Sex between two consenting adults is a beautiful thing. (So is using birth control until you’re ready to have a kid.) But if it starts to feel complicated or boring, it could be time to take a break and reevaluate what—or who—turns you on.
You might need a break from sex if it feels…
Do you fight all the time? Is there a lot of breaking up and making up? Feeling pressure from unrealistic demands or expectations? Relationships are hard work, but they shouldn’t be a constant source of stress. A break from sex—and possibly the relationship—can ease the tension and help you figure out what’s really going on. Try this: Explore new ways to de-stress and use that time to reflect.
Can’t schedule time for it? Friends-with-benefits situation no longer satisfying? Not talking or connecting outside the bedroom? Questioning your sexual preferences? If things are getting too complicated, a break can help you sort things out. It can even create an opportunity for you to reboot your relationships (or your life) and start over again.
3. Sad or Lonely
Sex is not this perfect thing that always leaves us fulfilled. But, if you frequently feel sad or lonely after you’ve had it, a break might help you understand what’s stirring up those emotions. Are you unhappy in a relationship? Are body image issues messing with you? Could it be that you have mild depression (it’s very common) or post-coital tristesse? Try this: Talk to your partner about your fears, feelings, or needs. Then see a healthcare provider for additional support.
Think an STI or unplanned pregnancy won’t happen to you? Does birth control feel like a burden? In the moment, it’s easy to get carried away and ignore everything you know about safety and pregnancy prevention. If that’s happening a lot, consider some time off while you look into methods that are easier, more enjoyable, and effective. If there’s more to it, like a pattern of destructive behavior, please talk to someone about it.
Just going through the motions? No longer enjoying sex? Are you even having sex? Sex can foster intimacy, bonding, relaxation, and joy. If you’re getting nothing out of it, it’s probably time to stop and ask yourself why. If it’s time to bust out of a rut and spice things up, you can follow a break by trying some new sex positions. Or, if you’ve truly lost desire, make sure there’s not a health matter impacting your libido.
Sometimes simply upgrading your birth control can improve your sex life. If you take a break, make sure you consider your contraceptive options while you’re at it because maybe all you need is a better method.
Other times, it could be that you and your partner aren’t compatible in bed because you’re not in a compatible relationship. In that case, finding a new partner might be your best option. (And we sincerely hope you don’t have to break up with anyone, but if you do, here’s some advice on that.)
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