What to do when you have lost interest in sex

Feeling like you’ve lost interest in sex in your relationship? Here are 9 tips to help you address the issue and reignite your passion.

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Sexual intimacy is often considered an essential part of a healthy relationship. However, it’s not uncommon that one or both partners in a relationship may lose interest in sex over time. If you’ve been feeling like your spark has dimmed, don’t worry; it’s possible to revive passion and reignite intimacy with your partner.

In this article, we’ll discuss 9 steps you can take to help you address the issue and get your sex life back on track.

Learn more about the importance of emotional and physical intimacy in relationships with our comprehensive guide!

1. Identify the root cause

Understanding why you’ve lost interest in sex is a critical first step in finding a solution. There could be a myriad of reasons, and pinpointing the exact cause can help tailor an effective approach to regaining your sexual interest.

Here are some common causes for a loss of sexual desire:

Relationship length

The initial stages of a relationship often come with a surge of sexual desire, mainly due to the excitement of getting to know someone intimately. As the relationship evolves, this desire may wane. Long-term couples often experience a dip in sexual desire due to the familiarity with a partner and the lesser priority given to sex over time. 1

Daily stress

Research has shown that high levels of stress in daily life can significantly impact your sex life. In the study, higher self-reported stress was associated with a decrease in sexual activity and sexual satisfaction, as well as a decrease in overall satisfaction with the relationship. 2

Relationship problems

If you’re experiencing difficulties in your relationship, it’s likely that these issues are manifesting in your sexual life as well. Research has found a strong association between relationship conflicts and sexual dysfunction. 3 So, working on the relationship outside the bedroom might positively impact what happens within it.

Anxiety & Depression

The profound connection between emotional well-being and sexual desire is backed by numerous studies. Loss of libido is a common symptom accompanying episodes of depression or anxiety. As the severity of these conditions increases, it becomes more likely that your interest in sex will diminish. 4

Medications

Certain medications can have an impact on your libido. For example, antidepressants - especially selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) - are known to reduce sexual desire, arousal, and satisfaction. 4

Age

A study, including 2.341 men and women aged 18 to 93, showed that sexual desire tends to decline with age. This decline tends to happen earlier for women than for men. 5 Understanding this natural trajectory can help manage expectations and open up discussions for sexual compromise and exploration that suit your life stage.

2. Fluctuations in sex drive are normal

It’s important to remember that it’s perfectly normal for your sex drive to fluctuate over time. As discussed before, there are many factors that can play into why you may feel less interested in sex than usual.

You might ask yourself, “How does this knowledge help me?” Many studies have shown that having realistic expectations about the fluctuation of sexual desire in relationships impacts the maintenance of sexual desire in long-term relationships. 6

It’s important to recognize that a lack of sex drive doesn’t necessarily mean an end to your relationship. Recognizing that ebbs and flows in sexual desire are normal can help you avoid placing blame and instead work on open communication and exploring new ways of being intimate with your partner.

3. Talk about it with your partner

Honest is the best policy, and this is especially true when it comes to communication within a relationship. It’s important to discuss openly with your partner why you’ve been feeling less interested in sex. Having an open dialogue can help you both understand the underlying issues and work together toward finding solutions that suit both parties.

A meta-analysis highlights the importance of communication in maintaining sexual desire and satisfaction. The results show that talking about sex is linked to greater overall sexual function, including sexual desire. 7

Learn more about the importance of communication and how it can save your sex life.

4. Try Sensate Focus exercises

Sensate Focus exercises are a powerful tool to rekindle your sexual desire. Developed by William Masters and Virginia Johnson in the 1960s, this technique has a proven track record in addressing sexual concerns. 8

These exercises involve structured touching and exploration, focusing on experiencing your body and your partner’s without the pressure for specific sexual outcomes. It’s about pure exploration and enjoyment without aiming for arousal or pleasure. 8

Sensate Focus is all about immersing yourself in the physical sensations. There’s no right or wrong way, and the goal isn’t to arouse your partner or provide them with pleasure. It’s about fully embracing the tactile sensations and living in the present moment. 8

In essence, these exercises help couples reconnect through touch without the expectation of immediate sexual arousal. It fosters a deeper connection, allowing you to rediscover the pleasure of physical intimacy without performance pressure. If you’re seeking to revive your sexual spark, Sensate Focus can be a valuable and enjoyable step forward.

5. Schedule intimate time

In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it’s easy for intimacy to take a back seat. But if you’ve noticed a decline in your interest in sex, making a deliberate effort to schedule intimate time can be a game-changer for your relationship.

Scheduling intimate moments means you’re actively prioritizing your connection with your partner. It sends a clear message that your relationship and your physical closeness are important to you.

