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15 surprising reasons your partner doesn’t want sex

15 surprising reasons your partner doesn’t want sex
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If your spouse is rarely in the mood for sex, there might be something more going on than you’d expect. Here are some possible mood-killing culprits.

Medically reviewed by Dr Tia Jackson-Bey

Financial woes

Financial woes
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Considering that money troubles are a top cause of a breakup, it’s hardly surprising that financial issues can cause rifts in even the most harmonious couples. “The results of unaddressed financial stressors in a relationship can cause negative feelings towards your partner, fear and anxiety, broken trust, depression symptoms and a lack of sexual desire,” says mental health counsellor Crystal Hollenbeck. “Combining finances, creating a budget, and agreeing as a couple on financial goals will increase the sense of closeness, trust and security within the relationship.”

Too many distractions

Too many distractions
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These days, it’s hard to sit on the couch and watch a TV show with your partner or go out to dinner at a nice restaurant without looking at your phone every five minutes. And this can seriously drive a wedge between couples romantically. “If your answer is your phone or tablet and not your partner, it’s time to make some changes,” says sexual health consultant Celeste Holbrook. “Plug your phone in the kitchen and (gasp) get a regular alarm clock – even an extra 10 minutes connecting with your partner without electronic devices can give you a great boost in your sex life and relationship.”

Tension in the relationship

Tension in the relationship
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Wherever the conflict is coming from, be it him neglecting to pick up his socks off the floor or her forgetting to fish out her hair from the shower drain, if not properly addressed it can cause a rift between couples. “Any kind of tension that builds up and smoulders is the death of sex,” says sexologist and author of Erotic Integrity: How to Be True to Your Sexuality, Dr Claudia Six. “You have to address the resentments, resolve the conflicts, apologise sincerely and learn to communicate more effectively.” It’s having these difficult conversations, she adds, that have the most potential to fuel your sex life.

Lack of exercise

Lack of exercise
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When you get your heart rate up and start sweating mid-workout, your body is releasing what’s known as endorphins, or feel-good chemicals in your brain that put you in a better mood, according to McGill University experts. This alone can make you more interested in hitting the sheets with your partner, coupled with an increase in body confidence thanks to your hard-earned workout. So, what are you waiting for? Get moving! Even better, work out with your partner so you both enjoy the benefits.

Infidelity

Infidelity
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If one or both partners were unfaithful, recovering a sexual connection can be difficult. “Whether it is the man or the woman who was cheating, the trust, which is such an important part of the intimate connection, has been eroded,” explains counsellor Wendi L. Dumbroff. “This makes it difficult to fall back into each other’s arms.” She recommends couples therapy but explains that therapy alone is not always sufficient in helping couples to resume a sexual relationship. “Slowly reconnecting in ways that feel safe for the partner who was cheated on can begin to heal and create intimacy between them once again,” she adds.

Lack of body confidence

Lack of body confidence
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No matter your age, pants size or weight, not feeling confident in your own skin is a major obstacle to great sex, experts say. “Couples and sex therapy are useful to help partners communicate more freely around sexual issues, as well as helping to ensure they can enjoy the sex that they do have,” says Dumbroff. “Additionally, practising mindfulness exercises and learning to be present in the moment is very important to really being able to fully engage in a positive sexual experience.”

Discover myths about sex that you still believe.

Medications

Medications
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Many medications can cause low libido or have side effects like vaginal dryness. Antihistamines can dry up all your membranes, from your nose to your vagina, explains Dr Holbrook. “You may be feeling interested in sex, but need to grab some lubricant to make sure it is comfortable.” Always check in with your doctor about side effects before starting a medication and take some time to figure out any necessary workarounds, whether it’s lubricant, extra time in foreplay, or sex prior to taking your meds for the day, adds Dr Holbrook.

Something sabotaging your sex life? Discover 25 little sex mistakes you don’t realise you are making.

Birth trauma

Birth trauma
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Women who have given birth may have suffered a laceration or tear in the vaginal area, so she may experience pain during intercourse. She may be traumatised by the birth experience, which can be similar to PTSD, and she may also have postpartum depression or be preoccupied with the baby’s wellbeing. PTSD and postpartum depression can be treated effectively with therapy or medication.

Women who carried a baby for nine months and then went through childbirth may not want to hear this, but men can experience post-traumatic stress-like symptoms after witnessing the birth of a child. This, Dr Hollenbeck says, can leave a man unable to engage sexually with his partner. “He or she may not be able to look at the vulva in the same way he did prior to seeing the birth process,” she explains.

Religious or personal beliefs

Religious or personal beliefs
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Dumbroff explains that although someone may not be consciously aware of why they don’t want sex, they may carry learned messages from childhood that can penetrate deeply into their psyche and show up in a lack of desire, or even an aversion to sex. “Taking detailed sexual histories and learning about a person’s family of origin can help to unpack these beliefs and messages and bring them into the light,” she says. “A person may then be freer to explore their sexuality and can begin to create a new narrative around sex and what it means to be a sexual being.”

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