Are You Unintentionally Killing Your Sex Life?

Here are five ways you might be saying no to sex without even realizing it.

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killing your sex life, a couple getting frisky in a car
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Who doesn’t want to have sex?

Sex is good for us. It makes us happy. But there are some daily cues that we signal that could be telling our partner no even before they even suggest a bit of wink, wink, nudge, nudge.

Sure life gets in the way, but Tara Caffelle, relationship and communication coach, suggests that it is possible change daily behaviour to encourage more intimacy. Here she tells us what those cues are and how to correct it (if you want some sexsay-time of course!).

And, P.S., if you find your partner is doing some of these things, feel free to leave this on the home computer for them to accidentally read. ????

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killing your sex life, an illustration of an older couple
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Killing your sex life: You act like an old couple.

The relationship coach says: You know the saying, “Dress for the job you want.” Well, behave for the sex you want to have. “At the end of the day, I encourage couples to remember that they are a team. Put some energy into building that and you can’t go wrong,” says Caffelle. Couples can get “too comfortable” around each other. “A main cause is something called limerance: The euphoria we experience at the beginning of relationships,” she says. “Our behavior shifts temporarily to accommodate new romantic attraction, but as real life must resume, it eventually fades. We get comfortable, we take on responsibility, and I think we definitely feel pressure at work, not necessarily because we think we’re indispensable there, but because we are asked to take on so much.”

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killing your sex life, play hookie
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Killing your sex life: When was the last time you played hookie together?

The relationship coach says: It’s been too long. “When I have clients who are stuck and feel they are missing out on the fun they used to have, I ask them, in small ways, to prioritize that,” says Caffelle. “When there’s a long list of chores to tackle on the weekend, start with a hike or something you enjoy – it will lend energy to the rest of the day. I also suggest creating moments to ‘play hookie,’ cancel some plans, hire someone to take on chores that take a long time – for me, that’s yard work. And enjoy the space of it together. Once we realize it is truly our choice to stretch ourselves thin, we can also see it’s a choice to step back from that.”

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killing your sex life, separate hobbies
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Killing your sex life: You enjoy your me-time separately.

The relationship coach says: “We never go wrong when we follow what is fun,” says Caffelle. She encourages couples to talk about hobbies each misses and don’t make time for. Or you you can both “explore some new interests together and prioritize joy in your relationship. Rather than spending a lot of time deciding what to do, try something and see if it’s fun. If it’s not, then try something else. The important thing is to do it together and see what happens.”

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killing your sex life, no intimate conversations
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Killing your sex life: You’re not asking the right questions.

The relationship coach says: Make sure you chat every day. “When we take time to talk to one another, we create an opportunity to turn toward each other and reinforce that we are a team. We help our partner to feel seen and heard, and that can be a huge boost to sexual energy. In addition to all this, it’s a point of connection that builds intimacy and also lowers stress levels.” Of course you still need to know if they can pick up the kids on Thursday or if the in-laws are coming for dinner on Sunday, but still ask about them and how they’re doing. It could be as simple as greeting them when they come home or having a bit of FaceTime if one of you are away on a work trip. Caffelle says this works, even for her own relationship. “He beamed when I [would greet him when he arrived at home], and it felt really good to take that time for him. You can bet it showed up in how we flirted and carried on for the rest of the evening as we made dinner and went to bed.”

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killing your sex life, too busy
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Killing your sex life: Your day-to-day is very routine.

The relationship coach says: While you might think having your weekly schedule down pat is worth patting yourself on the back for, but it could be killing your sex life. “We fall into comfort and sometimes that can turn into a rut,” says Caffelle. “When we are swamped with responsibility, it’s easy to fall into what works and what we always do, and this can translate into the bedroom.” While switching chicken night with taco night doesn’t seem romantic, it can encourage subtle and fun behaviours. Who knows? You might have a Wednesday night date night. Seeking ways to keep life interesting will encourage a healthy sex life.

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killing your sex life, too much time arguing over house chores
illustration credit: shutterstock

Killing your sex life: You spend too much time cleaning (or arguing about cleaning).

The relationship coach says: “Clutter, chores and responsibility all take up ‘real estate’ in our minds, and they take our energy, too,” says Caffelle. “If the chores are taken care of, if we are able to walk into our home and have it be clear and clean and for nothing to be done, frees us. It may alleviate conflict about who-does-what and allow a couple to focus on each other, rather than continuing to juggle and perhaps even end up putting intimacy as an item on a to-do list.” That’s not to say living in squalor is sexy, but it might be time to re-think your cleaning schedule – take weekends off or hire a cleaner once in awhile. “If a thing like the housework can be taken care of, it may allow you to experience some rest and have you reaching for each other.”