Humans, in general, are highly sexualized creatures. We’re one of very few species that actually engages in sex for fun, and not just to populate the planet. We’re also in a small group of species that has sex to show affection, and generally with exclusivity. It’s easy to tell ourselves that it’s in our nature to fall for the person we open our legs for – and in some ways, it is. There’s a ton of chemical activity that takes place to pretty much guarantee you’re going to feel safe, protected, and cared for with the person you hook up with.
But chemical reactions will only get you so far. What happens if the partner you’re absolutely crazy about just isn’t getting your motor running like you thought she should? What if every part of your relationship is perfect, but your bedroom is the land of disappointment and/or rejection?
Don’t worry. In this article, we’re going to walk you through the top 5 reasons your sex life isn’t what you hoped it would be – and some steps to help fix the problem. In many cases, your situation may be a combination of more than one reason – feel free to mix it up and try as much as you’re comfortable trying! Take responsibility for your own sexual satisfaction, and learn how to get what you really want.
Your fantasies are stigmatized.
Many women feel ashamed of their fantasies because of the way society perceives those things. Sometimes, this shame comes from their families. Sometimes, the shame comes from their cultural upbringing. Other times, women are stigmatized by society as a whole and conditioned to think that we’re not allowed to enjoy our sex lives. No matter what the source of your feelings of shame, it’s important that you put the stigmas to rest – in your own life, and in the judgment of others.
One of the easiest ways to eliminate the power of stigmas is to consciously engage in not perpetuating them. If your family and friends shame you for your sexuality and what you choose to do with your body and your consenting partner (or partners), make a conscious choice to not open that part of your life to them. You don’t need to crawl back in the closet just to close the curtains a little, either – just take note not to mention your fantasies and sexual activity to them anymore.
If the shame is coming from an inward reflection of your beliefs and heritage, many find it helpful to read through the important written works of their respective belief system. Religious texts in particular are prone to adaptation and mistranslation, so there’s a good chance that your core belief system is based on something much different than what you’re used to reading. Additionally, during this reading and introspection, some people find that the belief system they’ve been accustomed to isn’t as good a fit for them as they originally thought.
On the other hand, if the pressure to keep your sexuality a secret is coming from society at large, the easiest way to remove the stigma is to consciously choose to be unapologetically yourself. Don’t go out of your way to broadcast your desires, but don’t be your own worst enemy when it comes to chasing them. Give yourself permission to fantasize, and consciously stop yourself from passing judgment on other women’s sexual choices. It won’t automatically fix the world, but your positive actions will be contagious. Change happens one person at a time, and it can start with you.
You’re afraid to masturbate.
The subject of masturbation is still fairly taboo, too – or, at least the subject of female masturbation is. It’s tough to find women who are willing to talk about their masturbation habits, and it’s hard to tell if that’s because they don’t do it, or because they feel they’re not supposed to. Either way, the stigmas surrounding female masturbation are entirely unfounded. As long as masturbation doesn’t get in the way of the other areas of your life – such as your job, your relationship, and your sleep – there’s no harm in exploring your own body on a regular basis.
Along with the immediate satisfaction we get when we orgasm, masturbation helps us learn what our body is responsive to – and, to a lesser extent, what our partner’s body might be responsive to. Most kids start playing with themselves around the age of 6, but many parents send the wrong message when correcting the behavior. Instead of being instructed to do that somewhere privately, kids are often taught that it’s perverted and wrong. This tends to start teaching the child to shame themselves for their sexual choices and pleasures, and later, to do the same to others.
Of course, there’s room to argue that these kids definitely still do masturbate, albeit now in private – exactly like the parents hoped for. But there’s a strong connection between how we feel about ourselves and how we think our parents feel about us as children. The specifics of this connection are going to vary on a case-by-case basis, but it’s generally agreed that a fully supportive environment leads to the happiest adulthood.
Deprogramming this body-shame can take a while, since giving yourself permission to masturbate and have a good time as an adult is weird. It also might seem weird to think of your parents giving you that permission as a kid, or that you may someday give that same permission to your own kids. It’s important to realize that our world is becoming progressively more sex-positive and accepting – so what seemed impossible in our parents’ lifetime is entirely possible within our children’s lifetime. All it takes is enough people willing to make the change.
You don’t know what you want.
