How to Cope With Sexual Frustration

  1. Sexually Frustrated In Your Relationship? These Expert Tips Help
  2. Don't blame your partner
  3. Touch each other (but not that)
  4. Make a (sexy) list.
  5. Add some toys to the mix
  6. Read all about it.
  7. Reduce stress
  8. Make sleep a prio
  9. See a couples therapist.
  10. 5 Signs Your Partner Is Sexually Frustrated and 5 Things You Need To Do
  11. Why Do Men Want Sex All The Time?
  12. 1. He’s Been Really Short With You
  13. 2. He’s Communicating Less
  14. 3. He’s Investing More In His Hobbies
  15. 4. His Emotions Are Running Wild Or Not At All
  16. 5. It Seems He’s Asking ALL THE TIME
  17. How to Deal with His Sexual Frustration
  18. 1. It Might Not Be Your Priority, But It Could Be His
  19. 2. It’s Not Just Physical Pleasure For Him
  20. 3. We ALL Get Tired
  21. 4. Enough With The Excuses
  22. 5. He’s Horrible In Bed
  23. What to Do When You’re Sexually Frustrated in a Relationship
  24. What is Sexual Frustration?
  25. How to Recognize Sexual Frustration?
  26. 10 Ways to Deal With Sexual Frustration in Your Relationship
  27. 1. Have a conversation with your partner
  28. 2. Go ahead and initiate sex
  29. 3. Change up your sex routine
  30. 4. Try mutual masturbation 
  31. 5. Don’t be afraid of solo masturbation
  32. 6. Learn more about your partner
  33. 7. Use music to cope
  34. 8. Get some exercise
  35. 9. Practice self-care
  36. 10. Consider outside help
  37. Conclusion
  38. 6 Ways to Handle Sexual Frustration
  39. 1. Talk About It
  40. 3. Have Sex
  41. 4. Exercise
  42. 5. Masturbation
  43. 6. Be Comfortable with Yourself
  44. Sexual Frustration Is Normal, but You Can Overcome It
  45. What Is Sexual Frustration and How Do I Deal With It
  46. Let's start by defining what exactly sexual frustration is
  47. What are some symptoms of feeling sexually frustrated?
  48. But what exactly causes these frustrated feelings?
  49. How do I deal with it?
  50. If you're single, or just riding solo in the midst of a pandemic..

Sexually Frustrated In Your Relationship? These Expert Tips Help

How to Cope With Sexual Frustration

There are a lotta reasons you might be feeling sexually frustrated in your relationship, and they don't all have to do with a dry spell.

Maybe you’re feeling guilty about being too tired to have sex. Maybe you don’t how your partner asks for sex. Or maybe you're not lovin' the type of sex that you’ve been having. Whatever the situation, take a sigh of relief: You can absolutely overcome sexual frustration for a more satisfying sex life. Phew.

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But first, understand that these feelings are totally normal. “Sexual frustration is very common,” says Megan Fleming, PhD, a clinical psychologist at Weill Cornell Medical College of Cornell University. Lots of couples seek professional help because of their sexual frustration, and there's no shame in that game.

“There's this idea that you need to match your partner’s libido, but I don't think that's necessarily true,» says Maggie Dancel, Psy. D., a clinical psychologist, and host of the podcast Full Disclosure. «Someone with a low libido can be with someone with a high libido.»

The key, of course, is having the tools and tips to address the issue:

Don't blame your partner

Even though you might feel frustrated (hence the term «sexual frustration»), you don't want to point any fingers at your partner. Remember: It's a we issue, not a them issue. People have different sexual preferences and turn-ons—why sex can be so, so exciting!—and there's nothing wrong with either party if you aren't in-sync.

Instead of blaming, discuss the things you'd more of in the bedroom. “See your frustration as an opportunity,” says Fleming. “Talk about your desires and the things you'd both to do.» Try bringing this up after you've had sex, when the vibes are good and you can highlight the stuff you really d. «Wow, I'd love to do that again…and again…»

Touch each other (but not that)

Dancel suggests a little somethin' called Sensate Focus Therapy, which focuses on sensual touch but not sex, for couples with mismatched libidos. By removing sex from the equation, there's less pressure on the partner with lower desire but the other person can still experience touch and connection.

