Sex Diaries is a weekly series on HuffPost UK that asks readers to share their sex lives: to talk about the sex they’re having (or not). Interested in anonymously sharing your story? Email email@example.com
When I met my partner, I’d actually been someone else for six years. But we hit it off from the start. We were at a festival and the chemistry was amazing. He was also my blessing in disguise as he gave me the courage and strength to leave what had become a toxic relationship. That was two years ago.
The problems surfaced in our new relationship early on. We’d only been dating three months when we moved in together. It should have been a happy time, but it’s actually when it started going wrong. A lot of bad things happened all at once that cut the honeymoon period short.
My partner had dropped out of university for financial reasons and was suffering with depression. But he came from a family where you don’t talk about those things, so it went unspoken and undiagnosed. We were also living in a houseshare, which had lots of problems. There was no heating in the winter, then the radiators wouldn’t turn off in the summer – which meant extortionate bills.
All of this stuff began to take its toll on our sex life. My partner developed intimacy issues and a mental block on sex – he didn’t feel confident or sexy because he felt miserable all the time. We were having sex maybe once every two months at this point and even when it did happen it was a struggle.
I tried everything to make him feel better but it wasn’t working. I was even comparing him to the ex-boyfriend in my mind. I knew I had to tell him this relationship wasn’t going to last if we couldn’t find a solution.
Then a colleague recommended an app called Love Nudge. It’s based on the idea that we all have love languages – or ways of communicating with our partners. The five languages are: receiving gifts, spending quality time, words of affirmation, acts of service and physical touch. My partner and I took the test to work out which languages we are.
“If I thought we hadn’t had sex in a couple of weeks I would totally freak out. Now I’ve got peace of mind.”
We found out his primary love language is time whereas I favour touch, which is probably why our sex life (or lack of one) was impacting me so much. Once we’d worked that out, we set each other goals in the new app that we had to do – things to make each other happy while ‘speaking’ our love languages.
For example, my to-do list to make him happy is spending hours playing video or board games or watching movies with him. He likes that time spent together. For someone else, it might be sending a love note with compliments and kind words, buying them a gift, or holding hands when you go out together.
You choose how often to meet your goals and track when the other person does theirs. I look at the app daily but my partner uses it less. I often just go into it and reflect on the goals we’ve set together – we have at least 15 at any one time. My partner works shifts so it’s also useful for scheduling quality time. That way, neither of us feels like we are missing out or pestering the other person.
We use the app to set how frequently we want to have sex, because that’s important, too. At the moment we’ve gone for twice a month and we’re achieving that. That makes me feel better. Before the app, if I thought we hadn’t had sex in a couple of weeks I would totally freak out. Now I’ve got peace of mind. I can see we’re on track with where we wanted to be.
Essentially it’s a digital tick sheet that gives you reminders and lets you know you’re reaching the goals you set together. That you’re on the same page. Once you’ve done that thing you promised you’d for the other person, you can move on to the next. It’s also good to have something to nudge you to do something nice for your partner that isn’t them nagging you – neither of us have to pester the other one and we just do things that makes the other one happy.
Some people say technology is taking away how we communicate and that might not sound romantic, but I was so desperate to make my partner happy after months of being miserable myself, I was willing to try anything. We really needed to get ourselves back on track – and if it works, it works.