We have little or no sex

There are many reasons that could have led to the situation you now find yourself in. The most common ones are relationship or lifestyle problems (fatigue and stress), but they may also be physiological causes, e.g. reduced hormone levels, medical problems that are causing issues with libido, erections or orgasms, side effects of medications, pregnancy or aging.

However, if it turns out that the lack of sex in your relationship has deeper roots, that you feel blocked or have no hope for change, it is worth seeking the help of a specialist – a sexologist, (sex) therapist or sex coach.

Find out what sex coaching is and/or arrange a free virtual coffee with me, during which we will assess how I can help you best. Seeking professional support is not something to be ashamed of, it just shows your commitment to improving your relationship and it may be a breakthrough step in restoring intimacy and the sexual bond with your partner.

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In the meantime, go ahead and try these 5 proven strategies that will help you initiate changes in your relationship:


Reduce your stress level

Some of the more common reasons for no sex in long-term relationships, apart from conflicts in the relationship and the lack of an emotional bond, is lifestyle and, above all, fatigue and stress. Cortisol, the stress hormone, is the enemy of sex.

In times when we live fast, intensively and are focused on achieving goals or tasks in most areas of our lives, fatigue and stress cannot be avoided.

However, stress can be reduced by using increasingly popular and proven relaxation techniques, such as mindfulness or meditation (I recommend meditations conducted by Joe Dispenza, available on YouTube).

If this is not for you, look for your own active ways to relax, e.g. walking your dog instead of watching Netflix, playing on the computer or having a glass of wine. Engage in sports or any other form of exercise (cycling, running, dancing, climbing, yoga, etc.) which you enjoy.

Remember, it’s about enjoyment and relaxation, not achieving further goals. Instead of 120%, do 80%. You will achieve the best results by carrying out all of these methods if you can and, of course, regularly.

Stress can also be reduced through touch. Touch triggers the production of oxytocin, serotonin and dopamine in our body and can reduce stress levels almost immediately. Because oxytocin is extremely effective in reducing cortisol levels, if we are stressed, the best and most simple method is to immediately hug someone. Also try to empathise with yourself, be here and now – not in the past or future; this can help reduce anxiety.


Create a safe space for mindful communication

Talking about sex, even in a general context, can be difficult and sometimes seemingly impossible to initiate. Especially when everyday communication between you and your partner is limited to managing household matters (who will take the children to school, do the shopping, make dinner, etc.), starting a conversation about the state of your sex life can really surprise your partner and bring out their defensive side.

Or maybe you both simply don’t have the desire or energy for a “serious conversation” after another hard day at work? Or maybe you talk to each other about everything but THIS?

In each of these cases, it is worth paving the way and creating an atmosphere in which it will be easier for you to initiate this or that conversation about difficult or embarrassing topics.

In this context, reducing the level of stress is important because stressed people are more irritable and argue more easily. Emotional stress causes us to withdraw into ourselves and communication with another person, even someone close to us, becomes much more difficult. Try to set aside 10-15 minutes every day to spend time together and talk about how your day was, how you are feeling at that moment, what you are grateful for. Think of one small thing that would make you feel good for the rest of the day, of what you can do to become even better partners for each other.

Try to be with each other here and now, it is important that you do not interrupt each other and listen carefully to the other person. What is also important is that you talk to each other, about yourself and your feelings, and that you find time for your relationship amidst the multitude of responsibilities.

No matter the situation, your relationship deserves more than just what is left of you by the end of the day. This will not only help with this particular conversation, but it will re-introduce a positive routine of showing real interest in your partner’s life.


Think about why you deny yourself sex

Remember that the lack of sex in a relationship does not always mean there is a problem. It is only when you (and/or your partner) feel this lack translates into an emotionally painfully situation that is starting to have repercussions for your mental health and you are seeking a change to contend the negative impact this has on your relationship.

Sometimes people say “no” because they simply don’t want to have sex, but most of the time there are other reasons behind the refusal.

