Things go up and things go down, both in life and in love. If we’re lucky, those low moments will inspire some steamy make-up sex. Unfortunately, the more common reality is that they will result in no sex at all. Research suggests upwards of 20 percent of married American couples have not had sex in the past year. Google search shows that a lack of sex remains the top complaint among married individuals. The good news is that there’s plenty of preventive action you can take to avoid falling into these statistics. Being able to identify the warning signs is one of the best ways to avoid a sexless situation. Listed below are a few ways to tell you’re headed straight for the eye of a sexual dry spell.
The Problem: You’re (Extra) Busy
Life is hectic. Work places incredible demands on us. It often keeps us out of the house and away from our partners for far too long. “Being busy with your own tasks can certainly keep a couple from having the time to connect sexually,” says Dr. Donna Oriowo, the founder of AnnodRight, an organization dedicated to sex therapy and sex education.
The Solution: Sit Down and Work out a Schedule
Fortunately, Oriowo says, there are a few easy ways bring sex back into your busy schedule. “Do the doctor prescribed ‘boring’ thing and schedule a date night or even time for sex,” she says. “You will both know there is dedicated time for you to reconnect.” Another option is to sneak in a quickie before you start in on a busy day. “Wake up an hour or so earlier and start your day off with connecting sexually with your partner,” she suggests. “It’s a great way to reduce stress and avoid the dry spells that can come from trying to schedule it between the bulk of a to-do-list.”
The Problem: You’re Not Communicating
Having found “the one” doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve found the perfect ying to your yang. Syncing up your sexual appetite takes work, especially in the context of a long-term relationship. Maybe you’re having a hard time maintaining what you were putting out during the honeymoon phase of the relationship.
The Solution: Break the Ice
Maybe kids have entered the picture. Maybe you’ve aged a few years since the start of the relationship, and you simply don’t crave sex in the same way you used to. It might be a little uncomfortable at first, but the only way to get back on the same page is to keep those lines of communication open. That is to say, you’ve got to talk about it. “Think about how much sex you’d like to be having,” says Oriowo. “Find a rhythm that works for you, and stick to it.”
The Problem: You’re (Extra) Stressed
Obligations can create a physical distance between partners. Seriously, if you guys work in different area codes, you might be looking at a lot of miles between you during the day. But there are other things in life that can add to that mileage. “Stressors are a daily part of life, but when they get beyond a certain level, the desire for sex can disappear,” Oriowo explains. “To make sure stress doesn’t get between your getting in the sheets, you will need to know more about you.”
The Solution: Be Aware of What Stresses You Out
Oriowo suggests thinking more critically about what triggers stress in our lives, and how we typically respond it. Finding ways to manage those triggers will help prevent the stress from becoming overwhelming. “When you figure out that formula, stress can be one less issue for the bedroom,” she says.
The Problem: You’re Arguing In Silence
It can be hard to have sex with someone when you’re mad. Of course, fights will happen. Most of the experts actually say it’s a healthy thing. It means you’re communicating, at least. You’re exposing a particularly vulnerable side of yourself to your partner, too. But that’s not always how we operate when we argue. Sometimes, we go inwards, and that can have incredibly damaging effects on our relationship.
The Solution: Resolve Lingering Issues Aloud
“When there are things going unsaid within a relationship, some people… shut off sex until the issue is resolved,” says Oriowo. “When things are sort of rocky, it can take some people right out of the mood. Try making sure the lines of communication remain open so that you can talk about what’s going on with your partner instead of existing in huffy silence and in the wasteland of no sex,” she adds.