What are your options when your partner no longer wants to have sex with you?

Sex stops in relationships for all sorts of reasons.

But what options do you have, when you want to stay sexually satisfied, if this has happened to you?

Dealing with the emotional fallout of your partner making the decision to no longer have sex is a whole other story but here’s a fact-facing, practical look at some ways of dealing with it.

Have solo sex, watch porn, fantasise, use sex toys 

In other words, satisfy yourself by stimulating yourself without other people being involved.

This works for lots of people – more so when the partner who doesn’t want sex, makes it clear they’re happy for all of this to happen. Not so successful when the person denying you sex, also disapproves of you masturbating. Really?

Have non reciprocal sex 

They can still sexually stimulate you by giving hand jobs, oral sex or using sex toys, even if they aren’t interested in being stimulated themselves.

My husband laughed when I told him I was suggesting this option. “Men won’t go for that – they’re selfish,” he said. “They think, ‘What’s in it for me?’ and there’s nothing in it for him if he’s doing stuff to her but she’s not doing anything back.”

“What about giving her pleasure? Making her happy?”, I countered.

“Good luck,” he said.

Women are so used to giving without receiving anything back, it doesn’t sound strange at all to me. If one of you really fancies an Indian takeaway and the other doesn’t, sometimes you eat Indian when you’d rather have a salad. It’s all part of the constant compromises you make when you’re a couple.

How is this any different? If your partner decides they’ve had enough sex and don’t want anymore, surely the very least they can do is push themselves a little out of their comfort zone? Giving you an orgasm even if they don’t want one, surely isn’t too much to ask?

Have unapproved sex on the side 

You might decide you want to stay with your partner but intend to satisfy your sexual urges through one-night-stands, sign up for a website that caters for married people seeking sex with others, use sex workers or have an ongoing affair.

I understand why you’d go for this choice. Just don’t kid yourself your partner will forgive you if they find out.

Lots of people think it’s perfectly fine to stop having sex even if their partner isn’t happy about it. You might think it’s obvious you’ll seek sex elsewhere, they may not agree. You always risk losing your relationship over infidelity, regardless of the circumstances.

Receive unspoken approval to have sex with others

This often takes the form of your partner saying, “Do what you need to do but I don’t want to know about it”, when you finally get them to acknowledge your sex life is non-existent.

Have approved sex on the side

Sometimes, particularly if one of you isn’t well enough to have sex anymore, the other will say it’s OK if you have sex with others.

This generally happens with couples who loved having sex together and can no longer continue for whatever reason (often health issues). Trouble is, if you still adore your partner, you often don’t want to have sex with anyone else.

It’s also an option when the relationship morphs into pure friendship but one of you wants to remain sexual. The other wants the companionship, stability and financial security of a relationship so agrees to put up with you having sex elsewhere, in return for you staying in a sexless relationship.

There are nearly always rules with approved sex outside the relationship. It’s sensible to agree that it won’t be with anyone you both know. Sometimes, couples insist that it can’t be with the same person more than once. Nearly all hope that it will be a purely sexual relationship with no feelings involved but few are silly enough to send their partner out the door, into the arms of another warm body, without accepting they are putting the primary relationship in peril.

Leave the relationship

If you’re a person who enjoys sex and loves the intimacy and connection and all the other profoundly extraordinary things that sex provides, no sex is usually a deal breaker.

In that case, it’s kinder on both of you to separate and let each other find someone more compatible, rather than try to rub along unhappy and resentful.