There you said it. Wasn’t hard was it? Actually it’s one of the hardest things to say to a partner. It’s one of the hardest things to say to anyone.
Any of these sound familiar?
If my sex life isn’t satisfying can I save my relationship?
My partner doesn't satisfy me sexually, how do I tell them?
Am I not having sex right it I’m not feeling sexually satisfied?
So what happens if you’re not sexually satisfied? What are the signs to look out for in a partner? And the most important bit: what can you do if you’re not feeling sexually satisfied?
The level of satisfaction in couples falls after just a year. One year of mind blowing sex and then just like that it drops off. Why is that? Surely the chemicals of physical attraction are always there? The good news is that it’s not down to marriage, living together or popping out babies which previous studies hinted towards.
Instead, it's as simple as arguments, domestic spats and simply not listening to each other.
So what are the signs you’re not as sexually satisfied as you’d like to be?
The signs can be so simple and yet so easy to miss. Easy to dismiss. Busy schedules, poor communication, not feeling sexy anymore are just some of the reasons sex lifes can tail off.
The line “I just make myself have it once a month” is so common. And it begs the question why? At what point did you choose going to sleep over the heights of pleasure?
At what point did sex become unsexy?
If you’re not communicating outside of the bedroom then it's no wonder that this will translate into a lack of comms around ‘sexy time’. Let’s look at a standard definition of sexual satisfaction. Being able to openly communicate what it is you like not just physically but emotionally and intellectually too. If you’re fulfilled in all those areas you’re going to be fulfilled sexually. No stone is unturned. Your sex life exists on an open playing field of honesty.
Does your mind wander during sex? Anyone who claims they haven’t had a moment where they’ve just ‘wanted it over’ is telling a little lie. It’s life. We all have distractions. But ask yourself this: where is my mind going? What’s the cause of the distraction and can I bring my focus back? Do I want to bring my focus back?
Surely that adds to sexual satisfaction? Self satisfaction, yes. But we’re talking about sex with someone else here. If you’re finding yourself playing solo more often than not - or your partner is - then maybe you’re looking for other ways to find your kicks if you’re not getting them from someone else?
You simply feel ‘off’. Whether or not there are physical signs of not feeling satisfied, your emotional self is more than likely triggering the ‘off’ feeling. It's the age old phrase ‘you know deep down that something isn’t quite right’.
Fantasy can play a massively positive role in sex lives. Dressing up, acting out a part, introducing props and objects, when fantasies are played out with a partner it can be hot as hell. Fantasise about someone else though and you’re on a different playing field. You’ve taken yourself mentally out of your relationship and you’ve got someone else on your mind. If you can’t remove them from your mind then this could be a signal that your own partnership isn’t satisfying you in ways that you’re picturing your fantasy might.
Withholding sex from your partner - there is very little to say on this one other than yep, it’s not great and you might want to have a good think about whether you’re with the right person.
You can’t create sexual chemistry but satisfaction is about compatibility and is that something that we can make work even if the chemistry is absent? I guess the unsatisfied partner can always lead a rich, masturbation-filled life or they could simply forgo the sexual satisfaction in exchange for all the other positives the relationship brings. But, if this isn’t enough, if you need the satisfaction, then you’re going to need to work for it, work at it, work with your partner.
Here’s a few things to consider.
Have you actually had a conversation with your partner? Do they actually know you’re not satisfied? You need to vocalise how you’re feeling, talk about what you feel has changed or is lacking, lay bare your fantasies. Start with an empty book and re-write your script together. Talking frankly about sex is not easy but you need to step outside of your comfort zone.
If there’s no willingness on your partner’s side to go any further with the conversation then the choice is yours. You accept the situation for what it is and go and have a wank. Or you decide you want more and off you trot.
Sex is so focused on orgasms, it’s the ultimate goal at the end of the day. But let’s scale it back for a bit. Why not just enjoy each other’s bodies? Don’t think about penetration, or orgasms or how hard or wet your partner is. Actually just explore each other's bodies. Be it with your fingers, your tongue, a sex toy, breathe in every smell, every touch, every bit of skin, every bump and you’ll discover an incredibly sensual, sexual, bonding experience. Which, let’s face it, will probably end in you both devouring each other at the end. But without the pressure.
Whether you're motivated to do any of this is the key question. Therapists would all argue you can improve your sex lives. It takes investment, communication and the ability to be vulnerable. Not everyone is up for that. Not everyone is comfortable with that. Whether it’s worth all of that is the overriding question.
Just remember that if you do decide to break up with someone, it is by no means a betrayal. It's exceptionally brave and you are saving yourself and your partner from resentment further down the line. If you’ve come to the conclusion you’re going to work at it, then work at it. Hard! Have that awkward chat, put time aside to schmooze the pants off each other, find the inner strength to open yourself up just that little bit more.
Let’s face it, great things never come from comfort zones...