There’s a world of possibility out there – and most people regret the things they don’t do far more than the things they have done. After all, when you’re done, you either get a lesson, a memory, or an experience – so make the most of every chance and try new things! You might find out you don’t like the things you thought you’d like. That’s perfectly fine. You might find out that you loved the things you thought you’d hate – that’s fine, too! As long as you’re being safe, and all sexual partners are consenting, there really isn’t a limit to the things you can try.
With the wonderful age of technology we live in, it’s easier than ever to explore the things that interest us and become an expert on everything practically overnight. And yet, for whatever reasons, we’re not actually exploring them nearly as much as we should. It’s hard work learning every corner of your mind, but somebody’s got to do it – and no one else can beat you to the punch.
Even in the most organized, most prepared, most thorough psychological studies ever conducted, in the history of ever, there’s a margin of error, especially when applied to humans. We are a complex web of emotions, chemicals, materials both squishy and firm, and an overlay of algorithms and encoded information.
Whether you believe in God, Mother Nature, or the flying spaghetti monster, you can’t deny that humans have been along for a lot longer than modern technology. Even with the drastic improvements that have been made over the last century, there’s no way to know everything.
That’s why, for most of us, exploring everyone else’s brain is of little interest to us. We don’t have nearly enough time to learn everything about everything, so we need to focus our attention on the one thing that we actually can know everything about: Ourselves. It’s our responsibility to discover your truth, your purpose, and your life goals. Don’t muck it up by worrying if you’re a pervert.
You’re not telling your partner what you want.
If you already have a solid grasp on the things you want out of your sex life, but you’re still not getting it, there’s a good chance you’re not communicating well enough. You can’t reasonably expect her to know what you want if you don’t tell her, and this applies just as much to your sex life as it does to the distribution of chores and bills.
The problem here is that most of us don’t feel comfortable discussing ourselves that intimately with our partners. Maybe we haven’t been together long enough, or we’ve been taught that our desires are shameful, or any number of other reasons. What we’re not taught is that the woman who’s worth our time is the one who will listen to the things we want, and give us the things that are in her power to give.
It’s important to note that your partner has no obligation to give into your every demand – and, in fact, she shouldn’t give in to things that make her feel uncomfortable. Likewise, she’s allowed to ask for things in return, and you’re allowed to accept or decline on a case-by-case basis. After all, your sex life involves more than just you – so do your best to be fair and honor her wishes, too.
It can be hard to find balance between getting what you want and her getting what she wants. It’s best if you don’t “keep score”, so to speak, but do your best to agree to every opportunity that presents itself unless you have a solid reason to think that you won’t enjoy it. If your partner wants to be a part of your sex life, she’ll understand that no means no, and trust that you’re compromising as much as she is.
You’re with the wrong person.
If you’ve gone through all these steps to fix your sex life and it’s still not what you’d like it to be, it might be that you’re just not with the right person for you. As much as we’d like to think that sex and love are mutually exclusive, the truth is that they’re not. Not from a psychological standpoint, at least.
If your sex life with your partner is disappointing enough that it causes you distress in your life, you should consider that your partner might not be right for you. Not every sexual identity is compatible with every other sexual identity, and the likelihood that you and another person identifies exactly the same are beyond slim. Sexual needs and desires embody a large spectrum that ranges from asexual to hypersexual, from modesty to exhibition, from demure to sadomasochistic.
Of course, just because you’re sexually incompatible doesn’t necessarily mean the relationship is over. It’s possible to adapt your sexual needs over time, if it’s a change you truly want to make. You also may decide that your sexual needs aren’t really as important as you’d originally thought they were, or she might have a chemical switch tripped and regain her libido sometime down the line. It’s entirely possible that people can chance – it’s one of our greatest skills as a species.
In situations where your sexual needs differ greatly and the situation is unlikely to change, but the rest of the relationship is worth hanging onto, it may be worthwhile to consider having an open or polyamorous relationship. Be warned that it’s not a good relationship model for everyone, but those who thrive in this type of relationship often feel that it brings them and their “primary partner” closer together, as it bridges the gap between their needs. Just be advised that it is possible that you’re not right for it – and you may not be able to handle the idea of your partner being free to see other people. Just remember to be fair in your arrangements so that neither of you feels you’re being cheated.