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How to turn down s.e.x without hurting your partner’s feelings

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Relationships

S.e.xual rejection can be a difficult pill to swallow, but being the person who is rejecting s.e.x doesn’t feel that great, either.

Maybe you are annoyed that our partner initiated s.e.x and clearly couldn’t read our mood or the situation, and so, you roll your eyes, criticize your partner’s timing and initiation strategy, or even push them away entirely. Or you might feel bad because you hate saying no and disappointing your partner, so you agree to have s.e.x to make them happy.

Turning down s.e.x doesn’t necessarily hurt relationship satisfaction, as long as we do it in positive ways. Here are three approaches to keep in mind.

  • Clearly explain why you’re saying no.

If you’re not in the mood for s.e.x when you’re partner initiates it, one of the best things you can do is explain to them why you’re not in the mood.

That’s because many people naturally take s.e.xual rejection personally. They can drive themselves into a tizzy trying to come up with a reason why they are being turned down, often landing on it having something to do with them, so, it’s important to tell your partner why you can’t have s.e.x at that moment.

  • Suggest another time

When it comes to s.e.x, a flat out “no” can feel pretty harsh.

S.e.xual rejection usually feels a lot more manageable when we’re given a safety net. Something like: “I’m not feeling it right now, but maybe we could try on the weekend, once my work deadline has passed” is at least better.

  • Find another way to connect.

Just because you’re not in the mood for s.e.x doesn’t necessarily mean you have to turn down other bids for connection and closeness.

Perhaps s.e.xual activity is off the table, but a nice cuddle, hand holding, a meaningful conversation, or even a game or activity you both enjoy might feel pretty good.

It might not be s.e.x, but if your partner is reaching out as a way of feeling close, there are several different ways that this can be accomplished, even when s.e.x doesn’t feel like an option.