Not in the Mood for Sex? How to Say It.

Just say no, to sex. That doesn’t quite sound right coming from a sexologist!  Don’t we all love sex?  Don’t we all want more sex? Yes!  But we want great sex!  More bad sex is not something that most sane people desire.  Let’s face it bad sex sucks!  You may be asking yourself, how could saying “yes” to sex make it worse?  Doesn’t practice make perfect?

If you are not feeling it say so, say no!  Now you may be sitting there and thinking aww, jeez that is easy I already do that.  The “I have a headache excuse” has been the bane of men’s existence that has reverberated through time.  It is easy to say “no” which is the first part but to gain access to great sex you can’t just say no and roll over and go to sleep.  The hard part is developing the ability to know why you said no.

Sex for many of us is not something that we are comfortable with talking about or even thinking about beyond the fact that we want it and we want it now and that is the end of that.  Rarely do we take the time to think of why we want it and why we want it at that time.  If we struggle with developing the self awareness of why we actually want sex when we want it, it is that much more challenging to think (let alone communicate) about why we don’t want sex.  So with the goal of great sex in mind, how do we do it?

Sex is a great indicator of the health of a relationship.  Too often we get into the same old habit of sexually relating to our partners in a particular way.  We don’t look at things critically and just go through the motions.  Additionally, there can be a certain proprietary interest within the relationship that has evolved.  The “well I am in a relationship now so I can have sex whenever I want” mentality can leave us taking our partners for granted and vice versa.  Remember consent is something that can always be given and taken away at any time in any relationship.

When working with people through this issue, I often will invite people to make a list of why they want to have sex, when things are good.  A typical list could look like:

I feel like having sex when…

–       I feel appreciated

–       I find my partner attractive

–       We are not arguing

–       They are pulling their weight in the relationship

–       I have energy

–       The kids are away

–       I feel sexy

–       We are going to try something new

You get the idea.  The list can be as long and as creative as you want with honesty being the core theme.  Then take a good hard look at the list.  Then ask yourself, what is not there?  What is frustrating you?  Then start writing about that.  Get clear on that.  So we are now clear on what has worked and what is currently not working. Now the tough part, how do we tell our partner?

This may be an awkward and uncomfortable conversation…but have it.  Get good at them and your sex and relationship will be that much better.  Start off with being honest, you may start with, “Hey, this is a bit awkward for me to talk to you about and I am taking a risk sharing with you, but I love having great sex with you and it is important for me to let you know what is going on for me. Is it all right for us to talk now?”  You are being honest (it is awkward and risky), you reframe into a positive state (wanting great sex), let them know it is important and empower your partner by asking if now is a good time to talk.  Then say what you have to say. Then allow them to share.

Again this may be uncomfortable but it is honest and when you can communicate honestly with your partner about sex they can understand, appreciate, and love you for who you really are.

Remember there is no right way there is no wrong way there is just your way and that is ok.

Dr. Stephen de Wit is a Toronto sexologist and sexual communications coach. Stephen is on a one man mission to ensure that everyone lives the sexually empowered existence they want.  He has completed his Doctorate of Human Sexuality and focuses his energy on keynotes, workshops, seminars, writing and media appearances always with a fun, interactive, high impact approach.  For more information visit

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