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So, you haven’t had sex in a while. Whether you’re single or in a relationship, no sex can be troublesome — and with social media showing everyone’s highlight reel, you can feel like you’re the only one. The good news is, you’re absolutely not; TikTok has over 35 million videos related to “dry spells,” for example. And, luckily, there are steps you can take to help. Mashable spoke to three experts about what to do if you’re in a sex slump.

Why do dry spells happen?

There’s a slew of reasons why sex slumps or dry spells occur, including individual, medical, and relational reasons, said sex therapist, expert for sex toy brand LELO, and author of Becoming Cliterate, Dr. Laurie Mintz. For instance, medications like SSRIs can decrease interest in sex, as can physical and psychological reasons, like pelvic pain or depression. Sexual pain is often a hidden driver of a slump, she said; sex shouldn’t hurt, so if it does, see a doctor.

Issues like being too busy, chronic stress, insomnia, and body image issues can also lead to a lack of sex. Within relationships, anger and resentment (whether large or small), or feeling either disconnected or too connected (like siblings) can as well, Mintz continued. Other issues like sexual boredom and not enjoying sex can result in sexual disinterest, too. 

“To understand the reason for a dry spell it’s important to understand that our sex life is a very sensitive creature, which responds to what is transpiring in our lives in general,” said Julia Svirid, in-house sex coach at sex education platform Beducated. Unresolved issues like those mentioned above, as well as mismatched libidos or desires, can lead to a dry spell.

On the other hand, dry spells can occur even if there’s no issues in the relationship. If you have a lack of free time or are experiencing a major life change — like moving or having a baby — that can contribute to the lack of sex too.

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How to get out of a dry spell if you’re single

Take a moment to admit you’re going through a dry spell and miss sex, said Svirid. “There is nothing wrong with you,” she said. “Single people experience sex slumps all the time too.”

Ask yourself what’s stopping you from having sex. Here are some questions Svirid offered:

  • Did you have negative sexual experiences in the past, and now you are afraid of being intimate? 

  • Are you unsure where or how to find a partner? 

  • Have you forgotten how the “sex game” works because you have been out of it for so long?

Whatever the reason, Svirid said, addressing it can help you move forward. 

You don’t have to do this work on your own; professionals like sex therapists can help you. “If underlying issues persist, it’s advisable to consider sex therapy or consult a healthcare professional for medical concerns,” said sexologist at Bedbible Rhiannon John. “Therapy can be beneficial for both individuals and couples, depending on the underlying issues, and it can provide support through medical challenges as well.”

John also advised prioritizing self-care to reduce stress and enhance your overall well-being. This includes getting enough sleep, movement, and nutritious foods, and maybe even some meditation

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Don’t forget to masturbate, either. Mintz recommends reading, watching, or listening to erotica to get your interest going. Invest in your pleasure with sex toys and lube; you don’t need a partner to enjoy those!

“Take time to explore your own desires and fantasies through self-pleasure or self-discovery,” John concurred. “This can be through masturbation, or through sexual mediums such as erotica, or ethical pornography.”

How to get out of a dry spell if you’re partnered

Communication is always the first step to solving a couple’s sexual problem, said Mintz. Talk about it outside the bedroom. Here’s a script she provided:

I want to talk to you about something that’s a bit scary to discuss. However, I love you and want our relationship to be the best it can be and so I am bringing this up. I’ve noticed that we haven’t been having sex as much lately. Our sexual relationship is important to me, and I want us to figure this out and work on it. 

Then, talk about the reasons the dry spell may be occurring, whether they’re specific to your relationship (i.e. resentment) or not (i.e. stress). Once again, you may find a therapist (general or a sex-specific therapist) helpful to work out issues. If therapy is inaccessible, there are other educational resources out there like books — such as Mintz’s — and sites like Beducated.

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“Both partners should be willing to make changes and put in some effort,” said Svirid.

Make sex a priority by committing time and energy to it. Mintz suggested scheduling sex — it may take away the spontaneity, but it can assure you and your partner will get some sexy time in, and it can build anticipation. You may find that you’re too tired to have sex at night; do so in the morning or afternoon if possible. 

If you have children, perhaps you can find time to have sex when they’re at an extracurricular activity or with their grandparents. Hire a babysitter and instead of going out to dinner, book a hotel room, Mintz said.

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Try new things, be it toys, kinks (if you’re both into that), or erotica — especially if boredom is the main reason behind the slump. Let go of what sex “should” look like, be it spontaneous or penis-in-vagina, and instead focus on each other and your pleasure.

But don’t forget emotional intimacy, either. John recommends scheduling date nights or other intimate moments that allow you to reconnect on a deeper level. This will strengthen the emotional bond between you two. There are other ways to maintain intimacy besides sex, as well. “Even if sex is less frequent, continue to nurture emotional intimacy through cuddling, hugging, and affectionate gestures,” said John.

“The most important thing,” Svirid said, “is to be honest with each other and for both of you to be willing to make changes.”

Understand that sex slumps are normal, Svirid continued, and not having a ton of sex doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you or your relationship. Mintz said the sooner these issues are addressed, the better, however, so issues don’t snowball. 

“If you expect your sex life to always remain the same, no matter what, then you are setting yourself up for disappointment,” Svirid said. Just as you and your partner will change as individuals over time, so will your relationship and so will your sex life. 

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