Something I see often in my practice is the complaint that sex has become stale, infrequent, boring, or just “dead.” Let’s talk about what we can do to create change and bring ‘fun’ back into your intimacy!

What exactly is a dead bedroom?

A dead bedroom can look like anything, it doesn’t necessarily mean there is no sex happening at all. For some people no sex in three months can be dead while for others that would be six months to a year. Some couples start off having sex multiple times a week and it feels dead to have sex only once a week. 

What we can say for sure is a dead bedroom isn’t fulfilling needs and one, or all, parties are left feeling unfulfilled and let down. It can look like avoiding contact with partners and staying up late to make sure they are asleep before getting in bed. Typically, sex doesn’t feel as meaningful or enjoyable and might actually decrease the desire to have sex again after an unsuccessful attempt to make a change.

No couple aims to have a dead bedroom! It can be caused by a change to the family constellation by the birth of a child, loss of a loved one or going through the grieving process, or lack of privacy. Stress is also a huge contributor to a dead bedroom—it’s hard to think about getting it on when you’re worried about your performance at work the next day!

Additionally, bodies change as they age which can have a large role in the decrease of sexual frequency. Hormonal imbalances, weight gain or loss, and injuries can trigger a decline that spiral quickly. For vulva owners, as aging happens there may be issues with natural lubrication which can trigger more painful sexual experiences. Penis owners might have a hard time with erections or notice premature ejaculation. None of these things will be enough to have a dead bedroom automatically, but a lack of talking about any of these factors will be a nail in the coffin!

What should we do about our dead bedroom?

dead bedroom

First, ask yourself, are you wanting more sex? Are you wanting sex with your partner? If yes to both of those questions, there are plenty of things you can explore!

  • Talk about it: I can’t emphasize this enough! Share what is going well for you in the relationship and what you appreciate, and check-in with your partner on their perspective. This can show if there is a bigger issue going on that was missed! Use I statements to share with your partner how you are feeling about the lack of intimacy. Be careful to not place blame or guilt. Ask how they are feeling about it! Perhaps your schedules just haven’t been lining up and your partner was afraid to ask. It sounds so simple, but can be huge in decreasing the distance.
  • Five-point scale: one of my favorite techniques is to create a random check-in with your partner. I have one person ask the other person in any part of the day to rate where they are on a 1-5 scale regarding the desire for sex. If your partner is above a 3 and so are you, capitalize on it! If your partner is between a 2 and a 3, ask them if there is anything you can do that would help. Find a way to decrease their stress! I love this technique so much because it allows for the opportunity for physical connection without having the pressure to explain why when you are just not feeling it if that’s the case. It opens the channel of communication to explain where you are at just in that moment. It works best when not done at the same time each day.
  • Explore other options: some days you or your partner just may not feel like having sex, and that is totally okay! Discuss with each other what could help improve intimacy without feeling pressured to go farther than you want. Could mutual masturbation work? How does your partner feel about watching porn with you? Would an extended foreplay session fit? This can also be a great opportunity to explore new sex toys or ideas with each other!
  • Open the relationship: Sometimes we will find our partner is just not on the same page as us, and may not be able to get there. Resentment makes it impossible to grow desire and affection. It might be worth it to consider looking to get needs met with another partner. We want to respect any feelings or lack of desire that might be there. It is so important to have this conversation openly and honestly! Define what your boundaries are and what your partner would be comfortable with. 

The big takeaway is that a dead bedroom does not always mean you are in a dead relationship. Having hard conversations with our partners can be huge at creating improvement, and ultimately can take our sex lives to an even better place than where we started. Addressing your needs and being honest is crucial in continuing to develop healthy relationships.


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