Early on in a relationship, you and your guy spend so much time in bed, there's little point in even making it. Then as the months and years go by, the sex tends to fall off some - a perfectly normal side effect of the decreased hormones that are often the result of increased closeness. But that doesn't mean it should nosedive until you have hardly any sex...ever. "Most men in their 20s and 30s have strong libidos," says Debbie Magids, Ph.D., co-author of All The Good Ones Aren't Taken. "So if there is a lack of sex drive, it's a clear symptom that something is going on either in his life or in your relationship."
We've compiled the five most common sex-drive busters - start with the first, and eliminate them one by one until you figure out what's going on. Then follow the advice for how to deal.
He's stressed out
"Feeling overwhelmed, tired, or stressed will lower a man's sex drive," explains Jay Carter, Psy.D., author of Nasty Men. So if he has taken on extra work at his job or has family drama swirling around him, his brain may be too fried to even think about a nooky.
What to do: Don't reveal that you've noticed his stress level negatively affecting your sex life; if he has to think about your being unsatisfied on top of everything else, he'll just get more anxious. "Be understanding, give him a neck rub, or play some calming mu sic when he gets home," suggests cer tified sex therapist Joy Davidson, Ph.D. Feeling more relaxed will allow him to think about getting it on again.
He's pissed off at you
Contrary to popular belief, guys don't always rant and rave when they're angry. Sometimes they retaliate by quietly pulling away- which can mean withholding sex. "Anger is corrosive to intimacy," Davidson points out.
What to do: Obviously, if you had a blowout before the deep freeze set in, you'll know what's going on. But sometimes you anger your man without even knowing it.For instance, did you let some dude buy you a drink at a bar-because, hey, free drink!-while your guy was off talking to other friends? When you make him feel bad in little ways, you need to repair the damage by stroking his ego. Flirt with him, compliment him, let him know that you need him in your life. There are few things that turn a guy on-or thaw his grumpy mood-as much as knowing that he's desired.
He's commitment phobic
Maybe you've been talking about moving in together or just discussing the future. Addressing issues like those can make even the most devoted boyfriend feel trepidation. "Men bond with you through sex," Davidson explains. "So when your relationship is going through a decision-making period, he may withdraw sexually to give himself time to think things over."
What to do: Postpone any commitment-heavy talks-pressing him on it will only make him freak out more. For good measure, make sure he's within earshot the next time you casually mention to someone on the phone that you're in no rush to get hitched. His mental alarms will stop going off long enough for him to realise that you're the same cool chick he started dating in the first place, so it's high time to get close again.
He's worried about his sack skills
If your guy has had some trouble keeping his soldier standing at attention after a few too many cocktails or if he's aware that you haven't reached the big O during your last several sessions, his self-esteem could be suffering big time. "Sex is what makes a guy feel manly, so if he's having difficulty keeping it up or thinks you aren't enjoying yourself, he will feel emasculated and may stop even trying for fear of more failure," Magids says.
What to do: You'll know he's having performance anxiety if he's acting normal everywhere but in the bedroom. "Don't tell him you've noticed he's not the same in bed," says Denver relationship therapist Patricia Co valt, Ph.D., author of What Smart Couples Know. Instead, casually mention something he does to you sexually that you've been craving.
He wants to break up
Harsh but true. Still, if a guy wants out, his behaviour won't switch overnight-he'll begin by retreating emotionally before shutting down physically.
What to do: If you've eliminated the other possibilities, you need to call him out. "Most men don't want to look like the bad guy, so if they plan on dumping you, they send signals-like denying sex," Ma gids says. Tell him you've noticed things have changed, and ask why he thinks that is. Before you raise the is sue though, prepare for a possible breakup, no matter what the outcome, it'll be good to have someone to talk to.