A healthy sex life is an important part of a relationship, so it can be quite the bummer if you feel like you’re not enjoying sex with your partner. This can become a huge problem between couples — and is often exacerbated by expectations and stories from friends about what’s “normal” — so the sooner you can fix things the better you’ll feel.
Recognizing that there may be an issue with your sex life is the first step. But figuring out why you aren’t enjoying yourself? Well, that can be a bit trickier. Once you’ve ruled out physical health issues and things like depression, which can really affect your desire to have sex, it’ll be necessary to talk with your partner about some other possible explanations.
If you don’t, you two might grow even further apart. And that’s certainly not what you want. “Sex is bonding,” says Dr. Ben Michaelis, clinical psychologist and creator of OneMinuteDiagnosis.com. “When members of a couple have a strong intimate physical connections with each other they feel closer and the relationship bond, including feelings of commitment and loyalty are enhanced. For most, but not all, couples, a strong sexual bond is essential for a strong romantic relationship.” Read on for some signs it may be time to work on your sex life, all in the name of having a better time — and having a healthier relationship.
1. You Procrastinate And Always “Have Something Else To Do”
If you’re not too thrilled with your current sex life situation, you might look for reasons to avoid climbing into bed. “There’s always something that needs to be done — work, school, friends that seem more important than spending time with your other half,” says relationship expert and psychologist Vijayeta Sinh, Ph.D. “This usually means that something’s amiss about your emotional connection and/or physical connection with each other.” And that’s definitely worth look into.
2. You Almost Always Fantasize About Somebody Else
It’s totally normal to fantasize during sex. If you think about a cute stranger for a few minutes, it doesn’t mean you hate your partner or despise having sex with them. But if you need to imagine other people, take note. “This is a telltale sign that something is not working in your current relationship,” Sinh says.
3. You’ve Actually Been With Someone Else
Cheating is a complex issue with many root causes, one of which may be a dissatisfying sex life. “The classic, and accurate, sign that you may not be enjoying sex with your partner is … engaging in a romantic experience or different type of sexual act with someone else,” Michaelis says. If that’s the case, it may be time to have a chat with your partner.
4. You Feel Like Sex Has Become A Chore
Sometimes part of being in a relationship is scheduling sex, all in the name of guaranteeing time with your partner. However, that doesn’t mean that it should feel like a chore. If it does, Dr. Steve McGough, director of R&D at Women and Couples Wellness, LLC tells me it could be a sign that you’re not enjoying sex with your partner as much as you should.
5. You Hardly Ever Fantasize About Your Partner
Another sign? “You don’t think or fantasize about your partner or look forward to being intimate,” McGough says. While he or she doesn’t have the be the main focus of all the deepest fantasies, you should still look forward to getting it on with your beloved.
6. Your Partner Makes All The First Moves
While not everyone is the type to initiate sex, take note if you have the ability but just… don’t. As McGough tells me, it may be that you’re not enjoying yourself. When that’s the case, it may be time to take things to another level with your SO, all in the name of spicing things up.
7. You Don’t Feel Comfortable
It’s impossible to enjoy sex if you don’t feel comfortable, whether it be physically due to an illness, or mentally due to depression or a self-esteem hang up. “This can often cause stress make it very difficult to feel sexually aroused,” McGough says. The best thing to do is tell your partner, so you can work on it together. And, of course, see a doctor if you’re experiencing pain.
8. You’re Afraid To Talk About What You Want
It can feel weird to talk about what you do/don’t like in bed, but you have to try if you want a more fulfilling sex life. “Communicate with your partner by affirming what you like,” sex and relationship therapist Dr. Tammy Nelson tells Bustle. And make sure you’re clear. “‘I love it when you go to the right,’ is much more affective and a better way to change your sex life then ‘I hate it when you go the left.'”
9. You Feel Disappointed More Often Than Not
It’ll be pretty difficult to thoroughly enjoy sex if your needs aren’t being met, especially if your partner consistently lets you down. “One of the biggest reasons that women report for low desire or avoiding sex with their partner? Disappointment,” Nelson says. To guarantee yourself a better time, refer to number six above and make sure you speak up.
10. You Think Sex Is Supposed To Be A Certain Way
If you talk with your friends about their sex lives (or watch lots of sexy movies) it can be easy to feel like yours doesn’t measure up. So go ahead and get their comments and critiques out of your head. “There is no normal,” Nelson says. “Focus on what works for the two of you [and] don’t worry so much what other people say you should be doing. Work on what you need to enjoy it.”
11. You Feel Like You’re Letting Your Partner Down
Low self-esteem can play a huge role in whether or not you enjoy sex. “One of the main reasons couples aren’t connecting is lack or interest, boredom, and the loss of self-esteem that can accumulate as a result,” says Derek Newton, founder of Simpatic.us, a site dedicated to helping couples explore their fantasies. If things haven’t been too hot in the bedroom lately, it can really take a toll.
The best way to remedy this situation? Talk to your partner. If you’re feeling bored, tell them. If you’re struggling with depression, let them know. Together you can work on how to have a more fulfilling sex life.
This article was originally published on Bustle