What To Do If Your Partner Stops Caring About Sex
Sex drives come and go. You can find yourself riding a wave of wanting it all the time for months and months, then find yourself in a slump, without much interest in sex at all. Since that can be the case for you, that, of course, can also be the case for your partner. It happens and it's normal; no one can be at the top of their sex drive game all the time forever and ever.
But when your partner stops caring about sex, it's hard not to take it personally; it's hard not to wonder if it has something to do with you even if you know deep down this isn't about you. While there are many reasons why someone may become disinterested in sex, it's important to realize that, for the most part, it's about something greater than the physical aspect of sex. In other words, it's not necessarily about you or your relationship, so it's important to be supportive during this time. It's an issue that needs to be tackled together with openness and zero ridicule.
So what should you do if your partner stops caring about sex? Here's what bestselling author and relationship expert Susan Winter recommends.
1. Don't Make Them Feel Bad About It
Once you separate that fact that it's not about you or anything you did, you should be able to see clearly enough to realize you need to not, well, for lack of a better word, be a jerk about it. But you do need to be honest about how it affects you.
"Don't nag, condemn or diminish your [partner]" Winter tells Bustle. "But let them know how the lack of sexuality affects your feelings of attraction and commitment. I know it's hard. You're in a relationship with them and lacking what's rightfully yours in terms of the romantic partnership model. Short of cheating, this puts you in a bind."
2. Be Receptive To Their Reasons
Once you put your feelings out there to your partner, it's important to be receptive to their reasoning as to why they don't care about having sex at the moment. Although those reasons could be due to external forces — antidepressants, stress, anxiety, illness — if it's not and it's a "just because" situation, that's something to seriously consider.
"If their heels are dug in and you're hearing that you just 'need to get over it,' then you have good cause to rethink your relationship," says Winter. "However, in a healthy partnership your [partner] will be incentivized to do everything in their power to keep you happy and emotionally invested."
3. Focus On Other Parts Of Your Relationship
Yes, sex is a really important part of a relationship, but as anyone will tell you there are things more important than sex. Since that's the case, you want to focus on those other things so you can strengthen them.
"Focus your energy on the other aspects of your partnership that are working well," says Winter. "The more you focus on this problem the worse everything looks. Get out of the house. Do something fun with your [partner]. Share an activity you both enjoy. Strengthening what does work in your relationship reinforces the impulse to continue intimacy and connectedness."
4. Try A Reboot
After awhile, even the best relationships can become stagnant. That's why it's important to reboot to get things going again. If a reboot can do wonders for your computer or phone, then it's very likely to have the same effect on your relationship and sex life.
"Couples can get stuck in their own routine and forget to live beyond their patterns," says Winter. "It's easy to become predictable, and nothing kills the romantic spark like predictability. You need to break the patterns of habit, and try something spontaneous and/or new. Kidnap your partner for an afternoon drive in the country. Have a picnic basket available for an impromptu lunch in nature. Book a concert or go to a function you'd both enjoy. The point is to do something you wouldn't normally do — to reboot your partner (and yourself)."
5. Get Out Of Town
Similar to a reboot is taking a vacation. Not only does everyone love to get out of town and spice up their surroundings, but "new input creates new output," says Winter. You want that new output.
"Taking a vacation breaks the monotony of your routine in a big way," says Winter. "New input creates new output. Sometimes a new location can reinvigorate one's love life. New scenery, smells and experiences can activate our senses and awaken us to pleasure."
6. Scare The Hell Out Of Your Partner
OK, so here's what you're going to do: You're going to hide in the closet, dressed as a ghost... no, I'm kidding! Although, if you think hiding and dressing as a ghost would be beneficial for your partner, then by all means go for it.
"Studies have shown that fear increases attraction," says Winter. "The boost of adrenaline can reawaken our circuitry, and with that our sexual desire. Breaking your routine creates new connections and experiences. Add in new dynamics to boost your excitement level. It may indeed pay off in your favor."
7. Talk To A Professional
Even if you and your partner haven't seen a therapist before, if your partner has stopped caring about sex, consider going — I would think they would want to get to the bottom of it, too! Besides, relationships can benefit from couples therapy, in one way or another.
"Investigate the root cause for your partner's lack of desire," says Winter. "Is it physical? Psychological? Emotional? Identifying the root cause [with your partner] enables you both to begin the process of healing this disconnect."
At the end of the day, there's probably a very good reason why your partner no longer cares about sex. It's just a matter of figuring out what that reason is and working on it. People go through waves in their sexuality based on external and internal forces, so just because your partner isn't interested now, doesn't mean it won't change. More than anything, it's about communicating with each other about what you both want and need from the relationship, then working on the part that needs to be fixed.