There are lots of reasons why attraction starts to fade over the course of a relationship. Some of it is genetic. Some of it is aging — as your body changes, you might take those changes as a sign that sex is in the past, rather than adapting. Some of it comes from getting a bit bored because over the months and eventual years of a relationship, we get comfortable. It can also result from conflict — unresolved issues, or recent arguments, can kill your sexual attraction.
Whatever the case, just because you haven’t been feeling attracted to your partner doesn’t mean it’s all over. You can bring back those sexy feelings and light the spark of attraction again without starting all over in a new relationship.
If you’re ready to bring sexy back into your relationship, try these ideas.
Fix the relationship
The first step is to find and address any issues in the relationship. While a loss of attraction doesn’t always stem from relationship problems, it will continue to be impaired if there are unresolved problems.
Left unresolved, these problems will expand beyond just your physical attraction and begin to eat away at the rest of your relationship.
If you know there are problems, or you think there might be, it’s time to sit down with your partner and talk about them. Depending on the issues, you might even get some couples counseling to solve the issues and strengthen your relationship.
Look for the good in your partner
Over the course of a relationship, we start to notice those things that really irritate us about our partner. As we start spending nights together or move in together, we get stuck on how they never put their dirty clothes in the hamper, or how they leave dirty dishes all over the house. When they forget to stop and buy milk for the fourth time, we go from mildly annoyed to angry for a week. If you’re annoyed or downright angry with your partner, finding the urge to have sex with them is pretty much impossible.
Spend some time looking for good qualities in your partner. Maybe they pour you a cup of coffee and bring it to you in the bathroom while you do your hair and makeup. Maybe they wash your car every week or give it a once-over to check fluid levels, tire pressure and other things to ensure you’re safe when you drive. Maybe they snuggle the kids and use funny voices to tell them stories.
Find those good things that you can love about your partner and focus more on those instead of whatever annoys you.
Talk to your partner
No one really wants to admit to their partner that they’re just not feeling it. Especially if your partner still seems to be hot for you, it can feel awkward and make you worry that they’ll feel rejected.
But sometimes talking to your partner can be the best way to resolve this situation. You might be surprised to find they feel the same way. Even if they don’t, chances are good they’re going to want to help you with it.
Of course, this is a delicate topic to bring up. And if it’s not handled gently, it can make things worse. So be gentle in your approach. Be clear with your partner that you are bringing this up because you want to make things better, not because you want to end things between you.
Start flirting with your partner again
When you first met your partner and in the early days of dating, you probably spent a lot of time flirting with them. Little pet names, lingering looks, “accidental” touching, footsie under the table at dinner… they often came naturally in the early stages, but as life takes over, we stop doing them.
But flirting plays a rather big role in our desire for another person. It’s a form of foreplay, building up the anticipation, and without it, we can forget not only that we’re attracted to our partner, but that they’re attracted to us.
Flirting helps both people remember that there’s a physical aspect to our relationship so that when someone initiates sex, it’s not a surprise. Think of flirting as warming up the car before you leave on a cold morning. You’re a lot more willing to get in the car when it’s toasty than when it’s freezing, right? You’ll be much more interested in sex if you’ve been warmed up with flirting first.
Reconnect emotionally and mentally
Physical attraction is a single component to the relationship, and to sexual attraction. While you might think physical attraction is solely about how someone looks and whether their appearance turns you on, it’s much more than that.
Often, a drop in physical attraction comes from a disconnection between you and your partner emotionally and/or mentally. Maybe you’ve both been busy with work and haven’t had a lot of time to connect. Maybe you’ve both been busy with your own kids. There are lots of reasons, but the end result is that you don’t feel as connected and close.
Try going out to dinner or cooking a romantic meal for two at home. Take a walk in the park. Go out for dessert at a coffee shop. Take an hour or two to talk and reconnect with each other.
When you rebuild your emotional and mental connection with each other, physical attraction often returns with it.
Get a quick checkup
There are plenty of medical reasons that can contribute to a loss of libido, which can feel like loss of attraction sometimes.
Whatever your gender, it can’t hurt to see your doctor and have a quick but thorough checkup. Blood tests can check hormone levels, but your doctor can also ask questions that might uncover other symptoms that you don’t realize are related.
Depending on the results, there are medicines your doctor can prescribe and other recommendations they can make that will help you get back in the mood.
When you notice that physical attraction is gone, or at least significantly decreased, it’s easy to worry that it’s a sign your sex life is over. It doesn’t have to be. It might mean putting in some more effort, getting some counseling, or taking medication, but your sex life can still thrive — and with your current partner. Be open to the possibilities and you might be amazed at what can happen.
Wendy Miller is a freelance relationship writer & meditation teacher. After years of settling for abusive and otherwise toxic relationships, she got fed up. Using meditation and other tools, she got to work on healing herself, setting boundaries, and only engaging in relationships (romantic and otherwise) that bring her joy. She wants to help other single parents find the love they seek, including and going beyond romantic love. She lives in Florida with her two sons, where she homeschools while solo parenting, while surrounded by what feels like a zooful of animals.
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