If you’re not in the mood for sex, there are things you can say to soften the blow, so you communicate that you’re not in the sex mood, without hurting any feelings.
These strategies can be used for those occasions when your partner approaches you for sex but you’re just not in the mood, but if lack of desire becomes an ongoing problem, you may want to explore the issue further to arrive at a lasting solution.
5 ways to say “No” when you’re not in the mood
Admitting, “I’m not in the mood” may be necessary from time to time, but you might not know what to say. If you’re looking for ways of how to say no to your boyfriend or husband, consider the 5 strategies below:
1. Be honest but kind
If your partner approaches you and you’re not in the mood for anything, you can be honest but let them off gently.
Being harsh can make your partner feel rejected, but if you answer that you’re feeling too stressed to have sex right now and would rather connect at a time when you’re more physically and mentally present, your partner will be less likely to be offended.
Maybe the problem isn’t that you’re never in the mood for sex, but rather that your partner is asking at the wrong times. Maybe you’re just not in the mood in the morning, or your significant other is asking you for sex when you’re focused on other things.
If that’s the case, let them know that while now is not a good time, you’d like to get things done now so that you can devote time later in the day to a romp in the bedroom.
Expressing that you’d be willing to have sex later shows your partner that you still desire them, but now isn’t the best time.
For example, maybe it takes you more time than usual to get aroused, and jumping right into sex just isn’t working for you right now. Instead of lashing out at your partner or rejecting their advances for sex, be open about your struggles.
Tell your partner that it takes you a little more time than usual to get into the mood, but you’d like to start by cuddling together or giving a massage to prep your body for sex.
Storming off in anger or ignoring your partner’s sexual advances will probably lead to hurt feelings, but communicating directly about your lack of desire will help them to understand where you’re coming from so you can work through the issue and get back on the same page sexually.
5. Keep the “no” to yourself
It may seem counterintuitive, but sometimes, the best choice for the relationship is to keep your thoughts of not being in the mood for sex to yourself.
Unless you’re sick or so disconnected at the moment that you cannot possibly follow through with sex, sometimes when you’re not in the mood, you get in the mood by saying “yes” to your partner.
You may find that once you get into foreplay, you are no longer feeling not in the mood for sex. Plus, relationships involve sacrifice, and making your partner feel pleased and desired will likely end up bringing you some satisfaction as well.
We all have times when we’re just not in the mood for sex, and this can be perfectly okay. On the other hand, if you’re never in the mood for sex, and it’s starting to cause problems in your relationship, there may be an underlying issue at play.
You may even begin to think, “I’m not interested in sex; what can I do?”
If you’re feeling exasperated at never being in the sex mood, one of the six reasons below may be to blame:
1. Sexual dysfunction
Sexual dysfunction can sometimes be a result of a diagnosable condition. In fact, according to a 2016 report in The Journal of Sexual Medicine, dysfunctions involving desire and arousal are common in women, whereas premature ejaculation and erectile dysfunction are common in men.
If you consistently struggle to get in the mood for sex, it’s probably time to see a doctor to determine if there is an underlying medical cause that can be treated.
Maybe your body has changed over time, or for whatever reason, you’re just not feeling the best about yourself lately. This can cause you to lose some of your desire for sex.
If this sounds like you, treat yourself to a sexy new outfit and spend some time on self-care. Don’t feel guilty about taking time away to exercise or spending some money getting your hair and makeup done.
When you’re not in the mood for sex, there are things you can say to your partner to communicate your lack of desire without hurting their feelings or making them feel rejected.
Being open about your feelings, or expressing that you’d like to have sex later, may be effective.
It’s important to communicate if you’re struggling to get in the mood and need a little more foreplay to build your desire, or if you’re harboring some hurt feelings from an argument and still need time to feel emotionally ready for sex.
Usually, the lack of desire is temporary and will not become problematic, especially if you are honest with your partner and make an effort to connect sexually at a time when you are in the mood. In some cases, though, being never in the mood for sex can be an ongoing problem.
There may be larger issues in your relationship, or there could be something going on medically or psychologically with you. Exploring the issue can help you to find a solution if being not in the mood for sex is more than an occasional occurrence.
Check out this video that explains everything about sexual dysfunction:
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Jenni Jacobsen is a licensed social worker with a master's degree in social work from The Ohio State University, and she is in the process of completing her dissertation for a Doctorate of Philosophy in Psychology. She has worked in the social work field for 8 years and is currently a professor at Mount Vernon Nazarene University. She writes website content about mental health, addiction, and fitness.
Licensed as both a social worker through Ohio Board of Counselors, Social Workers, and Marriage/Family Therapists and school social worker through Ohio Department of Education as well as a personal trainer through American Council on Exercise.