6 Ways to Address Waning Sex in a Relationship

Today’s Comment of the Week comes from two different readers who had such wise advice on the topic of one partner’s decreasing libido in a fairly new relationship, we combined them into a top 5 list!: 

[From “J”]

It is normal for passion and sex to decrease as a relationship progresses. Our bodies and brains can’t maintain the same level of arousal that we feel early in a relationship. We’d be exhausted! Plus, as we get older, there is usually a steady increase in stress and responsibility until we reach a comfortable point in our careers or maybe even retirement age. So, I don’t think it is abnormal at all that anyone is less interested in sex. There is just too much other stuff competing for brain space. But, that doesn’t mean you should just accept feeling sexually unfulfilled. You both deserve to have your needs met and it is possible to do that.

1. Make the time to be intimate. To actually give the sex drive a chance to kick in. Maybe talk to your partner about trying to make time once a week to be intimate. Not just to have sex but to cuddle in bed, massage each other, talk, giggle, whatever. Ask them to make the time to relax with you and allow themselves to become interested in sex.

2. Get a check up. Various medical conditions and medications can effect the libido so it would be good to rule that out.

3. Try not to put pressure on the situation. It will make the situation feel worse for both of you if you are constantly worried about it. Try to just take it in stride (easier said than done, I know).

[From “C”]

4. Find out if work or other distractions are getting in the way. Sometimes a new job can be overwhelming, and people feel the need to make the best possible impression early on. If it’s not new, maybe your partner is just trying to catch up on stuff they neglected while the two of you were in your honeymoon phase, or maybe your partner feels your relationship is stable enough that they don’t need to work on the two of you as much as their source of income.

5. Discuss your sexual expectations. Sit down and talk to your partner honestly. Write it all down if you have to so the message doesn’t get lost in frustration or emotion. [You may find you have different expectations. For example,] if you can only see each other every two weeks or so and it’s always passionate and romantic, maybe your partner thinks their trying hard enough to maintain things with you; if you live together, or see each other nearly every day, your partner might feel like the familiarity combined with their workload makes it hard to feel intimate except for those rare occasions when it does.

6. Define your relationship. Have the two of you defined your relationship? Are you monogamous? Is this something you are building up to last, or are you keeping things kind of casual? If you haven’t actually sat down to have a talk about what the two of you are looking for, maybe your partner thinks this amount of sex is enough for you. You’ll never know until you have a conversation.

You deserve to have the kind of relationship you want, and that means having the kind of sex life you want as well.

What if you can’t keep up with your partner’s libido?
How to Cope with Differing Sex Drives


  1. Since these sensible and sensitive answers pretty much exhaust the actionable, all I have left to offer is the flip side: maybe he’s just not that into you any more. He could indeed still love you but hot fires burn out quickly; men’s hearts and tongues may lie but their genitals…not so much. Easy to be glib when it’s not my heart on the line, but beware of throwing good money after bad. This little sex after so short a time is not a good sign.

    1. Good point, Alan, the penis can be a bit of a weather vane at times! We wouldn’t automatically jump to this conclusion (some penises just get nervous and shy, after all), but you’re right, it’s definitely one of the possibilities to bear in mind.

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