It’s easy to have unreasonable expectations when it comes to sex.
Between the media, the “sexperts” and the braggadocio of locker rooms, it’s tough not to get a skewed view. Our desire to define “normal” leads us to seek out information – both dubious and legitimate – from a zillion sources. We want to know who has sex. When. How often. How long.
We compare our personal love lives to those of others, wondering whether we’re the oversexed slut or the desperate spinster.
But the fact is, many people stop having sex. From newlyweds to 50+ singles, people hit dry spells – for some, the rains come; for others, the “spell” becomes a drought.
There are many reasons for this, some physiological, but many not. And, contrary to popular belief, it is not always the woman who loses her desire. Men often stop having intercourse of their own volition.
Lack of sex in a relationship is only considered a “problem” when the partners’ desires aren’t in sync. If and when a physical disconnect occurs, however, many couples find themselves in divorce court.
Surprising Reasons Couples Stop Having Sex
This is a shockingly common reason that couples refrain from intimacy. For women, the hostility often relates to frustration with their partner regarding housework and priorities (i.e. prizing football over discussion). For men, when they feel criticized and “hen-pecked” in other aspects of the relationship, they often withhold sex, finding it difficult to ignite their masculine impulses.
Typically a female problem, many women – especially as they age – find intercourse dry and painful. Should a woman wish to deal with it, however, there are a number of lubricants and arousal oils that can help.
Many people in relationships, men and women, experience sexual performance anxiety. Sometimes it relates to cosmetic concerns like weight gain and aging, while other times it is nervousness about performing the act itself. (This is especially true of men with erectile dysfunction.) Rather than discuss their issues with a partner, many avoid sex altogether.
Many people have the belief that their partner doesn’t enjoy sex. Not wishing to impose or risk being “shot down,” partners may suppress their urges.
While many people use pornography to supplement their sex lives, some find themselves supplanting actual intimacy with simulated sex. Pornography is anonymous and of infinite variety, leading many to feel more comfortable indulging their (potentially less mainstream) impulses in 2D.
More Common Reasons
- Low libido
- Affair and / or doubts about marriage
- Less attracted to spouse’s altered physique (weight gain / loss)
- Feels undesired / unloved
- Past sexual trauma
- Side-effects of medication
Sexless relationships are more common that most people realize, but there are a number of ways to restart the proverbial engine. Couples should discuss any sexual issues they have while endeavoring to be open and understanding of a partner’s feelings. Through communication and patience, there is no reason a couple can’t have the frequency, quality and duration of the sex they desire.
Sources: Dr. Yvonne Fulbright, FoxNews, “He’s Just Not Up for It Anymore” by Bob and Susan Berkowitz, http://www.longtermlovers.com/
Katie is a freelance writer living in Seattle, covering relationship topics that range from “How to Pick a Prom Date” to senior online dating. She has three cats and a husband, and wonders why “pet interference” didn’t turn up as a “surprising reason” in her research.