To try it out, have one person lay down while the other touches non-erotic places (example: boobs are off-limits). Then, after 15 minutes, switch; the person who was lying down becomes the person who touches. Up the ante each week, until you work your way back to having sex again. Anticipation does wonders.

Make a (sexy) list.

Dancel recommends writing a list of things that you really enjoy or want to try. These things could be sexual (watching porn together) or just sensual (cuddling).

After you agree on your list (you obvs can't add anything your S.O. doesn't feel comfortable with) put each item in a hat or a box.

Once a week, or whenever you're feeling it, grab a suggestion and get busy.

Add some toys to the mix

If you're feeling sexually frustrated not because you're aren't having sex but because you aren't orgasming, there are plenty of tools to help with that…and they're called vibrators.

Most experts—and ahem, women—agree that it's difficult for ladies to climax from penetration alone, so there's no shame calling in some extra help.

Again, talk to your partner about this ~desire~ and it to your list above.

Read all about it.

Even though she has a Psy.D in the subject, Dancel still loves reading about how other professionals handle sexual frustration and other issues. Two of her favorite books are Come as You Are by Emily Nagoski and Getting the Sex You Want by Tammy Nelson. The former even has worksheets to help you get the discussion going.

Reduce stress

ICYDK, stress affects just about every aspect of your life, and sex is no exception. Could your mismatched libidos simply be because one person is dealing with stress in spades? Dancel explains that every person has «sexual brakes and sexual accelerators,» and one of your «brakes» could indeed be stress.

It's tough to transition from deadline time to sexy time, so help your sex life out with a romantic dinner, movie night, or just about anything to get your mind (or your partner's) off of the source of stress. Consider it a full evening of foreplay.

Make sleep a prio

Wait, I thought the goal is to *not* immediately fall asleep when my head hits the pillow? Well, if you want to have more sex, it helps to hit the hay earlier than you normally would.

Dancel and Fleming both explain that there are two kinds of desire: spontaneous and responsive. Spontaneous desire occurs when you «see an attractive person and want to have sex right then and there, say, when your partner comes the shower,» Dancel says.

Responsive desire, on the other hand, is all about feeling relaxed in your environment. (P.S. Dancel says responsive desire might actually be far more common in women.) If you're tired, you're probs not going to feel doing anything in the bedroom besides snoozing (*slowly raises hand in agreement*).

See a couples therapist.

You knew this was comin', but it's worth screaming from the hilltops: Therapists are there for you, and they don't judge.

Therapy is especially useful for people with a history of sexual abuse or with issues cheating and anxiety, and both Dancel and Fleming see patients who deal with similar problems all. the. time.

But it's worth noting, no issue is too small, either.

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5 Signs Your Partner Is Sexually Frustrated and 5 Things You Need To Do

How to Cope With Sexual Frustration

Is your man showing signs of being sexually frustrated? Does he want it All. The. Time?

The simple answer as to why is that they are just plain horny, but the more complete answer is that your man is craving to have his needs met. And not JUST physical needs, but emotional, mental, and maybe even spiritual needs too.

Why Do Men Want Sex All The Time?

It’s a lot more complex than you may realize. Sex is deeply connected to many other things self-esteem, self-worth, confidence, excitement, and satisfaction.

And for each of those, there is a reason for why. For some men, sex is about seeking validation that they are desired and worthy. By achieving a robust sex life, they feel they’ve obtained some validation that they’re desperately seeking.

For others, they see sex as a way to connect with other people. They might hide it under machismo and bravado, but there’s loneliness deep down, and the physical connection sex provides helps to alleviate that.

Other men use sex to add some excitement to their lives. The thrill of the conquest gives them something to do, and a goal to strive for.

For many men, these goals are intermingled, and they can be sexually frustrated if sex isn’t providing the validation, connection, or excitement that they are seeking.

1. He’s Been Really Short With You

Have you noticed a swift downturn in his mood? Is he extra irritable? Are seemingly minor things ruining his day or even worse, it seems you’re ruining his day? These could all be signs of sexual frustration.

Sex provides a means to connect with you and when there’s little of that, there’s less sympathy and/or understanding.

