Eleditor’s note: Elephant is a diverse community of nine million readers and hundreds of writers (you can write too!). We are reader-created. Many blogs here are experience, opinion, and not fact or The One Right Point of View. We welcome all points of view, especially when offered with more sources and less invective, more frankness and less PR. Dislike this Op-Ed or opinion? Share your own take here.
Sex can play a vital part in maintaining a healthy loving relationship, however, when there is a lack of interest from one side or even both, it can cause frustrations and resentments to build up.
These tensions can lead to two people drifting further apart and possibly even separating, rather than bonding and building solid ground for the relationship to thrive.
There could be a million and one reasons why women (and men for that matter) may not be initiating sex. Due to so many variables, there isn’t one answer that suits all.
Fortunately though, even when there are many reasons at the root of why sex is not forthcoming, things can still be rectified simply.
It is even possible that someone is initiating sex but the signs are not noticeable by the other party. As we are all different, we each have differing ways of interacting with one another. Sometimes looking out for more subtle signs is all that is needed to understand that sex is on the menu.
When a relationship is healthy but the sexual side of it is not, many types of questions can come up—thoughts like:
Doesn’t she find me attractive?
Are we going to break up?
Has she fallen out of love?
Have I done something wrong?
Has she lost all interest?
Often, lack of sex has nothing to do with any of the above.
Here are some of the more common reasons why sex may not be initiated:
Stress can dramatically affect our sex lives. When we are feeling stressed our bodies release cortisol. When this chemical is regularly in our system, our sex hormones can be affected, leading to a lowered and sometimes depleted libido.
When we are stressed our energy levels are also lower, so even some of the simplest of tasks can feel like a chore. Regular exercise, eating healthier, relaxing more, meditating and Yoga are all good ways to quickly reduce stress. Taking time out to take look after ourselves will mean that we are in a much better position to take care of all the other things also important to us.
Lack of confidence and insecurities can be a huge passion killer for both men and women. Feeling sexy and desirable can be intoxicating for both men and women. Confidence is one of the biggest turn-ons in bed.
When we forget about appearances, lines, wrinkles and body shapes, we can concentrate on the most important thing: the intimate connection happening between two bodies and minds.
Her partner’s stopped initiating sex.
Tit for tat is one of the most dangerous games to play within a relationship. It just leads down a murky path which will always gets muddier. If one person has stopped initiating it is more beneficial to look at the reasons why and try to resolve them. Withholding sex or holding onto resentment will only add to bring further frustration.
After taking care of all the responsibilities of the day, quite often there just isn’t any energy left to be thinking about sex by bedtime. Looking at ways to cut down on chores and delegating where possible will free up time.
Leaving the housework for a night or canceling a commitment every now will give the opportunity for sex to be prioritized. We should never put our partners last or be too busy or too tired to value and work at keeping intimacy and love alive. Although it might not be viable daily, a little forward planning can go a long way to ensure that sex happens regularly.
Rejection hurts, especially if we don’t understand the reasons for it. If sex has been turned down in the past, it can make re-initiating in the future even more difficult. When we talk with one another about the reasons that we are not in the mood for sex, we will most likely find that our partner is understanding.
Fear of rejection can affect so many things—sex within a loving relationship shouldn’t be one of them.
Low sex drive.
Often there can be an imbalance in sex drives. If one drive is lower than the other, it can reduce or even stop initiating from happening. A low sex drive doesn’t always mean there is a problem elsewhere within the relationship—it is just that the desire to have sex is not high. If one partner’s drive is high when the other’s is low, it can be difficult to see it from the others perspective.
Putting too much pressure on having sex can be a huge passion killer. Sex should always be a mutually engaging act. When one person wants it much more than the other, it can be a kind of turn-off. This cycle can turn into something vicious: the less it’s available, the more desirable it can become.
Creating the right balance for sex is of utmost importance. If a person is feeling obliged, sex will most likely not be welcomed. Relaxing together and playfully teasing before rushing into sex can work wonders in easing pressure.
Even forgetting about sex for a little while and just working on giving and receiving pleasure in more sensual ways (without penetration) can help bring back desire.
Some women find it much more difficult than men to orgasm, so if the male regularly climaxes before the female, sex can seem less appealing. Problems with climaxing can be physical or psychological. They can be caused by any one, or even, a mixture of the above reasons or others not mentioned.
Sex can still be incredibly enjoyable without having an orgasm and when we concentrate our attentions on enjoying the intimate moments, the end result won’t be as big of a deal. Enjoy the journey, without looking to the destination. If climaxing is a reoccurring problem, it is always worth talking to a doctor or professional for further advice.
Outdated ideas about gender roles.
Old stereotypes which led society believe that men should be the ones making the first move can also make initiating sex feel intimidating for some women. Being equal within a relationship regarding roles and responsibilities is the only way to have a fully balanced and healthy relationship.
This doesn’t mean that everything has to be constantly done equally—it just means that we should always feel equal to our partners. If one person is initiating all the time—because that works in that particular relationship—then great! It is when that is not working that there is a problem.
Trying to understand one another on a deeper level and discussing what works best for each unique coupling is vital. What goes on in other relationships is irrelevant. A partnership is about finding out what works best for the two people concerned, not comparing to how much sex others are having or how often someone else’s partner initiates.
Sulking, using scorecards, building up resentments and arguing about sex will just make things even more difficult to resolve. Tensions will be raised and anxieties can creep in making the chance of a resolution even more difficult.
Open communication, being honest with one another and treating the subject with love, respect and care can be enough to turn things around.
Sensuality and soft seduction can help the body balance with the mind. Once the mind is paid attention to, the physical side should come much more naturally.
Taking time together to figure out ways so that both sets of needs can be met will assist in bringing the partners closer together on all levels.
And as men and women are not so different, all of the above can also be considered when men are the ones who are not forthcoming when it comes to initiating sex.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Author: Alex Sandra Myles
Editor: Renée Picard
Photo: Pixoto Consuela Rusu