How to break out of a sex rut
Have you spent more time than you care to admit lately wondering why your once steamy sex life is suddenly lacklustre? You might be in a sex rut.
Most common in relationships, but not unheard of for singles, a sex rut is just like any other kind of rut - you're feeling a bit stuck, confused and helpess in your sexual routine.
If that sounds familiar to you, fear not - it doesn't have to be forever.
We spoke to we spoke to award-winning sexologist and sexual health and wellness expert, Chantelle Otten, to find out what causes a sex rut and how we can kick it to the curb.
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How would you define a sex rut?
"Often it is when an individual or couple believes that they are stuck when it comes to their sexual lives. Something is holding them back, or making sexuality awkward, tedious, or sometimes boring. There is a dissatisfaction with their sex life, and the quality of sexual life or the individual or couple is suffering.”
Just as relationships have their peaks and valleys, so do our sex lives. “Most people will get it at some stage, especially couples. There will be times when sex and desire is good, healthy, and high. And times when there is a sort of… hesitancy, boredom or a sexual script that you tend to repeat whenever you have a sexual interaction.”
What can cause a sex rut?
Although Chantelle says there are many different reasons a sex rut can occur, there are two common causes:
- Communication error
- Not knowing how to optimise pleasure
"Maybe there’s been a lot of events on, so you are only having short, quick, get it done type of sex. Maybe sexual libido has dipped and there is an individual who is not enthusiastic about sexual interactions, therefore affecting the couples sexuality. There could be challenges with health, medication or quality of sex that could get in the way.
The main thing we need to do is reflect on the story of the sexual rut, be kind to yourself and your sexual partner, and explain what you believe is happening. You are then able to come up with a plan to tackle the problem together, or seek professional help to get expert advice.”
Chantelle's top tips for getting out of a sex rut:
- Communication: "Reflect on what you really want, and communicate this to yourself if you are single, or your sexual partner. It’s important to understand what is missing from the sexuality that needs improvement. Lines such as ‘I would really like more of this to make me feel more fulfilled sexually’ is a good way to go. Don’t ever attack your partner, but work out what their stance is, what their needs are and how you can work together".
- Switch up the routine: "Sexual ruts can happen because we just don’t make time for good sexual experiences. Not enough time for foreplay, or longer pleasure, some fun. Maybe your schedule can accommodate better times for intimacy, such as Sunday morning, instead of Sunday night".
- Take sex back to basics: "Try more outercourse, and be less ‘destination focused’. A lot of people get caught up in needing to have penetration and orgasm each time they have sex and forget that ‘outercourse’ is a such a beautiful thing. It also takes away the fear of having to have a full experience each time you are in the bedroom, and the pressure of you and your partner having to perform. So have a no-penetration rule for a while and build the anticipation".
What if I'm worried about the sex rut but my partner isn't?
When it comes to relationship worries, the phrase 'whats mine is yours' rings true. If you're upset about a sex rut and your partner won't hear you out - that could be a red flag to deeper concerns about the relationship.
Chantelle says "you have to think about why you are both in the relationship. At the end of the day, when one person has difficulty in the couple, it becomes the couples problem. Relationships are about supporting each other and growing together."
Is a sex rut ever an indication a relationship has run its course?
Without passion, a relationship may come to feel a little stale - you may be thinking it's time to end things.
Chantelle urges you to not be too hasty with the breakup, "Sexual compatibility can take work, and there will be periods of time when sex is a little ‘blah’. The most important thing is that both partners are dedicated to helping each other get to a positive place sexually, and that they don’t leave this topic on the backburner. Sex therapy is needed when this is a concern."
Chantelle also says "But I would say there are usually a lot of other factors to relationships finishing", so if the sex rut is indicitive of a wider problem you should be working on those issues too.
Do you have any tips to reconnect in a relationship?