- Explain to your partner why having sex for fun, not to make babies, is important to you.
- Suggest ways to make sex fun for the both of you, like setting up weekly sexy time or trying a new location or position.
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My partner and I are deeply in love with one another, no question there. We both want children in the future, but now is just not the right time.
Sex at the beginning of our relationship was intense, beautiful, and frequent. But recently, we haven’t been having as much sex. It’s starting to affect me.
When we had a heartfelt conversation about it, he confided that he regularly masturbates but when it comes to sex, he isn’t as motivated. He sees me as the woman he loves, but on some level he feels that unless we’re working towards a pregnancy, sex just doesn’t appeal to him right now.
He isn’t as full of desire as he once was and admits this might be a phase he is going through for the first time. Is this normal for men once they’ve met someone they want to settle down with? I’m trying to be understanding.
How do we reconcile our different sexual needs right now?
I find it admirable you’re trying to understand why your partner is disinterested in sex.
Taking a curious approach, as you are, is bound to make your relationship stronger, even if you’re going through a rough patch at the moment.
It’s great that your partner was honest about why his attitude towards sex has changed. Now, it’s time for you to be honest with him about why you want to be intimate with him outside of baby-making purposes.
Based on what you’ve told me here, it seems your partner currently views sex as a means to an end. But sex can, and should be, so much more than that.
As renowned sex therapist Ian Kerner recently shared on the podcast “Pregnantish,” there are three types of sex, and each serves a distinct purpose. Recreational sex is just for fun, while relational sex is a way to feel connected to your partner. Finally, there’s procreative sex for having children.
Your partner obviously has no issue with procreative sex. Perhaps explaining why you crave other types of sex, and framing it as a way to boost your relationship, could help him understand your needs better.
When couples have mismatched libidos, sex therapist Rachel Wright suggests having a non-judgmental conversation using her AEO: acknowledge, explain, offer, model.
First, acknowledge the lack of sex by saying something like, “I’ve noticed we haven’t been sexually intimate in awhile.”
Next, explain how the lack has been impacting you. You could say, “When we aren’t sexually intimate, it makes me feel emotionally distant from you, when I really want to feel close to you.”
During this time, you could also explain how his interest in sex purely for reproduction makes you feel, whether that’s disposable, unwanted, or unimportant.
Finally, suggest a solution and allow your partner to do the same. For example, you might suggest scheduling in time to be intimate (just for fun!) every week or so. This way, you can learn more about your partner’s hangups with sexual intimacy and find a solution you both can get behind.
You can also ask your partner if tweaking your current sex routine could make him more excited for the experience. Maybe he’d like to try a new position, have sex in a different place, or switch up the time of day. As Kerner previously told me, refreshing your sex routine can bring new excitement and intimacy to your relationship.
It’s clear you care for your partner and want to find common ground. Keep leading with love, and I know you’ll find your way back to the physical connection you crave.
As Insider’s resident sex and relationships reporter, Julia Naftulin is here to answer all your questions about dating, love, and doing it – no question is too weird or taboo. Julia regularly consults a panel of health experts including relationship therapists, gynecologists, and urologists to get science-backed answers to your burning questions, with a personal twist.