Here are 10 of the most common reasons that women lose interest in having sex with their partners.
1. They don't feel valued.
When we don't feel like our partner values us, resentment can easily build. A person who feels taken for granted is not likely to feel warm and affectionate. A person who feels angry even less so. A common understanding of job satisfaction is that people are usually happiest at work when they feel appreciated and seen for what they contribute. Relationships are the same. We are spectacular at showing appreciation and demonstrating our admiration for our partner when the relationship is new, but increasingly become complacent with this as time passes.
2. They don't feel desirable.
For many women, sexual desire hinges entirely on feeling desirable. In relationships where a woman has diminished sexual desire, the partner has usually done all that they can to show her how beautiful and sexy she is. Sadly, regardless of the fact that her partner is incredibly attracted to her, she does not feel attractive. If she doesn't believe that she is beautiful, if she doesn't believe she is sexy, then she is going to have a hard time enjoying physical affection with her partner. Allowing herself to really embody those qualities of BEING and FEELING beautiful, erotic, and sexy, is crucial for desire.
3. Lack of trust.
Trust is everything. When it comes to long-term relationships if a woman does not feel safe she isn't likely to be willing to be vulnerable in the way that really great sex requires us to be. Safety in the relationship means not just physical safety, but also emotional. Once trust in a partnership is eroded it can be difficult and sometimes impossible to repair. When we talk about broken trust, it isn't only the big betrayals like infidelity or major lies. The most common way trust is eroded in relationships is in the small things such as being overly critical, not keeping our word, or ignoring our partner.
4. There's nothing left to give.
Many women give and give and give of themselves all day long. The moment of freedom they have been craving with the kids finally asleep can turn sour quickly when a spouse is asking for their turn for attention. Having just a bit of space where she doesn't feel obligated to meet everyone else's needs is vital to a woman's well-being and her desire. Intimacy with a partner is usually lower priority because the kids (and her job) are not areas of need that she feels she can say no to. A partner wanting attention but not getting it doesn't seem as dire and so unfortunately is what gets pushed aside for later. When a woman doesn't even have time to meet her own basic needs (enough sleep, good nutrition, exercise, etc) it is unlikely she will feel motivated to be sexual.
5. Relaxing is too difficult.
For many of us, shutting off the constant stream of thoughts through our minds is really hard. For some, relaxation and a focus on feeling good can seem selfish and like a frivolous indulgence. Who has time for that with all the never-ending task lists and obligations of life? Multi-tasking and being busy (even mentally) are qualities that are often encouraged in our culture. Being willing to relax would mean having to put down and let go of all that is not necessary and centered on this very moment.
6. They aren't receptive to pleasure.
It is not uncommon for a woman to recognize in herself a resistance to really REALLY allow herself the experience of deep pleasure. Especially when it comes to physical affection. Being receptive to pleasure means being able to, at least momentarily, let go and relax, as mentioned in #7. Add to this that women have often been raised to not recognize their own needs, let alone desires, but to focus on those of others. Given this, it can be difficult and even feel "wrong" for a woman to drop all else but her own sense of pleasure.
7. They don't know how to be a nurturer and a lover.
When we imagine being in the role of mother or caretaker we do not usually have concepts like "sexy" come up. Trying to be a mommy one minute and a sex kitten the next may not come easy. Women with small children especially tend to feel touch satiated. They have been holding someone all day, so the idea of having to meet someone else's physical needs is just too much.
8. Sex doesn't feel that good.
If a woman is experiencing deep physical pleasure with her partner, it is likely she is going to want to do that again and again. What can be most confusing is that often couples will report that early on in the relationship sex did feel really good for everyone, but as time passes she enjoys it less. It's common for couples to get stuck in a rut sexually, falling into patterns of "doing" foreplay and sex the same way every time. When we continually feel we are going through the motions or having sex with our partners out of a sense of obligation, we are missing out. We are ignoring what our bodies and our minds need in order to experience pleasure and sex that feels amazing. Experiences that are beneficial and affirming for us are more likely to become a priority.
9. They don't remember who they are.
Sometimes in life we lose ourselves in our roles. We become a spouse or a parent and the weight of all that we believe that those things entail transforms our self-identity. This is natural and can be positive in helping us transition into major life changes. Where it gets us is when we throw ourselves so much into our roles that we forget who we were before them, or who we really know ourselves to be. How can we feel erotic when we are no longer aware of what we really like, how we really feel, what we really know to be true about ourselves? Having a deep connection and being able to allow a partner to really know and experience us is part of a great sex life. It isn't possible if we no longer know ourselves.
10. Asking for what they want is scary.
The biggest hurdle with this one is that some women don't ever consider what they want, so they can't say what they don't know. As mentioned in #6, women are encouraged to be aware of the needs of others and to be as responsive as possible to them. This can leave a woman with little time and energy to devote to considering what she wants and needs. It is also curious that it seems the longer a couple has been together, the more unlikely they are to speak up about their desires and wishes. Perhaps they fear that their partner may not approve or might judge them, and that is not a risk that feels worth taking in a relationship that is so important. They may also be reluctant to share something that might make a partner feel insecure or question the relationship. And so for these reasons and more, a woman may not communicate in ways that could bring her ultimately closer to her partner. She may have trouble seeing past her fears and short-term discomfort.
Of course biological factors such as hormones and medication side effects can also have an impact on desire. If this is a concern, it is wise to consult with a physician. It is important to note that sometimes men lose sexual desire in relationships as well. That will be the topic of another post.