How can you talk to your partner when they always seem to disregard your sexual advances?
Well, the answer is pretty loaded. But before you get into it, think: Does your partner always say no? Is there a pattern in the occurrence of this? Is life more stressful and time-consuming in the period during which they consistently lack interest in sex?
If so, it is possible that the lack of interest is just circumstantial. Sleep-deprivation and high stress situations can cause hormone fluctuations that interefere with the libido. Besides, sex is an exercise in itself, and if they're barely able to spend a couple hours in bed because of a new baby in the house, a 12-hour shift at work, or a health emergency in the family, it is only natural for them not to think about sex as often.
While some people use sex to relieve stress caused by these kinds of lifestyles, not everyone functions that way. Some grow up with a difficult set of beliefs about sex - ones that may cause them to believe sex is also work.
In this case, it is best to go easy. Wait for them to adjust to their lifestyles. Help them cope, with a stress-free weekend or day out; and do this without expecting sex in return. Focus on relieving the stress, and the sex drive will likely come back.
However, sometimes this does not happen. They never adjust to their lifestyle well enough, they don't have enough time to go out with you, or they simply don't give you attention, even though they can. Suddenly, it's been months and you hardly remember what sex feels like. What can you do then?
- Tell them in advance when you would like to sit and talk about it. This is important because it gives them a while to reflect on their behavior. It also allows you to choose a time at which they would be clear-headed and free of stress (like a Sunday morning), so that the conversation can take place without too much conflict.
- When you forge the subject, use the words "I feel..." Most other ways of putting this, like "You're not interested," or "I'm so sick of your behavior," wouldn't work as well. They would make it seem like you assign the blame to your partner, and that usually leads to defensiveness. Instead, say what you feel. If you feel unloved because your partner says no, say so. If you feel distant, say so. Try to get to the core of your emotions: what is it that you're feeling? It could also be something simple, like hurt.
- Listen. Listen to how they feel too. If the root of the problem runs deep into the relationship, there might be bigger problems to solve. Focus on them, let your partner know you care about their feelings. Try to solve the problem, even if it's just about your partner.
- Be calm. Don't be aggressive. If you're mad at them, wait until you're not. Make sure your approach is to solve the problem together, rather than cast the responsibility on one partner.
- Talk about your expectations. Re-evaluate your expectations from one another: How often do you like to have sex? How often do they? Do both of you like to have it at around the same time of the day? Do both of you have vastly contrasting schedules? Flesh out the logistical details. This will help greatly in trying to arrive at a middle-ground.
- Talk about previous experiences. Ask them, and tell them, about previous sexual experiences that might have left a scar. Share with each other your triggers. Share your turn-on's as well. Let each other know about your histories, because only then can you make sure things sail smoothly in bed.
- Share your feelings for each other. How do you feel about one another? In long term relationships, this kind of talk can stop happening, and couples may be on two entirely different wavelengths. It is important to keep following through with one another and ensuring the feelings are kept alive.
- Which bring me to: Go out on a date! Do something you both like - something that brought you together in the first place. It could be something simple like ice-skating at a park, or something extravagant to really show them you want them to have a lavish time. Anything that you know they like to do - try to do.
- Buy a couple's sex toy. If they simply say sex is boring, get something to spice it up! A good penis ring with a clitoral vibrator isn't very expensive, but can really change up your sex life.
- If they say they experience pain, or even discomfort, buy a lubricant. A good water-based lubricant for vaginal sex, and silicone-based lubricant for anal sex, will help greatly with these issues. But make sure you use just enough of it!
- Oral Sex. Ask their permission to do nothing but please them - they'll likely say yes. Make it clear that you just want to give, without asking for anything in return. If you do a good job, they might get into the mood for more!
These are just some of the ways in which you can try to forge this subject. But they're all dependent on your partner being open and accepting of the fact that they're not having sex as often. In some cases, it can be so difficult to talk to your partner, because they're in constant denial. While I completely understand the insecurity and anger this causes, I still ask that you remain calm when addressing them. If multiple attempts at reasoning with them don't work, it might be best to reach out to a good sex therapist, or relationship counselor, and set up an appointment. Tell your partner to come as a favor. And if they're unwilling, tell a white lie - the therapist is treating you but is calling in your partner for a second opinion on your life.
While this might cause a fight, if you don't want to lose them, this might be the only way to get them to open up. However, do consult their family or friends if you think they're in a specially vulnerable space before you take them to a therapist on a whim.