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5 Signs You're Not Sexually Attracted to Your Partner

Plus, some expert tips on how to rekindle that attraction.

Aside from rock-solid trust and effective communication, sexual attraction is one of the most sought-after elements of any happy and healthy relationship. But sometimes, that sexual chemistry can wax and wane—particularly in long-term relationships.

Before we dive into why—and how to get that sexual interest back—let's get one thing straight: Just because you're not eager to tear the clothes off your partner anymore doesn't mean you're doomed. There are so many other key aspects that make a relationship work— including emotional intimacy, emotional safety, mutual respect, and shared values and goals.

The good news? According to experts, it's definitely possible to feel sexually attracted to your partner again. Here are some signs you're not sexually attracted to your partner—plus some tried-and-true tips for reigniting that spark.

RELATED: Having This in Common Makes You "More Sexually Satisfied" With a Partner, New Study Says.

What Is Sexual Attraction?

Young Couple Flirting Outside
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Sexual attraction is a feeling that can often be difficult to define. According to Michelle Herzog, a licensed marriage and family therapist, and AASECT-certified sex therapist, it's a feeling of desire that involves a combination of physical, emotional, and psychological factors.

To be clear, it isn't always based on physical appearance.

"You might also feel drawn to someone because of their personality, the way they make you feel, or a mix of these elements," she explains. "This attraction can be influenced by your individual preferences, past experiences, and even biological factors like hormones."

Kate Balestrieri, a licensed psychologist, certified sex therapist, and founder of Modern Intimacy, notes that you may be sexually attracted to someone if you feel the urge to be physically close to them or make physical contact with them, or if you find yourself fantasizing about engaging in sexual intimacy with them.

RELATED: 5 Body Language Signs That Mean Your Partner Is in the Mood, According to Experts.

Does Attraction Fade Over Time?

Unhappy middle-aged distanced couple on bench
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It's pretty easy to identify a new, budding romance right off the bat—you might notice that a couple is constantly looking for opportunities to touch each other, making intense eye contact, or sitting very close to each other.

That's because when a couple first embarks on a relationship, the physical attraction and sexual desire are often strong—in part because there's still so much to discover about each other. Research has repeatedly shown that our brains crave this novelty. This begs the question: Is it inevitable that you'll feel less physically attracted to your partner over time? Not necessarily—but experts admit it is common for this desire to fade a bit.

"Sexual attraction usually becomes less intense after the first few months or years of dating," says Suzannah Weiss, a certified sex educator, relationship coach, and resident sexologist at Biird. "The reason sexual attraction fades is that you lose the excitement of being with someone new and all the accompanying endorphins. You also may begin to take each other for granted and see the unsexy sides of each other."

According to Balestrieri, if you find that you don't feel attracted to your partner sexually, that may be due to life stressors, financial pressures, family responsibilities, routine, or lack of communication about desires. Additionally, she notes that a lack of emotional connection, unresolved conflict, chronic illnesses, and other changes in physical health can come into play.

"Domestic life, with its logistics and division of labor, is not sexy," explains Audrey Schoen, a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice. "Over time, small and big hurts accumulate, unspoken expectations lead to disappointments, and partners get caught in cycles of conflict they can't seem to break out of. Sex itself can become a battleground, with one partner seeking it and the other avoiding it."

But there can be one positive side to waning lust, says Balestrieri: This often happens when your sense of safety and familiarity with your partner increases—which is a good thing.

RELATED: The Biggest Lie All Couples Say About Their Sex Lives, According to a Marriage Counselor.

5 Signs You're Not Sexually Attracted to Your Partner

Unhappy couple on couch fighting or having problems
George Rudy / Shutterstock

If you've been left wondering, "Am I still attracted to my partner?" experts say these are some tell-tale signs that the spark may have faded.

1. You don't fantasize about your partner anymore.

It's one thing if you don't feel interested in sex on the whole. But it's quite another if you've only lost that interest when it comes to your marriage partner.

According to Balestrieri, it's not uncommon to fantasize about other people occasionally. If your sexual fantasies only include others, though, that might be a red flag.

"This isn't necessarily something to be alarmed by, as it's normal for you to fantasize less about something you are already getting regularly," explains Weiss. "Still, it may be a sign that it's time to add something new to your sexual repertoire so that it becomes exciting again."

Pay attention, too, if you feel turned on when you see a good-looking man or woman at the grocery store, but you've completely lost interest in sex when you return home to your partner, says Schoen.

2. You keep busy to avoid physical intimacy.

One of the top signs you're not attracted to someone anymore, according to experts, is if you find ways to dodge any opportunity for sexual intimacy. Balestrieri notes that this might look like recoiling or shying away from kissing, hugging, or even holding hands.

"These gestures may feel more like obligations rather than welcomed expressions of affection," she explains.

Schoen points out that you may even keep yourself busy—say, spending a few extra minutes on the phone or answering emails—as a subconscious strategy for avoiding sex with your partner.

"You might avoid initiating sex or feel indifferent when your partner makes advances," adds Herzog. "And you might find yourself pulling away from physical touch or feeling uncomfortable with it."

3. You get distracted easily during sex.

It's normal if your mind occasionally wanders during sex, especially during a stressful or busy week when you have a lot on your plate. But what if you're constantly thinking about other things during sex with your partner—for example, what you're going to cook for dinner or how you'll ask your boss for a raise—rather than staying present with them?