Sex is a release from all these stressors, and without it, he’s letting that stress accumulate and percolate within him, infecting his daily mood.

2. He’s Communicating Less

Sex = connection. Less sex = less connection. In the same way, if he weren’t making the effort to meet you at your emotional connection points, you wouldn’t feel as connected with him.

3. He’s Investing More In His Hobbies

Maybe he’s hitting the gym more, riding his bike longer, playing more sports with his friends. If so, he might be looking for a physical outlet for his pent-up sexual urges and more importantly, because there is an overall lack of connection with you. The more connected he feels with you, the more time he’ll want to spend with you.

4. His Emotions Are Running Wild Or Not At All

You used to know him as a stable guy, but suddenly his emotions are becoming more extreme. The peaks are higher, and the valleys are dangerously low. The sexual frustration could be destabilizing his emotional core.

5. It Seems He’s Asking ALL THE TIME


This one is clear as day, but surprisingly often ignored. If he’s constantly sending you signals (subtle or otherwise) that he wants to have sex with you, and you’re not reciprocating these signals, surprise! He’s sexually frustrated.

How to Deal with His Sexual Frustration

Let me preface with this first, these tips aren’t to take away from his responsibility in making you feel wanted. It is just a different side of the coin that you may want to consider because it’s how men feel wanted and loved. Sex is not just a physical thing for men.

1. It Might Not Be Your Priority, But It Could Be His

Sex may not be at the top of your priorities, but it usually is for him and not just for the physicality, but the connection in the form of physical intimacy. Just how you need communication, engagement, and connection, your partner may need you to make love with him.

2. It’s Not Just Physical Pleasure For Him

At the core of a relationship is the desire to feel connected. Women often feel this connection in multiple dimensions, one of them being sexual. Men do as well, but being sexually desired by his partner gives men confidence not just in the bedroom, but in the relationship as well.

3. We ALL Get Tired

Fatigued? Tired? Yes, we all get tired, but this can’t be a consistent reason to deny intimacy. Imagine if every time your partner said he was too tired to talk about your day? Or if he was too tired to go out for date night? Sure this is a reasonable excuse every now and then, but it can’t be a consistent excuse.

And this applies both literally and figuratively. The more one is rejected, the less one will try. And you do not want to get to a point of him not wanting to try. Sexual frustration will build up.

4. Enough With The Excuses


You may really just not want to; you may have a thousand excuses. And that’s fine. It’s CONTINUALLY having excuses is when problems will arise.

By action, you’re telling your partner that you don’t want him and that is more hurtful than you realize.

The nice thing about sex is that it’s going to the gym, the most difficult part is getting started. After that, you might just have a great time.

5. He’s Horrible In Bed

This probably warrants a completely separate article, how to have good sex, but honesty is best. Brutal truth isn’t needed, but communicating what to do and what you can easily be made into something fun and adventurous. End of day, you may just want it more if you enjoy it more, so why not share with him how you would it to be?

Sexual frustration is a complicated subject with many intertwined causes. The best way to find out the root of his specific sexual frustration is to communicate.

Up Next: 9 Signs and Symptoms Of An Unhappy Relationship

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What to Do When You’re Sexually Frustrated in a Relationship

How to Cope With Sexual Frustration

You have probably heard of the phrase sexual frustration, but you may not know what is sexual frustration. Perhaps you have even felt the sensation of being sexually frustrated, but you didn’t know what the cause was or how to cope with it.

Here, learn all about what sexual frustration means, as well as ways for coping with being sexually frustrated in a relationship.

What is Sexual Frustration?

Sexual frustration can generally be described as a situation when there is a disconnect between what you need or want sexually and what you are actually getting. Being sexually frustrated can cause you to feel angry, irritated, anxious, or just downright depressed.

You might experience sexual frustration in marriage. For example, when you want to have sex, and your partner does not. Or, perhaps you want to experience intense, satisfying sex all the time, but your sex life is just mediocre.

Either of these situations can cause sexual frustration in a relationship, but you may feel better knowing that this feeling is actually rather normal.

Another explanation for what does sexual frustration mean is that it occurs when you simply aren’t satisfied with your sex life.

