Are you struggling in a sexless marriage or relationship? Are the two of you avoiding sex?

If it were that easy to dive in and talk about sex, the two of you would be doing it already. Here are some tips for handling it when one or both of you have been avoiding your sex life.

Be willing to bring it up

If you and your partner haven’t been talking about sex, much less having it, someone has to speak up first. It’s going to take a little courage to bring it up, but that’s how it has to start. There will never be a perfect time, so stop waiting for just the right moment and ask your partner if the two of you can talk. Bring up the fact that you know the two of you have been avoiding the topic, and that you want to work on making your relationship better.

Be persistent

Be prepared for some push back or some procrastination from your partner as you start talking about improving your sex life. Even more important than bringing it up in the first place is making sure you are keeping it on the table. If you are serious about tackling the topic, your partner will read that. They will either step up and engage with you, or they’ll dig in harder and refuse to address it with you. Your determination matters. No matter what response you get from your partner, you can make it clear that you’re not willing to sweep it under the rug anymore.

Focus on the positive

It certainly helps to ground the work in the hope for a better relationship, sexual and otherwise. Talk about how much your relationship matters and how much you’d like to see it thrive. Talk about your willingness to own your part of the problems and to want to focus on moving forward. There might be difficult issues that have to be addressed, but it can still be done with a focus on the positive improvements you want to see.

Play your cards first

Don’t just blame your partner or expect them to talk about how they’re feeling. It’s best to start by revealing what’s been going on for you. How have you been feeling about your sex life? What are your contributions to the sexual issues? Where have you been avoiding intimacy? How have you deflected or ignored bids to have sex or to talk about it? The more you can lead with your own self-confrontation, the better the conversation will go. On the other hand, don’t allow your partner to hide behind that and just blame you. Each of you needs to tackling your own part of the equation if things are to improve.

Get rid of the expectations

One of the biggest reasons for avoidance of sex is unmet expectations. Usually, at least one of you feels broken or inadequate. Something hasn’t been going well, and avoidance became the way to deal with it. Give yourselves permission to get rid of all expectations about what sex should be. Understand that any sexual dysfunction might change what you can experience in sex, at least in the short term, and let that be okay. Figure out what’s possible for now and learn to enjoy that. Freedom from expectation means you can be free to play again. Once you’re reconnecting in your sex life, sex often becomes easier and many of the problems disappear.

You might also enjoy: 

Sexual expectations – treat sex like growing to the playground

Sexual desire – does one of you want more?

When it feels like work to have sex

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