“Without sex, we would be dangerously invulnerable. We might believe we were not ridiculous. We wouldn’t know rejection and humiliation so intimately.” This is what Alain de Botton, author of How to Think More About Sex, has to say about the lack of this universal love language.
Sex is, or at least should be, the sign of an unconditional acceptance that we feel towards our partner, and that our partner feels towards us. It is through sex that two people send each other those comforting hidden messages: “I think you’re beautiful… I desire you… I love you”.
But even still, many times our deepest desires go ignored. It may feel shameful and humiliating to admit that. We sometimes feel dirty for wanting more sex, but making love is the fundamental drive that makes us human. Without sex, our relationship starts to suffer, and we start suffering from the inside as well.
What does it feel like to be in a sexless relationship? Here are 4 signs you might be sex-starved.
The information in this article is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images, videos and information, contained in this video is for general information purposes only and does not replace a consultation with your own doctor/health professional.
1. Escaping the mirror
Have you been feeling uncomfortable in your own skin lately? You’re waiting and waiting for your partner to send a passionate look your way, but that moment never comes. As a result, you may start noticing little imperfections on your body, and feel undesirable and unattractive. A 2019 study published in the Journal of Women’s Health found that body image can actually impact sexual satisfaction: feeling uncomfortable in your body could make you feel uncomfortable while having sex too. The study shows that feeling attractive is an important aspect of sexual activity.
Sex should make you feel like your partner loves and enjoys your body. It’s comforting to be able to be yourself in front of someone, exactly as you are. So, when you haven’t been touched for a long time, it’s natural you start questioning your attractiveness. And after more time passes, you may feel like you’re rejected because you’re just not pretty enough.
2. Seeing red
According to a study published in The Journal of Sex Research, people who want to have more sex, but can’t for some reason, often report feelings of anger and frustration. Do you feel like the lack of sex is making you a bit angry? Maybe you get irrationally frustrated over the tiniest things – a messy kitchen or the trash waiting to be taken out may become horrible and unforgivable mistakes. Your partner might look at you bewildered and wonder what’s going on, but your anger didn’t come overnight. It’s possible that negative feelings that come with rejection have been building up inside you. When that happens, you may not know how to get rid of all of those intense emotions. But if you start to lose your temper more often, it could turn your partner off even more.
3. Running away
A research study published in 2011 in Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy showed that men and women who were dissatisfied with their frequency of sex were also more likely to express overall lower relationship satisfaction. And when they become dissatisfied with their relationship, they might start withdrawing from their partner completely.
Did you notice you’re spending less and less time with your partner? Do you feel too lonely even when you’re right next to them? It’s possible to lose interest in what your loved one has to say or spending time with them. Unfortunately, for some people this withdrawal can create even more problems. They might become so disinterested in their partner, that they don’t even wish to have sex with them anymore.
4. Forbidden fantasies
As the end result, sometimes the lack of sex can bring us into the embrace of another person. Whether it’s physically or in our minds, we may long for someone else’s touch. It’s not because we don’t love our partner, but because we can’t keep up with unfulfilled desires. The reason for this could have something to do with our brain chemistry. Prof. Dr. René Hurlemann from the Bonn University Medical Center says that “an important role in partner bonding is played by the hormone oxytocin”. Oxytocin is commonly known as “the love hormone”, and a study published in journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences showed that higher levels of oxytocin can actually increase the need for monogamy.
So, when we lack the love hormone that comes from sex and bonding, we might fantasize about other people, wondering how it might be if we were single and available. Do you sometimes imagine being with someone else? For those who do, this can be hard to admit, even to ourselves. It only increases the guilt and shame that we feel already, and makes us feel like we are terrible. But no matter how bad you might feel, it’s important to remember to be gentle with yourself. What you feel is a part of being human.
Why sex is good
As we said before, sex is a love language. And apart from building a connection with your loved one, it also plays a role in your physical and emotional health. Studies have supported this theory, showing that sex: improves heart health, soothes headaches, acts as a form of exercise and boosts immune function.
But no matter how deprived you may feel, it’s important to note that your partner’s perspective is important too. Just as you shouldn’t be shamed for wanting more sex, they shouldn’t be shamed for wanting less. Even if a couple is dating or married, partners shouldn’t feel like they have an obligation to have sex if they don’t want to. The best thing you could do is ask them openly – is there something wrong? And if the problem is a bit deeper, visiting a sex therapist or a couple’s therapist might be what improves your relationship and connects your bodies again.
Do you relate to some of these signs? This article explained the perspective of a person with a higher sex-drive, but if you’re actually the one who doesn’t feel like having sex, feel free to check out this video to see if you’re sexually repressed.
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