How Do I Tell My Partner That Our Sex Life Is Boring?

Here's how to have awkward conversations about sex.
Vuk Saric via Getty Images

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You feel like you’ve won the lottery when you think you’ve found that forever person. It’s rare to find someone who ticks all your boxes and makes you feel safe. So, when that happens you’ll do anything to ensure that your relationship lasts.

Even if that means ignoring some aspects of the relationship that aren’t perfect.

This week’s reader Matthew is sure that he’s found the one but there’s one part of the relationship that is lacking: the sex. “I love my partner but our sex life is boring,” he tells HuffPost UK.

“I’ve been with my partner for a year and a half now. I’m very much in love with her but this isn’t the best sex I’ve had in my life,” he says.

He continues: “We’ve spoken about opening up our relationship but I think I only suggested doing this because I’m not satisfied in the bedroom. The sex is good but it’s not amazing and it makes me wonder if you can have it all in relationships?”

It’s evident that Matthew wants to make it work with his partner but is he settling in his love life? Counselling Directory member Nina Jellinek is on hand to help.

How important is the role of sex in a relationship?

Jellinek thinks this is a bit of a tricky question.

“For some people, sex is actually not important at all, or they might actively prefer a non-sexual relationship (not always a preference that is easy to express),” she says.

However, some people really value sex. “Both viewpoints are natural; the issues tend to arise if your and your partner’s feelings are at odds with each other,” Jellinek explains.

Sex usually plays a big part in relationships as it can be physically fun and satisfying.

“But it can also go beyond the physical feelings, and, for many, it is part of the sense of intimacy in a relationship,” Jellinek adds.

So, she says that “when there is a mismatch in people’s feelings about physical intimacy, it can lead to feelings of frustration, guilt, or resentment which can build up over time.”

What should we do if we feel that our sex life is lacking in our relationship?

Jellinek wants Matthew to consider whether the lack of sex is a temporary thing or if things might settle by themselves.

“It is also worth considering whether we have reasonable expectations around sex,” she says. When the relationship is new she says sex may have that novelty factor which is just not realistic to expect to maintain forever.

“This does not mean that you can’t expect to have an exciting physical relationship, just that things do change,” she adds.

Over time, people do sometimes fall into a routine that might be comfortable, but the sex might not have the same thrill factor that you had before.

“However, the truth might also be that you and your partner might be emotionally compatible, but the physical compatibility might never have been at the same level,” Jellinek says.

This could be a trickier situation because you have to try to address it. “But you also have to consider what you would do if things never improved in the way that you want,” she adds.

What practical advice would you give this reader?

If you aren’t happy with your sex life, ask your partner whether they feel the same.

“If you both want to improve things, there is a lot of scope for change, but it is important that each of you communicates your needs,” Jellinek advises.

If Matthew’s partner doesn’t feel the same, it might be a harder conversation to have. Jellinek suggests having a discussion about potentially exploring new experiences together.

If things aren’t working, there is the possibility of opening up the relationship. “There is nothing inherently wrong with this, but it can certainly come with complications,” Jellinek adds.

She continues: “It’s only going to work if you are both genuinely OK with it and even then the impact might be unpredictable.”

She wants Matthew to know that if he is not happy with his sex life it can impact his relationship so it’s an issue that needs to be talked through.

Love Stuck is for those who’ve hit a romantic wall, whether you’re single or have been coupled up for decades. With the help of trained sex and relationship therapists, HuffPost UK will help answer your dilemmas. Submit a question here.

Rebecca Zisser/HuffPost UK