Maybe it seems you and your partner just aren’t on the same page, or you aren’t enjoying sex anymore. Whatever the case, being sexually frustrated can dampen your mood and negatively affect your relationship.

Related Reading:When Is the Right Time to Start Having Sex

How to Recognize Sexual Frustration?

The first step toward dealing with sexual frustration is recognizing that it exists.

Sometimes, we label stress or tension in another area of life as sexual frustration when it really isn’t. To start with, assess how your mood has been recently. If it has been mostly negative, you may be sexually frustrated.

Next, evaluate what could be causing the negative mood. Is it problems at work, or perhaps stress over finances? If there is a nonsexual reason for tension, you probably aren’t sexually frustrated.

On the other hand, if there isn’t another reason for your frustration, the chances are that sexual frustration effects are to blame.  Here are some sexual frustration symptoms that can help you to recognize this problem in your life:

  • Your partner has rejected you the last few times you have tried to initiate sex.
  • You notice you and your significant other are having sex less often.
  • There are things you want from your sex life that you just aren’t able to get.
  • You notice that changes to your body or medications you are taking have made you less interested in or less confident about sex.
  • Maybe you have been taking risks, such as having unprotected sex or hooking up with multiple partners, in order to fulfill your sexual desires. 
  • You find that you are too tired or stressed to have sex, even though you have a desire for it.

10 Ways to Deal With Sexual Frustration in Your Relationship

Sexual frustration isn’t a fun place to be, and it can even lead to damaging thoughts and behaviors, such as low self-esteem or going outside of your relationship for sex.

When you are feeling sexually frustrated to the point that it is interfering with your daily happiness or negatively affecting your relationship, it is time to take action.

If you’re feeling sexually frustrated within your relationship, the good news is that there are ways to handle sexual frustration. Consider the following ten tips to get rid of sexual frustration and start feeling yourself again:

1. Have a conversation with your partner

Communication is an important part of dealing with sexual frustration in your relationship. If you don’t communicate with your partner, he or she may not even be aware you are sexually frustrated.

You can have a conversation with your partner to determine how you can better meet each other’s needs sexually.

Have an honest but respectful conversation. Begin with a statement , “I have noticed we haven’t been having sex as often lately, and I miss feeling close to you. Would you be open to talking about how we can better connect sexually?”

2. Go ahead and initiate sex

Over time, people in committed relationships can stop putting effort into sex, which can lead to one or both of you becoming sexually frustrated. Maybe your partner is also having sexual frustration but is hesitant to initiate sex.

Instead of waiting for your significant other to engage you in sex, go ahead and take that first step.

Check out this video for some great ideas on how to initiate sex:

3. Change up your sex routine

Sometimes, all you need to relieve sexual frustration is a change of pace.

If you always use the same sex positions or fall into the same routine, challenge yourselves to try something new. Talk to each other about sexual fantasies, or experiment with a new position or style of sex.

4. Try mutual masturbation 

If your partner’s sex drive isn’t as high as yours is, or perhaps they aren’t in the mood for full penetrative sex, you might be able to release sexual frustration through mutual masturbation.

This allows you to have your sexual needs met while still connecting with your partner.

5. Don’t be afraid of solo masturbation

Even if your partner doesn’t want to join, you can engage in masturbation on your own to relieve sexual frustration.

6. Learn more about your partner

Over the course of a relationship, two people may grow apart sexually, leading to one or both partners becoming sexually frustrated. Learning more about your partner’s needs can help to resolve the issue.

Find out what turns your partner on or what they need sexually. This can help the two of you to get on the same page and become sexually compatible again.

Go ahead and have a conversation to see what your partner may need differently from you in order to be excited about sex again.

7. Use music to cope

If your partner’s low sex drive leads to ongoing sexual frustration, there are strategies you can use to cope with sexual frustration until the situation improves.

One such strategy is listening to music.

A recent study found that listening to the music of your choice can increase feelings of joy, whereas classical music can have a relaxing effect. If you are feeling depressed over being sexually frustrated, your favorite music may help, whereas some soothing classical tunes may ease anxiety to help you deal with sexual tension.

8. Get some exercise

Another way to boost your mood if you have a need to get rid of sexual frustration is to get out and get some physical activity. Exercise provides a great way to release sexual frustration.

