Most of us have been there before; the relationship roadblock we fear most: you and your lady have hit a bit of a dry spell and it’s been awhile since the two of you were intimate with one another. The sex life in your relationship went from the kitchen counter to an unspeakable abyss. It can be a tough pill to swallow, we understand.

Fear not, however, as there are a number of reasons as to why sex declines in any relationship. We decided to investigate the matter by recreating a few scenarios and asking women why they believe they would have decided to stop having sex with their significant other. Not only that, we took it a step further and asked sex and relationship experts for their take on the matter and what steps you can start taking to fix them.

Stress

“[We] hit a major dry spell [during] my last semester of school. I was taking a full course load, interning, and spending my weekends working doubles at a super busy restaurant. Not only were [we] barely seeing each other, but when we finally had a chance to hang out, I’d be so stressed out that the last thing on my mind was getting laid.”

Totally understandable, right? Stress is something we all fall victim to and the idea of it interfering with our sex life is probably the last thing on all of our minds. But, when it comes to you libido, there’s always a chance that stress should be the number one suspect, says sex and relationship expert April Masini. “Stress is one of the biggest reasons people stop having sex. It’s hard to relax when your mind is spinning out.” Now, we understand many of you can’t afford to flip your schedule on its head in the name of sex but if you really want to get back to having it, you should start to see sex as more of a priority. Sometimes a simple discussion with your partner will do the trick. Other times, the two of you might have to rearrange your schedule a bit to give sex the state of mind it deserves. Either way, this is a relatively easy fix in the bigger picture.

She Feels Taken For Granted

“After being [together] for about a year, we started to fall into this routine. When we first met, our chemistry was so hot, we’d want each other all the time. [After] a year of dating, he’d expect me to jump on him whenever he was in the mood but he’d never do anything to get me [in the mood] like he used to. Before I knew it, a month had passed and we hadn’t done it.”

We’ve all certainly been in this situation during any lengthy relationship. We have a tendency to fall into the groove of things and feel like that’s the way things should be and will be without doing any of the foundational work. However, if you want to keep the sex flame burning in your relationship, dating expert Benjamin Ritter says you also have to remember how you lit that flame in the first place. “Men need to remember how they got in their partner’s pants in the first place. How did you treat and communicate to your partner? Dating your relationship is the constant foreplay you need [if you want] to keep sexual excitement alive.”

Communication

“My ex was a lawyer and [he] had a really demanding work schedule. He was always a private person and wouldn’t talk much about what was going on, but once things picked up at his job we hardly ever had any real conversations anymore. It got to a point where I felt disconnected from him. I felt like I was [having sex] with a stranger which made me just not want to do it anymore.”

Listen, fellas. If you and your partner aren’t having sex anymore there’s probably something else going on in the relationship and you can probably start looking in the communication department. Remember when you used to ask how her day was? How about when you asked what positive, or negative, things were going on in her life? Chances are pretty high that those were the things that actually got the two of you in the same bed together and relationship expert Lori Bizzoco agrees. “Like everything in a relationship, communication is key. Sex is no different. Things in your relationship need to be worked through [if that is] causing her to not want to be intimate. Be open about your frustration(s) and work through the issues that are bothering [the two of you].” So, start by asking what her schedule looks like this week. If she is stressed or not feeling well, ask her if there is anything you can do to make it better. Before you can connect on an intimate level, you must also connect on an emotional one, as well.

You’re Not Doing What She Wants

“The last guy I dated seriously, he and I waited a while before we had sex. The first few months we were finally [having sex] were fine because we had all the sexual tension and things were still hot. Once that faded, it wasn’t doing it for me. He was a few years younger than me and would have sex with me like we were in a porno. I’d try and get him to slow down but none of it worked. I would get myself off after we had just done it because I wasn’t satisfied. Eventually I started to make up excuses for not having sex.”

