Is he just not that into sex or me?

Q. I feel really embarrassed to have to ask this but here goes. I’ve been dating my boyfriend about half a year and everything was going great up to now. Our sex life was really good (in my opinion), but then it started to slide about a month ago and now we only do it once a week or every two weeks. I have a really high sex drive, but I don’t want to end things because I really really like him. I’m great looking and have a lot going for me – is he just losing interest or is he not really into sex?!

A. Many people could probably identify with your frustration. When couples first start getting it on, it’s as though they can’t keep their hands off each other. There’s not much effort that needs to go into making sex happen because the novelty and thrill are more than enough to sustain it. Then you wind up in one of these all too familiar situations; the frequency wears off, or it’s not as exciting as it used to be. Either way, it can brew insecurity, mistrust, disappointment - or all three.

If you observe such a change in your sexual relationship, it’s natural for you to wonder “are they still attracted to me?”, or, “is there a problem in our relationship?” Don’t panic. Stress can take up every ounce of their loving attention; it’s important for you not to just assume that his distraction indicates a lack of love.

Have there been any significant changes occurring in his life? Family issues, job loss, school stress, money problems, etc. can all have a bearing on his sex drive. Side effects from medication, as well as drug or alcohol abuse can also be factors. Any of the aforesaid items are powerful enough to mess with his mojo, so much so that it spills over into your sex life.

Here are two ways to approach the situation. First, you could just let him go through whatever it is he needs to go through - and in the meantime, keep yourself busy by doing things that make you feel good about yourself. Or, you can simply discuss how you’re feeling with him. Be sensitive and avoid criticizing; he may be so distracted right now that he’s either hardly noticed or feels too overwhelmed to bring up his lack of desire. Communication encourages intimacy and helps to form a stronger relationship, both emotionally and sexually. Even though he needs to take responsibility for his feelings and actions, a little help from you (by listening or encouraging) could go a long way. If you decide on tactic one to start with and there is no success, you must switch to tactic two.

A healthy sexual relationship requires a balance of chemistry, communication, and a bit of negotiation. You shouldn’t hound him into doing anything he’s not yet comfortable with, but your needs shouldn’t be ignored either. A great compromise is for you to initiate more contact; anything from cuddles, caresses, a nice massage, to a blow job - and if he’s up for it, sex. These are all great ways for him to relax and take his mind off his troubles. In fact, it might be all he needs to overcome his frame of mind.