Most people who’ve been in long and even short term relationships and have engaged in sexual activity with their partner know that your sex life is never constant. Things change with time, routines, kids, and sometimes that fiery passion evolves into gentle intimacy.
There are a lot of factors that come into play when it comes to sex, but one thing is certain: nobody really has as much sex as they’d like you to think. Whether that’s your friend or your single sister who’s got a new man each week, or your buddies down at the bar. Social pressure to have sex all the time is immense, making couples feel like failures against an arbitrary standard.
It also puts unequal pressure when one partner wants sex less than the other, resulting in dissatisfaction, hurt egos, and relationship problems. You don’t need to feel guilty, though.
Each relationship is unique
Sex is a healthy and normal part of a relationship. Each couple has their own relationship to sex and intimacy, with no right or wrong figure for frequency. Some couples are okay with having sex a few times a month, while others more frequently, or others still struggling to make time for it a few times a year.
The first step to stop feeling guilty is to stop comparing. Don’t compare your relationship, don’t compare your partner, don’t compare your body; don’t compare your preferences. You’re not boring or unexciting if you prefer ‘vanilla’ sex, or if you’re not having sex on the couch. If you follow a schedule for sex and it works for you, that’s also okay.
Life gets in the way
You don’t need to feel guilty about being preoccupied with other things. Be it raising your kids, or running a home or business, or worrying about making ends meet. Sometimes you’re just not in the mood and would much rather read a book along or cuddle and watch T.V.
We love associating people’s self-wroth to their sex lives, but you’re not less of a man or woman, or even asexual for not wanting sex. You’re just human. Asexuality is often misused to disregard other issues with people’s libidos and sex lives.
Your partner gives you space
It’s important to find that respect from your partner, and if they’re extending that to you, not making you feel guilty about this, don’t doubt them. It’s easy to read into things, assuming your partner is cheating, or not attracted to you, but that’s not a rabbit hole worth going into.
Forgive yourself, love your body, and focus on healing before you internalize guilt for not wanting to have sex. It’s one of the most damaging things to your self-esteem. Instead, work together to address the root cause of your issues and start there. As a sex therapist based in Palo Alto, I work with couples on intimacy issues on the regular and would love to offer my services to you. You can contact me for relationship counseling here.
Recognize that intimacy is beyond just sex, and you and your partner might already have a healthy relationship in that department. If not, I’m here to help.