then, I didn't want to as badly — but I felt like I should to preserve our passion, so I did. Eventually, though, I realized I was having more sex than I wanted. I'd gotten it into my head that happy couples have sex every day, so I pushed myself to even though I wasn't really feeling it.
There are a lot of reasons people might have more sex than they're actually comfortable with. Sometimes, they think their partner does, whether that perception is accurate or not. Other times, they might feel like there's something wrong with them if they don't want more sex. In my case, I realized, I wanted to be the "cool girl" whose every move pleases men, and I didn't want to encourage the stereotype that women are less sexual than men. But once I was honest about how much sex I wanted, I realized my partner was on the same page. We both wanted to please each other so badly, we weren't speaking up for our own desires.
There's also such a thing as having more sex than you want to because your partner's pressuring you, which is a form of sexual abuse. (That's a situation you need to get out of as soon as possible, and here are some signs you might be dealing with it.) That's not what I'm talking about here, though — I'm talking about pushing yourself into more sex than you want. Here are some signs you might be having more sex than you really want to deep down.
1You're Scared Of Your Partner Cheating Or Leaving You
A lot of people have more sex than they want to because they're afraid that if they had less sex, their partner would get what they wanted elsewhere, Marissa Nelson, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist and AASECT Certified Sex Therapist, tells Bustle. In this case, talk to your partner about your fears and both your sexual needs so they can assuage this worry.
2You're Scared Of What Having Less Sex Would Say About You
Nelson has seen many men push themselves to have more sex than they want due to societal expectations for men. Or, if you're like me, you might feel like having less sex means you're failing or confirming a stereotype as a woman. Either way, it's important to remember that your job isn't to prove anything but just to do what feels right for you.
3You're Afraid To Say "No"
If you're afraid of disappointing people, that could come out in the bedroom as a tendency to respond to all your partner's advances, says Nelson. Since sex out of guilt doesn't tend to be great sex, you and your partner should talk about ways to make sure you're both enthusiastic about every session. Sometimes, all it takes is a bit more effort on their part to get you excited.
While pain during sex can have many causes, lack of arousal — or getting aroused but then pushing past the point where you're enjoying it — can be one. "When sex starts to hurt or become painful, it may be time to reel it in a bit. Those extended sex sessions can certainly take a toll on the body," Astroglide's resident ob-gyn Dr. Angela Jones tells Bustle. "If you become dehydrated from all the extras that sex can at times entail, you need to take a break. Your vagina becoming swollen or sore from lack of lubrication is a sign of this. Sore muscles, bruises, or sensitivity to touch may also be a sign that your body needs a break."
5It Takes A Long Time To Orgasm
This can also have a lot of causes, but one possible one is a lack of arousal. The more turned on you start off, the less distance you have left to reach the finish line. Personally, I've been finishing way more quickly since I started having sex less often.
It's important to have sex only when you really want it — not when you're just OK with it. If you notice any of these signs, talk to your partner so you both can make sure nobody ever feels obligated to have sex.