According to Sofie Roos, a licensed sexologist and couples therapist, this could be a warning sign that you're losing sexual attraction to them. It shows that you're going through the motions of sex instead of fully enjoying it.

4. You're getting the "ick."

It's impossible to list common signs you're not sexually attracted to your partner without mentioning "the ick." So, what is this phenomenon? Well, let's just say that little quirks that used to be turn-ons have suddenly become turn-offs.

"You may feel more easily grossed out or repulsed by your partner," explains Weiss.

According to Schoen, this happens when you begin to see them through a negative lens—suddenly, even the endearing things about them seem annoying.

5. You're having a harder time reaching orgasm with your partner.

There are several potential culprits for difficulty reaching an orgasm—including hormonal shifts and even certain prescription medications. But if you aren't experiencing any health-related changes, and you've never had a hard time finishing during sex with your partner before, pay attention if this is suddenly becoming an issue.

"A lack of orgasm can be the body's way of saying 'no' to that partner," says Weiss. "You also might have difficulty getting aroused with that person. These issues may be an indicator of poor chemistry, or they may simply mean something is off, and the couple needs to work on their sexual relationship."

RELATED: 5 Subtle Signs That Someone Finds You Attractive.

How to Rekindle Attraction

man and woman cuddling while drinking wine
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A relationship without sexual attraction may start to feel more like a friendship or roommate situation. Although such a relationship can certainly still have value, it may not feel fulfilling for both partners.

Experts advise having an honest conversation about how you're feeling without placing blame or making accusations. Try to approach the discussion from a positive angle rather than a negative one—for instance, by sharing what does increase your sexual desire for your partner rather than telling them what doesn't work.

If you're really struggling to find ways to increase your sexual attraction, or if the lack of it is causing a lot of conflict between you and your partner, you may want to see a relationship therapist. A licensed couples therapist or sex therapist may help you identify the root cause of this decline in sexual attraction and even offer suggested activities or exercises you can try to rekindle the desire.

Here are some other expert-approved tips for finding the sexual spark again.

Try something new together. 

If you typically go out to dinner on your date nights, consider going bowling or mini-golfing instead. If you tend to make the same meals week after week, try taking a cooking class together. Participating in new activities together—even outside the bedroom—can infuse some novelty and excitement back into your relationship, says Balestrieri.

Even something as simple as changing your environment can have a big impact, say Herzog and Weiss—so why not plan a little getaway to somewhere you've never been? The change of scenery and schedule can help you to discover new things about each other while also encouraging you to be more present with each other.

"One big obstacle to attraction is that people often don't feel very sexy when immersed in the stress of their everyday lives," Weiss explains. "You'll be in a better mood, so you'll have more positive feelings toward each other. And you'll have plenty of time to reconnect physically and spice things up in the bedroom."

Heal any lingering wounds.

If you think pent-up resentments might be contributing to your lack of sexual desire for your partner, that's definitely something you'll want to address.

"I often find in couples work that sex frequency and satisfaction naturally follow when the small and large hurts that have accumulated over a relationship are healed," says Schoen. "We rarely have to talk about sex itself, but rather the barrier of disconnection."

Find opportunities for non-sexual touch.

A great way to rebuild your sense of physical closeness and ease back into a healthy sex life is to prioritize non-sexual touch, says Balestrieri.

"Hugging, kissing, and cuddling can enhance intimacy and gradually lead to a renewed sexual connection," she tells Best Life. "Make a conscious effort to hug and kiss your partner when you wake up, before you go to bed, and when you part ways. These small acts of affection can help maintain a physical bond."

Even offering to give your partner a back rub or asking them to spoon you before sleep can go a long way toward rekindling a spark.

Spend some time apart.

It might seem counterintuitive, but according to Weiss, absence does sometimes make the heart grow fonder—while also increasing sexual interest.

"Mystery breeds attraction," she explains. "Sometimes couples lose attraction because they are together too often. If you live together, try having one or both of you go away with friends for the weekend or even just for the night. Give yourselves the chance to miss each other, and you might remember what it was that made you attracted to each other in the first place."

Work on reducing stress.

Stress can totally sabotage sexual desire. That's why Roos suggests actively looking for ways to make your life more manageable—so that you have enough time and energy to put toward rebuilding sexual intimacy with your partner.

"Stress and lack of sleep are actually the biggest mood killers," she explains.

For example, you might hire someone to help clean once a week if the housework is becoming too much to handle or start a meditation or breathwork practice with your partner if you feel that work-related stress is affecting your bond.

RELATED: 11 Sex Positions for Women You Can Try Tonight.

Conclusion

If you feel like you're not sexually attracted to your partner anymore, don't fret. Not only is it relatively common for the attraction to fade over time, but it's an issue that's solvable.

Just remember to be patient with yourself—and your partner—as you work on rekindling the sexual desire. The more pressure you put on yourself to re-harness that sexual attraction, the less likely you are to find it.

Instead, focus on identifying what needs aren't being met, actively planning new experiences, and initiating more non-sexual physical touch. Experts agree that it's almost always what you're doing outside the bedroom that helps sexual attraction to bloom.

Rebecca Strong
Rebecca Strong is a Boston-based freelance health/wellness, lifestyle, and travel writer. Read more
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