When Your Partner Says No To Sex

Yes, of course it‘s a disappointment when your partner isn’t interested in sex when you are, but that’s all it is – a disappointment. If this is a longtime partner there will be other times.
I often hear from women, who are usually not as experienced at initiating, “I’ve tried being the one to start things a few times but I hate being turned down.” Do you imagine men enjoy it? No one likes to be turned down for something he or she wants, even if it’s just a dance. Unfortunately, men are usually more experienced in hearing No, but that doesn’t make it any easier.
If a man isn’t experienced in hearing No, if any person isn’t experiencing hearing No, than he or she is just not putting themselves out there often enough! Being refused is an essential part of the life of a person who is proactive in getting his or her wants met.
Let’s say it’s a long time couple and the one of the two with the higher libido (not always the man in a heterosexual couple) feels as if his or her partner doesn’t care because s/he is “always” saying no. It may feel like that if refusing is frequent. If it is always, or even if it’s just feels that way, the matter needs to brought up and discussed in daylight. “How would you prefer me to approach you for sex since I feel you’re always turning me down?” If you have a noncommunicative partner who doesn’t like to discuss sex or who answers with a shrug or an “I don’t know” it’s okay to push a bit more. “Would sex before dinner be more attractive or when we wake up rather than when we go to sleep?” You’re the one who wants more sex so it’s your problem. What you want is to problem solve not start a fight, so keep at it.
What if it’s the way in which your partner says no, even if it’s not that often? Say so. “When you’re not interested in sex I sure wish you’d make a counter offer rather than just saying no. Could you try something like ‘I’m not in the mood right now, Sweetie. Try me again this evening.’ That way I won’t feel so coldly rejected.”
As you can see, here and many other times I have written, the person who asks explicitly for what he or she wants is much more likely to receive it; not hints, but asks plainly. If you are reluctant, perhaps rehearsing by yourself will make it easier.
What if you’re a person with a partner who really is generally unwilling to have sex with you or is physically unable? As the population ages the latter situation occurs more and more often. Let’s take the former case first – a partner who just is no longer interested in having sex or having sex with you. Are you strong enough to hear it? Better to find out sooner than later to see what if anything can be done about it – sex therapy, couple counseling, opening the relationship, breaking up? The only way to reach even a semi-satisfactory solution is an honest discussion of what is possible. Hoping in silence that something will change is usually futile.
What if your partner does admit there are physical obstacles – she finds intercourse painful or he can’t be sure of getting or keeping an erection? Again, better to know that than to feel you personally are being rejected. Now it’s time to problem solve with a physician’s help to see what solutions might be possible.
To sum it up, when a long-term sex partner begins refusing sex with you, when the Nos outnumber the Yeses, it’s time for a discussion. Is this a problem? Then there is likely some solution that can be arrived at by an honest discussion. If this is just a matter of occasional disappointment well, that’s how life is. Still hearing No from your Sweetie can be made a bit more acceptable if s/he does so in a kinder manner. Let Sweetie know.