On this National Couples Day, one thing for certain, two things for sure, love is the biggest risk many of us take. Each and every day you should express to your partner how you feel – not just as it relates to you, but as it relates to how you feel about them in a relationship. With Covid, the Pandemic, and every other global tragedy that has taken place, many relationships have been tested in more ways than one. With today being National Couples Day, there is a list of things that couples can do to express their love for one another.
There is a list of activities couples can do together today such as cooking a meal together, playing your favorite song and dancing around the house, watching Netflix, and really chilling, the list can be a lengthy one. One thing that I didn’t mention, that is commonly assumed when it comes to things couples can do on National Couples Day, is have sex.
But what happens when there is a couple where one partner is not necessarily interested in having sex? What happens when there is a disconnect or a lack of interest? How does a couple navigate through that? Or do they? And can the relationship still function in a healthy manner without sex?
National Couples Day and Having Sex
As a Marriage and Family Therapist, I am often met with couples who have opted out of having sex. In those instances, instead of trying to convince and persuade the couple to want to have sex, I simply meet them where they are and explore the reasons why they have come to their decision. Here are five reasons why couples choose not to have sex and ways in which you can shift back into being interested in having sex with your partner.
- LACK OF SELF-CONFIDENCE. It is evident that over the years our bodies go through many different transitional moments. Whether stress and overeating, the phases of aging, the birth of children, or maybe even death and losses, that may have caused medical issues – how one sees their body, especially naked can and does affect the way in which they choose to show up or not show up in the bedroom. Regaining your self-confidence is a task you must put effort into every day to break the pattern you are in. Simple tasks such as stating aloud “I am beautiful and sexy”.
- THE BIRTH OF CHILDREN. In most cases, the attention goes from being about the two individuals in the relationship to now being about the children who were created and born into the relationship. The children become a main priority in the relationship, therefore, it is rather difficult for couples to make time for one another without involving or including the children. One way to have intimate time is to schedule it. Ten to fifteen minutes of alone time help the two reconnect. During that time, remind each other how much you love one another.
- THEY HAVE DIFFERENT FETISHES AND KINKS. This has actually come up in many different variations, but in similar instances while in sessions – especially with my engaged and newlywed clients. Often, one person in the relationship may be very conservative, while the other partner is hoping to be a bit more explorative in choosing additional or other people to have sex with. The more conservative person may usually not agree, but still, feel obligated to make sure their partner is satisfied and happy. This is when I reminded the couple consent is vital for their relationship to endure their differences in desire.
- SEX STARTED TO FEEL LIKE AN OBLIGATION. Like a chore. Some people prefer planned sex, others prefer spontaneous sex, and the remaining couples do not like sex at all because they see it as a chore they do not really want to do. Again, an obligation oftentimes leads to disappointment. I educate the couple that this is a time for each of them to redefine what they need in and out of the bedroom in order for the word obligation to change to the two words intimate connection. I state the definition of sex is vast it is more than having intercourse.
- THE COUPLE DOES NOT TRUST ONE ANOTHER. Listen, forgiving someone after infidelity occurred can be a challenge within itself. Even with individuals and couples therapy, coming to terms that you weren’t the reason the other person cheated or left can be mentally overwhelming. Choosing to have sex and be intimate with someone you do not trust is the very reason why a couple does not want to be close. This is a lengthy journey in healing however it is possible to regain trust and reconnect as long as both people put the effort into the process.
Today is National Couples Day, let this day be a reminder to show your love for one another. Having sex is one way hopefully both of you are aware it is not the only way.