How good is your sex life?

If you are in a relationship, when was the last time you and your partner had a good, in-depth, and frank conversation about the quality of your sex life? Chances are your answer may be “a long time ago”, or even “never”!


If you are single, in your twilight years, ill, or disabled, you might not even feel it is legitimate to ask yourself the question to begin with.

And yet, given that our sexuality is such a fundamental part of what it means to be human, why should we not think (and maybe talk) about it? Of course, you may have decided that sex does not play a role in your life (anymore), and you may be perfectly happy with that, relieved even! In which case, happy days.

But if you think sex is important to you, and you have a sneaky suspicion you may not be enjoying your sex life as much as you could be, maybe this is the time to take stock.

The reasons why our sex life may be less than fantastic are many and varied, and unique to each individual. As a sex and relationship therapist, these are just some of the many obstacles my clients talk about:

  • "I don’t really know what turns me on, mentally and/or physically."
  • "I find it hard to switch off when having sex with myself/others."
  • "I don’t like my body (anymore) and can’t imagine anyone else would either."
  • "I lack the confidence to meet and have sex with new people."
  • "I have lost desire for sex/my partner and don’t know how to get it back."
  • "I am bored/frustrated with the sex I am having with my partner(s) but don’t know how to talk to them about this."
  • "I can no longer have sex the way I used to, and don’t know what to do instead."
  • "I can’t ‘perform’ during sex/sex hurts."
  • "I am not comfortable with my gender/sexual orientation."
  • "I just can’t find the time or energy for sex."

Sex is also surrounded by persistent myths, false assumptions, and misinformation, and as a result of this, so many of us are missing out! Here are a few examples:

  • Old people do not have/should not want sex.
  • Sex should happen spontaneously and naturally.
  • Sex without penetration is not proper sex.
  • You need to be able to orgasm/make your partner orgasm.
  • You shouldn’t masturbate or fantasise if you are in a relationship.
  • It's not romantic to schedule time for intimacy.
  • You shouldn’t ask for what you want in bed, or show your partner how to pleasure you.
  • Once you’ve started being sexual, you have to go through to full sex. 
  • Women can’t/shouldn’t enjoy casual sex.
  • Once sex is ‘dead’ in a long-term relationship, you can’t get it back. 

Do any of the above obstacles or myths seem familiar to you? Maybe you had not even realised that they were getting in the way of you having the sex life you deserve!

If you feel inspired to take stock of your sex life for yourself, here are just a few questions you might ask yourself:

  • How do I feel about the role sex is playing in my life right now?
  • Am I having the kind of sex I want to have? With others? With myself?
  • What is good about my sex life right now?
  • What could be better?
  • How is my relationship with my own body, and with my sexuality?
  • What is stopping me from having a more satisfactory sex life right now?
  • Which of these obstacles are ‘out there’, and which are ‘in my own head’?
  • How could I overcome some of these obstacles?
  • Do I feel I deserve to have a satisfying sex life?

You probably found more questions have arisen as you have started to think about this!

If you are in a relationship and would like to talk to a partner about your shared sex life, it is important to do this in the right way. As with other tricky subjects, issues relating to sex are often brought up when one or both partners are feeling frustrated or rejected, or even as ammunition during an argument about something else. Given how sensitive a subject sex can be, this is not a helpful strategy!

Instead, it is a good idea to signal ahead of time that you would like to discuss it, suggesting that you sit down together at a time when you are both relaxed and will not be disturbed. These are some of the questions you might take turns to answer:

  • How do you feel about how our sex life is right now?
  • What do you appreciate about our sex life?
  • How could it be better for you?
  • What would you like to try that we have not done before/for a long time?
  • What can I do to make sex more enjoyable for you?

When thinking about how to make sex better, the context of the wider relationship is really important. For example, it may be that the main thing you can do to help your partner have more or better sex is to share the emotional or physical load of life tasks more fairly!

Whether you are single or in a relationship, you may find that understanding how to make your sex life better, overcoming obstacles, or talking to a partner about sex is just too hard. In this case, getting expert help from a sex and relationship therapist could be just what you need to get your sex life back on track. You’re worth it!

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Wellingborough NN8 & Northampton NN1
Written by Albertina Fisher, Psychosexual Therapist MSc, Reg. MBACP, COSRT
Wellingborough NN8 & Northampton NN1

Albertina is a sex and relationship therapist, helping couples and individuals create the sex life they want. She has particular skills in working with sexual problems, including relationships where sex has stopped, where there are differences in levels of desire, varying sexual interests, or problems relating to sexual functioning.

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