There are a bunch of obvious reasons why you might not want to have sex on any given night: you’ve had a hell of a day at work (long bath > sex), you’re dealing with a bout of depression or anxiety, you haven’t slept a full eight hours in a week. You get the idea. It all boils down to the fact that sometimes you just don’t have the desire or energy to get naked and roll around.
But since a womanâ€™s libido is complex and multi-faceted, there can be other issues at play, too, some that you may not even know are problems. Maybe youâ€™re not feeling at home in your body or your partner said something that you just canâ€™t seem to shake. We turned to Houston-area sex therapistÂ Mary Jo RapiniÂ for some answers. She says if you were to come see her, concerned about your lack of libido, these are the things sheâ€™d talk to you about. Hereâ€™s what you need to know and how to get back on track:
Youâ€™re holding onto a grudge
If youâ€™ve been with your partner for a while and are holding onto anger, itâ€™s going to be difficult to feel all lusty for them. â€śA woman needs to feel readily loved and connected to their partner. Resentment prevents you from feeling free to escape during sex, which is key to wanting and enjoying it,â€ť says Rapini. She suggests doing something nice together, like going to a movie, and then talking about your issue after. Itâ€™s a nice way to break the ice and have an honest conversation.
Youâ€™re not feeling great about your body
Itâ€™s probably not a shocker to have this on the list, but it’s worth keeping in mind. You may be avoiding sex because of something your partner inadvertently said about your body, or because youâ€™re dealing with body hang-ups that are preventing you from getting in the mood. Practicing self-acceptance is helpful, certainly. However, Rapini says that comes easier when youâ€™re making healthy choices (eating well, exercising, practicingÂ stressÂ management). Even better: doing those things with your partner, which can strengthen your bond, something that â€” you got it â€” gets you in the mood.
You jump from one relationship to the next
Interestingly, having more sexual partners doesnâ€™t make you a better lover, says Rapini, who adds that most people tend to be â€śaverage.â€ť She says that when youâ€™re a serial dater, youâ€™re continually searching for that perfect partner to knock your socks off. If getting in and out ofÂ relationshipsÂ seems easy, you may also be dealing with an underlying fear of intimacy. And listen, thereâ€™s 100 percent nothing wrong with exploring and having fun. You do you. Just pay attention to your why.
You think itâ€™s your birth control pill
Itâ€™s easy to blame hormones if youâ€™re not all hot in the sheets these days. But if you think itâ€™s the pill youâ€™re on (and donâ€™t want to get off of it for physical or, well,Â birth controlÂ reasons), you may assume youâ€™re doomed to a cooled-offÂ sex life. Not so fast. One study in 2016 in theÂ Journal of Sexual MedicineÂ found that hormonal birth control wasnâ€™t a strong factor in libido in long-term couples â€” relationship factors make more of a difference. The lesson: Taking the pill doesnâ€™t determine your bedroom destiny, so if you’re having issues, it’s time to seek out the real cause.
Your partner is looking at other women
Yeah, it makes you angryâ€”WTF. But really, it hurts, and makes you want to do anything but jump in bed. â€śYou should definitely tell your partner you donâ€™t like when they do things like check out other women or Google women right in front of you. Express that it makes you feel bad about yourself, and it lowers your sex drive,â€ť says Rapini. â€śWhen guys hear that, they listen,â€ť she adds. Oh, and itâ€™s not a â€śbitchâ€ť move to do itâ€”telling them what you want is anything but nagging or controlling.
Certain medications and underlying medical problems, likeÂ thyroid disorders, can squash your sex drive. If relationship issues arenâ€™t a factor and youâ€™ve been grappling with other symptoms (like a change inÂ appetiteÂ or mood), see your doctor. They may be able to evaluate your perscriptions to see if youâ€™re taking anything that has sexual side effects, as well as consider if thereâ€™s a medical issue that should be addressed. Your libido isnâ€™t just â€śall in your head.â€ť
Heâ€™s not great in bed
That brings us to our next point. Rapini sees many women in their mid-thirties who tell her that their partner is a great husband and dad, but theyâ€™re not great in bed. â€śI ask them to evaluate how important that is for them,â€ť she says. You may want a family right now, so dad skills win out over bedroom skills. The remedy: Speak up about what you want in the bedroom, to help get his abilities on point.
Youâ€™ve been together for a long time
Welp, letâ€™s hope that love always grows. â€śDown the road even the great lovers are no longer great lovers,â€ť says Rapini. Shockingly, â€śin long-term relationships, more women than men are likely to get bored,â€ť she adds. Being open to exploring new things, like going on a date to aÂ sex toyÂ store or looking online for ideas can help bring new, satisfying experiences into your bedroom.
This article was originally published on Sex & Relationship.