Most often, women refuse, but men also refuse, and just like women, for reasons often not related to sex.

There may be many reasons for refusal from both sides, including: emotional problems in the relationship, discomfort associated with initiating sex, psychosexual immaturity resulting from upbringing, cultural conditions or lack of sexual education. They can be hormonal disorders, depression, problems with body acceptance, difficulties with erection or general sexual performance or perceived inability to satisfy the partner.

“No” in sex may mean resistance, defending yourself against something, setting boundaries or a play of power in a relationship. Remember that two people are involved in this game, when one refuses sex, the other feels rejected or hurt, and until you both realise what the real reasons for the refusal are, until you talk about it and work through it, the relationship will be a constant test of strength.

Think about what is the real reason for your refusal or withdrawal from sex and try to talk about it.


Rebuild your emotional bond

Intimacy is the basis of a healthy sexual relationship. Rebuilding intimacy requires patience, because you have to spend time with each other, not next to each other, but together. Carefully, with commitment, in the here and now, and you need to find time to talk about plans and dreams, both common and individual ones, and show each other appreciation. Show your partner with words and/or gestures that you appreciate them.
It also requires courage to be yourself, to reveal your thoughts and feelings, to allow your partner to get to know you again. In long-term relationships, we think we know our partner inside out, but is this really the case? We won’t find out if we don’t talk.

At this stage, when you have created a safe space for communication, you can try to talk about the state of your sex life. An attempt, because this first conversation may fail, but then you have to make another and yet another attempt.

You can say how this situation affects you, what feelings it generates in you, that you miss closeness, touch, them, maybe that you are afraid of losing them, etc.. By opening up, you give your partner a chance to do the same.

(Un)fortunately, only an honest conversation, during which you openly talk about your desires, fears and problems that may affect your sex life, can help restore intimacy and sex in your relationship. It is important to choose a good moment to talk about what is or is not happening between you in the bedroom, e.g. during a walk together or in the evening, when no one or nothing will disturb you.

It is important to approach this conversation with empathy, understanding and willingness to listen to the other person, as well as motivation to develop a common solution.

Remember that you’re not enemies but a team, working together to resolve a common concern.


Start with non-sexual touch

Dr. Patti Briton, a pioneer of sex coaching, says that couples who don’t touch are usually couples who don’t have sex in their relationship. Rebuilding a sexual bond doesn’t always have to start with what most people call sex, i.e.intercourse/penetration (sometimes it’s not even an option), nor should it even be.

Start by introducing non-sexual touch into your everyday life. Hold hands while walking, hug (then oxytocin is released, the so-called hormone of emotional bonds, which reduces cortisol levels), just touch without sexual intent. These gestures of affection can help revitalise your sense of closeness and create space for more intimate moments.

Some couples may find it easier to introduce sex gradually, just as we do when we learn new things. You can start by rediscovering sensuality by engaging in activities that will stimulate your senses. Plan (and add to your calendars) a romantic dinner, create the right atmosphere with relaxing music, ask your partner to put on sexy clothes or underwear of your choice, give each other a massage, take a bath together, etc.. When we do not have this vision of a goal (and with it the pressure of the sexual act), but instead focus on sensuality, touch and pleasure as the main experience, good sex is still a possibility to happen along the way.

For other couples, individual or shared masturbation can be exactly what they need. Even if your first instinct may be against the idea of masturbation, many studies (including those published by the American Kinsey Institute) confirm that it is a healthy and natural outlet for sexual energy and helps us get back on track. You can support each other by reading or listening to erotica together or, if you like, pornography. Masturbation may or may not result in orgasm, but it is worth remembering that during orgasm serotonin (the hormone of happiness) is released, the cardiovascular system is activated and the immune system is strengthened, and sometimes a good orgasm is simply an antidote to pain, anxiety or stress.

With these five actions, you will begin the journey towards rebuilding the emotional and sexual bond in your relationship. Remember, it’s never too late to change!