Show transcript from the My Intimacy Therapist Podcast - Episode 74. Listen to the episode on Spotify or Apple Podcasts.
Welcome to the My intimacy Therapist Podcast. I'm therapist and coach, Sade Jovanne. If you want to feel less anxiety in your relationships and enjoy a confident and spiritual intimate life, you're in the right place. So grab a cup of tea - and a warm blanket - and let's talk intimacy.
📍 Let's have a bit of a honest conversation right now. Have you been avoiding having sex with your partner? Yes? A little bit. Not technically. Okay. I'm gonna count all of those as yes.
Let's walk up to that question and just have an honest moment with it. No judgment attached, only curiosity. If that is you - and you were to reflect internally on what's going on - where do you feel the resistance coming from? And it could be multiple places, but at least let's have the awareness of it. I am all for conscious decision making.
And so if at the end of this conversation, you emerge saying, "Yep. I know the reasons why we're not having sex, and I still don't want to," then okay. But if you just feel a really big wall of avoidance inside, and you don't quite know why... then this means that the wall is doing the talking for us. It's running the show, not you. I would just rather it be you (running the show). So let's see what's up.
Reasons You Could Be Avoiding Sex with Your Spouse
It could be that life is busy, busy, busy, busy, busy. Right now, three thousand and one things on your mind and five thousand things you've forgotten about. And it could be that all of that stuff is taking up so much space inside of your brain that you cannot even begin to find where desire is located, what her address is, none of that. It's just not on your mind. It's far away. And I will say for those folks that would say busyness is a big factor for them... We really would have to address that part before we could even answer or address any of the desire-related questions.
So maybe you're busy. But maybe it's that you and your person have not had any real conversations or connecting moments in how long? Couple weeks? It's couple months, and I really, really hope not a couple years, but maybe. And so when they come up to you and (try to initiate sex), you immediately shut down. Maybe it's a numbness. Maybe there's even a little twinge of anger in there, but your first thought is "Absolutely not."
Oh, what about if there is an environmental factor? And, no, I am not talking about global warming. I'm moreso talking about your home environment, your home ambiance. Is there something about the way things are physically arranged or the way things move in your home that is making you avoid sex or not even wanna get close to that question? It could be like your bedroom is always overflowing with laundry and it's just stuff, children's toys.
Or a pet that sleeps in the bed In between you guys, always separating you, or maybe your child is co-sleeping with you still. For folks who have been through affairs and infidelity, there might be a trigger around something in your home environment due to the past, and although you've been to therapy and you're starting to work through it and you're rebuilding trust, you just cannot help but associate some spaces or objects in your home with this big, painful thing that happened.
That's what I mean by your your physical space: anything in your environment that would - oh, here's a big one. Your in laws or either of your parents or any extra house guests that are just one wall over would make it feel a little bit awkward for you to think about moaning and groaning when you know someone's in the kitchen getting milk at any hour of the night.
Are there physical reasons for your avoidance of sex? Things like vaginal dryness or erectile dysfunction. Or mental health issues. Or you might be sleep deprived, so your body is not concerned with having sex at all. Your body needs to recuperate, recover - especially since lack of sleep can trigger depressive episodes over a long enough period of time. So maybe the physical thing is the issue. Whatever it is, pause the episode. Sit down with yourself.
I love a good journal. Grab the notes app on your phone. See if you can pinpoint the one or two or various areas that would funnel into you avoiding sex.
You got it? Now that you know what that area is, we're not gonna jump ahead to orgasm or even having intercourse at all. All I'd like you to consider is, "What would it take to shift that problem area so that it is not as big of a factor in avoiding sex?" What is one little itty bitty change that, if done immediately or over time, would remove it from the equation of avoiding closeness. Not even sex itself or intercourse, but just being close physically.
So for example, if busyness is your issue, then look at your calendar. And, yes, yes, I hear it already. You've got to bring the kids to their stuff. Everything on your calendar is important. But is this not also somewhat important? Does this not also deserve or merit consideration in the front line of things that are prioritized?
Maybe you are looking at the physical area and you're saying, "I'm just too tired." Okay. Okay. What is one little baby step to get you a little bit more sleep?
What if it's a relational issue and you're having trouble trusting or you guys have been fighting nonstop or you just haven't laughed genuinely in months? Okay. What is one baby step to get closer to that goal of mending the relationship issue?
You got the hang of it a little bit? Find the rhythm? Good. Now comes the second question for you: Do you want to do something about it?
You've identified some of the things that are creating avoidance. You've even identified some ways it could potentially shift - but do you want to? Has that block that makes you avoid sexual intimacy compounded to a place where you don't even know if you have the energy to lift it, move it, dive into it? Maybe you're scared. Maybe there's some fear of what it would mean to be close to your significant other.
I hear a lot of folks who avoid hugs because they feel like it's going to lead somewhere. And there's definitely a little bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy that can come into play when you are in an intimacy desert. You open up a little bit, and you may find that your partner wants to jump straight into intercourse because it has been so long and they feel they don't know the next time they'll get to be sexually close with you again. Definitely validating that.
But still, if we think big picture, where do we want to move towards? Do we even want to move in that direction? And if your answer is "No, I still don't want to do anything about this," then I would ask you why? That's that's a genuine question. Why?
To be clear, you don't have to pursue sexual intimacy. You really don't. But find your "why" so that you can have open and honest communication with your person. And that's it. These are the baby steps to start with if you find that you're avoiding sex. Be honest with yourself; give it a try. Whether it be the individual thought process or finding out that you have a really, really big internal "no" and there needs to be a conversation with your partner.
There's a high chance that your specific situation is a compound of multiple different areas converging, so it can be hard to know where to start pulling things apart. This is why I asked you to divide the categories and and see what's going on.
I would love to hear from you, whether you want to drop a message on Instagram, or if you want to schedule a consult to see if we could work together, that would be great too. I'd love to talk with you one-on-one or two-on-one to see how your specific story needs the most TLC.
All that being said, if this podcast episode has helped you and you know someone else is who needs to hear it, share it with them. And, of course, as always, I'm hoping that you, on the other side of this audio stream, will get closer to an intimate life where you feel fully seen, fully known and fully loved. We'll talk soon.