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How to break out of a sexless relationship and revive intimacy

Vanessa Tarfon

2 Jan 2023 – 5 min read

man and woman lying facing each other laughing

So you’re in a sexless relationship and you don’t know how to get out of it? You’re partner has mentioned to you that you haven’t had sex in a while and when you think about it you realise that it’s been longer than you thought it had!

Why do we get into these “no sex” slumps?

It’s not unusual to find yourself in a slump. Throughout life, we go through periods of sexual highs and lows. Our sex drive is never static in life it ebbs and flows. Sex drive is strongly linked to your mood. When you are feeling good you feel sexy, desirable and are more interested in intimacy. When you feel low, depressed, anxious and tense you are less inclined to be interested in any intimacy.

“People have more sex on holidays because they are relaxed, happy and carefree.”

The slump you are in now could be because:

  1. You are in a physical state where your hormones are reducing your sexual interest
  2. You’ve taken on too much in life recently and are feeling exhausted and overwhelmed
  3. An issue you are concerned or stressed about hasn’t been resolved
  4. A general health issue is affecting your sex drive or body image
  5. You are experiencing relationship issues – you are disconnected or resentful of your partner

Breaking out of a sexless relationship is possible. The first thing you must do is to actively decide that you want to!

What triggers your sex drive into gear?

The biggest complaint for women trying to get themselves out of a sexual slump is that their relationship lacks romance. They are missing the little acts and words from their partner to show them they are desirable and to help boost their sexual desire.

The majority of women have responsive sexual desire, which means they need constant stimuli to respond. Often it’s those little romantic gestures that have the greatest impact on their sex drive as opposed to an extravagant gift or show of love.

Surprise! A sudden touch on the leg and hearing “you want to” is NOT going to get her interest spiked!

How can I boost my sex drive and revive our relationship intimacy?

Here are the steps you are going to take for yourself and your partner to get out of the “no sex” slump.

Firstly, communication

You need to understand why you are in your current slump and communicate with your partner about it. Particularly if there is something your partner is or isn’t doing. You can raise your own sex drive with the steps below but if there is an issue with your partner also then they need to put in some effort to revive intimacy.

Positive sexual self messaging

1 in 7 women have a low sexual self-image. If your self-image or body image is low this is going to be an important step for you! The goal is to complete your self-messaging in front of the mirror naked. If you don’t want to look at yourself naked start with a robe on but as you progress every day, drop the robe. Tell yourself something great that you see. Touch the body part or area that you are talking about when you say it. It’s common to take a top-down approach, starting with those areas that you already accept and then working your way to harder areas.

Keeping the romance alive with your partner

Every morning tell each other one thing you love about them and every night tell each other one thing you appreciated about them that day. Intimacy doesn’t just start and end with sex, keep the flame burning every day.

Sensory play throughout the day

Generate anticipation and desire throughout the day by activating all your senses.

  1. Taste – close your eyes and have your partner surprise you by feeding you food or snacks, you can also do this yourself by savouring foods of your choice;
  2. Touch –activate your biggest organ (your skin) by running different items over your body in different ways. Using kitchen utensils or bathroom products are great, cheap and easy to find if you are starting and unsure what textures you like;
  3. Sound – the right sounds can get your juices flowing. Think about your partner’s voice, certain words/phrases, humming or music that gets you excited;
  4. Smell – aromas are great at conjuring memories. Use foods, plants, flowers, perfumes, soaps or candles to activate your sensual memories;
  5. Sight – visual sexual stimuli is the best way to heighten desire. Sneak peeks on your phone at photos, movies or visual stimuli, or look at yourself naked in the mirror and incorporate touch at the same time to pack a desire punch.

Finally, take yourself and your relationship back to basics

What are you doing for yourself? If you don’t feel good you won’t be in the mood for intimacy. What do you want to do or experience to make you feel like yourself? Is it a dance class, playing a sport, or a reading club? Whatever it is, start doing it regularly. Similarly, non-sexual dates with your partner are important for bonding and connection. What activities or experiences can you start doing regularly together to revive your connection? The boost in happy hormones from these experiences will carry into the bedroom. Remember but that you need to continue to grow so take regular steps to increase intimacy. 


Sex isn’t one-size-fits-all. If you have received advice or ideas before and they haven’t worked as well as you hoped, don’t give up. There are always other things you can try.


The only question you need to ask yourself is “what happens if nothing changes?” 


If you don’t like the answer, then you have the motivation to make changes. Contact me today to discuss alternative approaches.

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Vanessa Tarfon

Sex Therapist, owner of Authentic Awareness

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