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Sex

10 Reasons Why Couples Stop Having Sex

The loss of intimacy in relationships can be devastating.

Key points

  • Talking about intimacy and sex is tricky and painful for many couples.
  • Couples may stop having sex due to a lack of trust after an affair, exhaustion, boredom, and conflicting parenting styles, among other reasons.
  • Understanding why a couple's sex life has stopped is the first step toward improving it.

Sex is one of the most sensitive topics of all. Even those who disclose all sorts of personal information often fall silent when the topic of their sex life comes up.

It is an especially difficult topic for couples who have stopped having sex. I am both surprised and yet not surprised when couples who have been together for some time are confused about why they have stopped having sex with each other. They are very often reluctant to turn toward their partner and get into this topic. They are afraid of both what they might hear and/or what they might not hear.

In an effort to help those who are afraid to broach this topic, I have compiled a list of the most common reasons why couples stop having sex. This comes to you courtesy of all of those who have had the courage to open up to me over the past few decades. Perhaps, after going through this list, you will have some idea of what may be going on in your own relationship. With this list in mind, I encourage you to talk to your partner. Silence about sex is not golden.

  1. Being afraid of what one will hear. Individuals are afraid that they will learn that their partner no longer finds them appealing. They may also fear that their partner is engaging in sex with someone outside of the relationship. There is, of course, the fear of being replaced and being abandoned. With these fears of mind, it is easy to understand why no one is asking questions.
  2. Becoming business partners only. The relationship may have turned into a business arrangement in which the couple works together to maintain a life or a lifestyle that they both need or want. Romance and sexuality may have left the arrangement a while ago. Money is discussed but sex is not.
  3. Exhaustion. You all know about this and how it affects sexual desire. Between working and taking care of kids and perhaps even aging parents, sex assumes a place low on the priority list. It may be hard to think about sex and even harder to engage in it if you don't have one ounce of energy left.
  4. Not feeling good about your body. Over the years, your body may have changed. Perhaps, this is the result of having children, aging, less activity, overeating etc. Whatever the reason, hardly anyone who feels badly about their body wants to get naked with someone who has seen them in better times. Right?
  5. Discomfort during sex. This may apply to anyone but I hear this most frequently from women who are getting older and are concerned about dryness and pain during sex. Many have been reluctant to discuss this with their gynecologists because of embarrassment and shame.
  6. Boredom. Simply put, the lack of novelty and the same sexual routine may have lost appeal. Who, after all, really wants to do something thing, over and over again? Do you? Do you think that your partner does?
  7. Lack of trust after an affair. You or your partner may have reconciled following an affair. Trust, however, may still be an issue that stands clearly between you and your partner. Who, after all, wants to become intimate and vulnerable with someone who they do not trust?
  8. Bad hygiene. Your partner may have stopped showering and brushing his teeth before coming into bed. This is both off-putting and also a sensitive topic. So combine the topics of personal hygiene and sex and things fall apart fast.
  9. Anger. This speaks loudly and clearly for itself. A person who is angry with her partner is unlikely to want to engage in physical intimacy. It is critical that couples resolve their anger or it will spill into many areas of their lives together. Your sex life is likely to be hit very hard here.
  10. Conflicting parenting styles. I see this so often. One partner is permissive and the other is more authoritative. The entire family gets stressed and so does couple time. Look, if you are arguing constantly about how best to raise little Timmy or Olivia, you are unlikely to indulge in the behavior that created them. What a shame, and how ironic.
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