Intimate time doesn’t have to involve sex. You can take this time to practice Sensate Focus together, engage in non-sexual touching, or practice other forms of intimate play. As your connection deepens through these activities, you may find that the desire for sex starts to return.

6. Bring excitement back into your bedroom

In long-term relationships, it’s crucial to stave off monotony to keep desire alive. When couples become overly familiar with each other, and their relationship settles into a routine, it can lead to a decline in sexual interest. The challenge, then, is to infuse your intimate life with excitement and novelty. 9

A recent online survey, which polled 1,559 adults about the pandemic’s impact on their intimate lives, offers valuable insights. Individuals who reported introducing new activities, such as sexting, experimenting with different sex positions, and openly sharing their sexual fantasies, experienced significant improvements in their sex lives. 10

So, to reignite your sexual desire, it’s essential to break free from the shackles of routine and embrace new experiences with your partner.

Here are great tips on how to rekindle your intimate life!

7. Share your sexual fantasies

Opening up and sharing your sexual fantasies with your partner can be a powerful way to rekindle lost interest in sex. Discussing fantasies often leads to exploring new sexual experiences and trying different things in the bedroom. This novelty can bring excitement and passion back into your sex life, combating any feelings of routine or boredom.

Research has shown that couples who talk about their sexual likes and dislikes tend to report higher levels of sexual satisfaction. 11 For women, sexual communication plays a particularly strong role in facilitating sexual desire. 7

Do you need some help getting started? Here are some tips on how to talk about sexual fantasies with your partner.

8. Don’t pressure yourself

One of the most important things to remember when trying to revive passion is that it won’t happen overnight. It can take time and patience, and if you find yourself feeling frustrated or hopeless, don’t forget to be kind to yourself.

Instead of pressuring yourself to get back in the bedroom right away, focus on rekindling your closeness and intimacy. This may involve trying different activities, such as engaging in sensual caresses or sharing intimate conversations.

9. Seek professional help

If you’ve lost interest in sex and have exhausted all resources to revive your passion, it may be time to seek professional help. A sex therapist can provide a safe space for couples to discuss their issues openly and find solutions that work best for them.

Sex therapists are trained to help couples with a variety of issues, from low desire and lack of sexual pleasure to difficulty reaching orgasm. A sex therapist can offer practical advice while providing support for reconnecting with your partner on an emotional level.

If you want to improve your relationship, communication is key. Our couples’ guide on communication in a relationship can help you create an open and honest dialogue that will set the foundation for a long-lasting and fulfilling relationship.


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  2. Bodenmann, G., Atkins, D. C., Schär, M., & Poffet, V. (2010). The association between daily stress and sexual activity. Journal of Family Psychology, 24(3), 271–279. doi.org ↩︎

  3. Metz, M. E., & Epstein, N. B. (2002). Assessing the role of relationship conflict in sexual dysfunction. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, 28(2), 139–164. doi.org ↩︎

  4. Zemishlany, Z., & Weizman, A. (2008). The impact of mental illness on sexual dysfunction. In KARGER eBooks (pp. 89–106). doi.org ↩︎ ↩︎

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  6. Mark, K. P., & Lasslo, J. A. (2018). Maintaining Sexual Desire in Long-Term Relationships: A Systematic Review and Conceptual Model. Journal of Sex Research, 55(4–5), 563–581. doi.org ↩︎

  7. Mallory, A. B., Stanton, A. M., & Handy, A. B. (2019). Couples’ Sexual Communication and Dimensions of Sexual Function: A Meta-Analysis. Journal of Sex Research, 56(7), 882–898. doi.org ↩︎ ↩︎

  8. Birnbaum, G. E., Kanat-Maymon, Y., Mizrahi, M., Recanati, M., & Orr, R. (2018). What fantasies can do to your relationship: The effects of sexual fantasies on couple interactions. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 45(3), 461–476. doi.org ↩︎ ↩︎ ↩︎

  9. Sims, K. E., & Meana, M. (2010). Why did passion wane? a qualitative study of married women’s attributions for declines in sexual desire. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy, 36(4), 360–380. doi.org ↩︎

  10. Lehmiller, J. J., Garcia, Gesselman, A. N., & Mark, K. P. (2020). Less Sex, but More Sexual Diversity: Changes in Sexual Behavior during the COVID-19 Coronavirus Pandemic. Leisure Sciences, 43(1–2), 295–304. doi.org ↩︎

  11. MacNeil, S., & Byers, E. S. (2009). Role of Sexual Self-Disclosure in the sexual satisfaction of Long-Term Heterosexual Couples. Journal of Sex Research, 46(1), 3–14. doi.org ↩︎

Author picture of Janet Smith
Dating Expert

Janet Smith

Janet Smith is a freelance writer who writes about psychology, relationships, and dating. She has always been interested in understanding the human brain and how it affects our …

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