Remember the saying, “t’s not like the movies?” Well, it’s not like the pornos either. No man wants to hear they’re bad in bed but if you want to save your relationship, you might have to accept when you’re being “that guy.” So, how do you stop the cycle that keeps repeating itself? Dating coach Robert Kandell has a few ideas. “Sex education for men is primarily porn. In other words, men are vastly undereducated on how to please a woman [which] has led to a society of uninformed men and angry women. Because women are not having the sex they truly want, they will say no when their partners’ offers, then men get frustrated and demanding. Get honest and open. Have dialogue around your sex life with your partner. Put aside your fragile male ego and ask the hard questions, take feedback.”

Boredom

“We did it the same way every time and it became so predictable and any time I’d try a new position, we’d end up back in our same one shortly after. One time I tried to fool around with him and he basically chastised me like a child. The final straw was when we hadn’t had sex for weeks, and we were staying in my parents’ house the night before my sister’s wedding. The change of scene and being in the bedroom I had when I was a teenager finally had me horny for him [but] he wouldn’t do it. I just couldn’t [deal with it] anymore.”

Like all things in life, things start to get boring if you do them enough and sex is not excluded. If have even a hint of an idea that your relationship’s dry spell might be due to lack of variety, switch it up! “If the man has the same routine, the woman will often not feel gratified and stop having sex with him,” says Kandell. “It doesn’t need to be something radical like visiting a bondage club or even checking out a swinger’s site. [Try] kissing for an hour, go down on her for an extended period of time, or play with her body. Try out what feels good to both of you.”

Understanding Why Women Have Sex

We all like to have sex because it feels good, that’s the obvious answer. But, psychologically, there are a number of other factors involved which makes it such a meaningful moment for women. “Women crave and need emotional intimacy,” clinical psychologist Dr. Datham Paterno says. “Sex fulfills this need and allows them to express the intimacy that exists. Men [also] need emotional intimacy but for many men, the warm feelings are a pleasant byproduct of sex, rather than a primary driver of sex. Women need to be desired. It feeds their healthy ego needs of being prized, pursued, valued and attended to.”

Signs She’s Satisfied

That being said, how are men supposed to know if they’re doing a good job in bed? Well, what do you do when you hear a good song? Play it again, right? So, the moment she begins to take charge in the intimacy can be a major indicator you’re probably doing it right. “Women who are sexually satisfied tend to initiate sex more often,” Dr. Paterno explains. Sex shifts a woman’s mood through chemical changes from intercourse and orgasm.”

Not able to tell if your partner is taking charge? Dr. Romero-Bosch says you could also go the easy route and simply ask. “Men are often looking for a secret signal that tells them that a woman is satisfied sexually. If there is open communication about things in your relationship, simply asking how she is feeling, she should tell you.”

Understanding the Sexual Desire Spectrum

For most women, their sex drive and satisfaction are pretty blunt. But not all women are and, while rare, some even have lower sexual desire than average, says Dr. Steve McGough. “Some women (and men) don’t have sexual feelings at all. This can change over time, or remain that way their entire life. This can be both biological or from some type of early severe psychological trauma. Another variation of the human experience is [when] they only feel sexual attraction for people they are truly romantically attracted to. This can be of biological origin or from religious and/or cultural influences.”

So, if you think your situation may fall into the above category, stop being so hard on yourself. While rare, it’s possible that your relationship is the statistic you always read about in magazines. Take some pressure off the relationship and find other things to keep the relationship romantically active!

Other Factors That Impact Female Sex Drive

Now, although we have discussed almost every factor there is to be discussed when it comes to the female sex drive, there are certainly more. While women may like to have sex for emotional intimacy, they will also progress through different stages of sexual desire as the relationship also progresses. Sometimes, it could even simply just depend on her mood, says Dr. McGough. “As women progress in the relationship, both trust and deeper intimacy develop. A deeper connection increases a woman’s desire for sexual intercourse and being in the right mood helps align mental, physical, and physiological factors.

So, there you have it. After you’ve done all your psychological internet research as to why your partner doesn’t want to have sex anymore, sometimes lighting a few candles and simply asking the question is all you need to do. While it sounds obliviously obvious, sometimes the answers are right in front of us and we don’t actually have to make things harder on ourselves.

Good luck out there!