A new client recently began our session with "I'm just not that into sex anymore. It's not that I don't think about it, I just don't have the same kind of drive for sex that I used to have." Lack of interest in sex is one of the most common concerns I see as a sex coach. It affects all kinds of people of all relationship statuses, but its roots can be found in similar areas. Singles come to me explaining that they don't think about themselves sexually and they feel out of touch with their own sexual energy. Couples tend to come to me after dating for some time and feel that the sex they have now isn't as fulfilling as the sex they had at the beginning of their relationship.
Here are the two main categories of clients that I work with and the typical reasons they may be feeling less into sex:
The stressed-out single
Today the average person is busier and more consumed by distraction than ever before. Most of us work long hours, maintain busy social calendars and have numerous commitments to family and friends. To stay on top of everything, the average person checks their cell phone approximately 80 times a day. Why should this matter when it comes to our desire for sex? Because we don’t have an endless supply of energy. If the energy we do have is used to accomplish things outside of ourselves all the time, it can't be used to connect to our deepest needs if it's been depleted. In my experience, this is the number one reason why people can go weeks or months without even checking in with themselves about their sexual needs.
On top of energy depletion, we are also tapped into what feels like an endless supply of potential sexual partners through online dating sites and apps. Dating can be another stressor. It can be fun, for sure! But there's a lot that goes into finding a match, sparking up a conversation and moving that conversation into real life. Some folks are so burned out by the process, that online interactions are all these relationships end up being. Which is fine if you’re a digisexual, but most of us are looking for in-person sexual experiences.
The long-term loving couple
Some couples are concerned that they're not having enough sex. This might be a legitimate issue if they've seen a dramatic drop in frequency or quality, or the concern may be rooted in the myth that the sex you have at the beginning of a relationship will continue to be the sex you have for the duration of your relationship. In general, there is a natural bend towards less frequent and less explosive sex as a relationship develops over time. On average, most long-term couples have sex about once a week. Knowing these two facts can sometimes alleviate any concerns the couple might be having.
Couples are not immune to stress as individuals or as a unit, so some of the stressors I mentioned previously for single people apply to couples as well. Couples also have sources of unique stressors including but not limited to shared household and financial responsibilities, childcare, managing in-law relationships, finding time for individual pursuits and making sure that the overall health of the relationship is good. This is a lot of unsexy stuff that's all part of a loving relationship.
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If any of the above sounds familiar, then I am happy to share with you some of the ways that I work with clients to help them tap back into their sexual connection to self and their partners.
Ask yourself "What kind of sex life do I want?"
Answering this question is a worthwhile activity for anyone regardless of their relationship status. Because sexuality gets deprioritized in our busy lives, it's a good idea to take a few minutes to think about what kind of sex and sensual experiences you would like to have as part of your life. This can give you some clarity about what to work towards. If you are partnered, do this activity separately and then share your results. There may be some things on your partner's list that will surprise you!
Respect your need for pleasure.
I hear all the time from clients think about sex regularly, but that they don't allow themselves to engage in fantasies. Your body has natural sexual rhythms, and it will communicate to you what it wants. Your job is to listen. Of course, you do not have to indulge in every fantasy that pops into your brain, but take note of when you're having fantasies and rather than pushing those thoughts away allow yourself to entertain them a little longer. No one is going to know, and you'll benefit from maintaining your connection to your body's need for sexual pleasure.
Find pleasure in everyday activities.
When we're stressed out and living in our head, we forget to use all of our senses, which are crucial for tapping into our sexuality. That’s why I encourage my clients to develop mindfulness as they move through the world. This can start with the simple act of invoking all of your senses while enjoying your cup of coffee or tea first thing in the morning. Create time to hear the sound of the boiling water or coffee pot brewing, take in the sight of the liquid being poured into your cup, smell the aroma, feel the heat of the mug in your hand and notice the taste. This is a classic mindfulness practice that can set the tone for your day and get you rooted in your body.
Put sex on the calendar.
This may sound cheesy, but for some couples putting sex on the calendar is a great tactic to build back that anticipation for sex that was there at the beginning of courtship. Think about it this way: when you were dating you set up a time in the future to meet, and you had all this time before the date to fantasize about how the night would go. That anticipation is part of the reason why sex is so hot at the beginning of relationships, so building it back in is such a game-changer when couples need to recharge their sex life.
Single folks or individuals within a couple can benefit from calendaring in solo sex as well. I often recommend that busy folks put masturbation on their calendars. Think of it as part of your wellness routine or self-care. A regular masturbation practice can help you maintain a healthy amount of sexual desire while also reducing stress. For these reasons, your sexual connection to yourself deserves a place on your calendar.