You Want More Sex, But Your Partner Doesn't—What to Do?
What to do if you’re in the mood, but your partner isn’t feeling it
All relationships go through ups and downs, and it takes work. When you’re in a marriage, that’s even more true—you can’t expect that just because you love each other, that everything will magically work out without putting in the effort to choose each other every day.
A couple’s sex life changes along with its relationship—remember, you’re no longer those giggly, can’t-get-enough-of-each other newlyweds anymore. Maybe it’s been a few years into your relationship, perhaps there are kids and other responsibilities that take up your time. And because of this, you realize that the way you want each other isn’t the same as it used to be. So, what do you do?
Accept that it’s probably not about you.
It’s true--It hurts to be rejected. But, usually, that rejection isn’t because of you. It’s because of what’s going on with your partner.
Perhaps they’re tired after a long day of doing remote work and taking care of the kids. Maybe they think the timing is off because they have an appointment in 10 minutes, or they’re dying to sleep (and are afraid that they’ll fall asleep while in the middle of doing the deed!).
Sometimes it can be a serious reason, like a hormonal imbalance that wires your partner’s brain to not be in the mood for sex, or it can be a slightly silly reason, like feeling self-conscious after eating dinner.
For whatever reason, the only thing to do after feeling rejected is to accept it, and if they don’t give you a reason why and you want to know, you can ask if everything’s okay. Asking is better than jumping to conclusions—which are usually catastrophizing for an otherwise straightforward, simple reason.
Go with the change.
Reminiscing over your “glory days” as a “hot for each other” couple may be fun for a few minutes, but when you start comparing it to what you have now, it’s only going to make you miss out on all the good things you have going for each other now.
Change is inevitable, even in the strongest of relationships. When your relationship changes, that’s a good thing. It means that instead of holding on to the past, you are both adapting to what your life is right now. It also means that you’re learning from your life, taking those lessons by becoming a better version of yourself and a better, stronger couple.
When your sex life changes, either in its frequency, or it’s turned from exciting to routinary, that doesn’t mean you’re on the road to celibacy. It just means that it’s evolving, and that’s good.
Resorting to whining, nagging, or the silent treatment will not get you any closer to what you want. Imagine this: If after whining, nagging, or giving the silent treatment, you do manage to get your way, doesn’t that feel like you forced the issue, or your partner just went along with it, but didn’t want to? That’s even worse than being rejected!
If you’re a fan of whining, nagging, or the silent treatment, it’s time that you know this: Those don’t work. It leaves the other person either annoyed, confused, or unaware of what’s happening and will go about their usual life, making you angrier and feeling more rejected than ever.
If your partner isn’t in the mood, rather than going dead silent or replying to a short but passive-aggressive “fine” or “okay”, respond as calmly as possible. Depending on your relationship, you can ask them if they’re feeling okay or if there’s something you can do. You can also be upfront about how you’re feeling, or you can stay quiet. Whatever your course of action is, remember to say what you mean. Acting or talking differently from how you feel will not help the situation.
Try again—this time, with better timing and more hope for the best.
When do you know when the time is right? Gather up what you’ve learned from the previous times when your partner wasn’t in the mood. It’s usually a bad case of wrong timing, right? Your timing might still be off from time to time, but if you’ve learned from the past, you’re better off now than you were back then.
Your sex life, like in all aspects of your relationship, takes work and dedication. Think of your relationship as a machine with a lot of moving parts—when one part isn’t performing as well as the others, the whole machine doesn’t work as well as it should. Work on your intimacy with your partner through going with the changes, communicating, and trying and trying until you both feel like you’re back on track. When you both choose one another and do your part in making your relationship work, the rejections and the dry spells will soon be a thing of the past.
• Everyday Health, What to Do When She's Not Interested in Sex, May 5, 2014
• Healthline, What Do You Do When Your Partner Doesn’t Want to Be Intimate?, August 31, 2020
• WebMD, 6 Ways to Get in the Mood, 2021
• WebMD, Why Women Lose Interest in Sex, 2021
About The Writer
MAITA DE JESUS
A mom of one 6-year-old girl, Maita started her writing career as an intern for a popular local women’s magazine back in 2004. Her career has seen her assume leadership positions in several wide-reaching publications: she’s served as managing editor for Good Housekeeping and Total Girl Magazine, and as editor-in-chief for Disney Princess Magazine.
She became a full-time freelancer in 2015, to help focus on raising her daughter as a single mom. In the course of her freelance career, she’s published parenting, lifestyle, and personal finance content for a variety of online portals.
The views and opinions expressed by the writer are his/her own, and does not state or reflect those of Wyeth Nutrition and its principals.