It can be vaginally depressing when you realize that your sex life is in a downward spiral. But if you’re not getting any (or giving any), you should know that there are plenty of couples who feel your pain. In fact, according to research from the Kinsey Institute, people in LTRs today are having less sex than couples in the 1950s.
The good news is that your dry spell probably doesn’t mean your relationship is in trouble, says Terri Orbuch Ph.D., relationship expert and author of 5 Simple Steps to Take Your Marriage from Good to Great.
One of these eight culprits could be to blame for your lack of action. Check them out and get back to boning like you’re on spring break.
1. You don’t have the hots for each other
It’s an ugly issue—but it happens. “If you get to a point where you cannot imagine having sex with your partner, it may be time to move on,” says Brame. Before calling it quits, though, meet with a therapist to make sure emotional issues aren’t making you feel like strangers in the sack, she says. “This will help you determine whether attraction is the problem, or if that’s just hiding behind a wall of anger and miscommunication,” says Brame.
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2. You are always too tired
“It’s totally acceptable to be too pooped to get it on every now and then, but the couples who are always too tired never get it in,” says Uta Demontis, Ph.D., clinical sexologist and relationship coach. The key is to find a middle ground so you can have your sleep and your sex, she says. Try taking a quick nap and going at it afterwards or give morning sex a whirl. “You may be pleasantly surprised by how it kicks your day off!” she says.
3. You keep your fantasies on lockdown
When a person’s needs aren’t fulfilled by the kind of sex he or she is having, they may avoid it and turn to porn or dating sites for thrills, says Brame. While it’s perfectly OK to keep some fantasies private, come clean about the ones that are holding you back from feeling satisfied or achieving the big O. “You can’t expect your partner to know you unless you show them all of you,” says Brame. “If he doesn’t like what he hears, he’s not the right partner for you.”
4. You are not feeling yourself
How you see yourself has a huge impact on whether or not you feel hot and bothered. But get this: Your S.O. thinks you’re sexy AF, even when you don’t. “Your partner fell for you—not Megan Fox,” says Brame. “Communicate and talk about how you’re feeling,” she says. Bonding over honest conversation can be a serious turn-on.
5. It’s baby time
Pregnancy and childbirth change a woman’s hormones in unpredictable ways. Some women are turned on by almost anything during pregnancy, while others lose interest altogether. “The after-effects of vaginal delivery and exhaustion mean sex gets shelved as everyone adjusts to the new lifestyle,” says Gloria Brame, Ph.D., sex therapist and author of Different Loving.
On top of that cock-blocker, the way you see yourself can change. “For example, your role may shift to a less sexual, more parent-y model,” she says. One of the best ways to get your groove back is discussing your old sexcapades, says Orbuch. “Talking to your partner about sex can be sexually arousing for you both,” she says.
While dirty talk can get you in the mood, an easy way to make sex actually happen is to put it on the calendar, says Orbuch. “Getting those parts moving again will lead to more sex,” she says.
6. One of you is constantly stressed
Being under pressure can contribute to a lackluster sex drive because you’re not fully present while getting busy with your partner. To get out of that stress rut and into a sexy routine, identify what’s causing stress in your life by keeping a stress journal for a couple of weeks, says Orbuch. “Writing things down will help you notice certain situations that are throwing off your sex game,” she says. (Think: deadlines, debt, family fighting, lack of privacy or time, etc.)
Then, take action to reduce that frazzle. “Maybe it’s yoga, massage, exercise, or volunteering in your community,” she says. Relieving extra anxiety will help you get your head in the game and get it on.