Studies show that it can boost mood and improve depression. This makes exercise an ideal way of how to deal with sexual frustration. It may not be a replacement for sex, but it can provide an outlet to help you cope.

9. Practice self-care

Taking care of yourself with proper nutrition, adequate sleep, and healthy stress management can improve your life and help you to learn how to stop being sexually frustrated.

If you are always feeling stressed or tired, it can affect your ability to become turned on and enjoy sex, which can lead you to sexual frustration. Once you make self-care a priority, you are ly to find that you feel better, and sex feels better, too.

10. Consider outside help

If other methods are not successful at helping you relieve sexual frustration, it may be time to seek outside help in the form of relationship therapy.

A therapist can help you and your partner to address underlying relationship problems, such as conflict or lack of sexual compatibility, that may be negatively affecting your sex life and giving you sexual frustration.


Sexual frustration occurs when there is a disconnect between your sexual needs or wants and what you are actually experiencing sexually.

For example, you may feel sexual frustration  if you want to enjoy satisfying sex with your partner, but they frequently reject your sexual advances. This can leave you feeling depressed, irritated, or on edge.

If these strategies are not effective, you may benefit from going to a relationship therapist with your partner to help you to achieve a sexual connection that is satisfying for both of you.


6 Ways to Handle Sexual Frustration

How to Cope With Sexual Frustration

Maybe you’ve been there: frustration on either end of the spectrum.

It could be that your partner isn’t interested in sex anymore and you’re so full of sexual tension you could explode. Or, maybe you’re the one not that into sex these days, and you’re experiencing frustration because of your lack of libido. 

To make it worse, it’s hard to talk about dissatisfaction with sex in long-term relationships. It’s hard to tell someone you feel close to that they are disappointing you or that you feel disappointed in your own sexual interest.

Or maybe you’re single. Sometimes it can be hard to release sexual desire when we have no one to release it with, which leads to frustration. No matter what, we’ve got you covered in this guide on how to handle sexual frustration.

1. Talk About It

It’s funny that we always dis doing the exact thing that we need to be doing. If we could open up and talk to each other about our sexual frustrations, perhaps many peoples’ problems could be solved.

It could that you and your partner are misunderstanding each other’s needs and interests. It could also be something as simple as visiting your doctor and being prescribed a medication. You won’t know until you open up and talk about it.

If you’re not in a close relationship, you may still need to talk about your sexual frustrations. Enlist the ears of close friends, a therapist or your doctor. You might feel shy to talk about it, but sexual frustration can cause undue stress in your life. Sometimes, talking can alleviate a little bit of that stress.

Plus, your therapist and doctor are healthcare professionals who care about your sexual health. Your friends should care because it’s an essential part of who you are, and it needs nurturing, too.

Going to an in-person therapist or talking to friends about sexual frustration can feel a little awkward. If you want a less intimidating way to get help, we highly suggest trying Talkspace, an online/text therapy service. It's perfect for getting relationship help from certified therapists, right from your home either over video or text!

Perhaps you feel a lot of tension in your life that seems to be released when you have sex.

If sex isn’t on the table, you can find other ways to relieve stress. Bubble baths with Epsom salts, relaxing herbal teas, passionflower, and escaping into a novel are all good ways to take care of your emotional health. 

Take some time to yourself, and maybe it will lead to more than just relaxing. If that’s the case, some of that sexual tension and frustration should feel relieved.

If that doesn’t happen, that’s ok. You can still enjoy alone time and relieve stress in non-sexual ways.

3. Have Sex

It might sound obvious, but having sex can release a lot of tension and angst that your body is holding onto.

The endorphins released during orgasm and sex cause your mind to feel good, happy and at ease. One study showed that couples who had sex regularly experienced lower stress levels.

Sometimes it means going through the actions even if you’re not in the mood and focusing on foreplay so that you’re able to become slowly and fully aroused.

You might have to set a date, find a friend, whatever your thing is. Just getting your mindset back into the old ways can spark an interest in having sex again. You don’t know ‘til you try.

4. Exercise

It’s the age-old answer you’re sick of hearing as a solution for all your problems. But it’s true. Exercise can release tension, which can be a symptom of sexual frustration. Plus, it will make you feel sexy when you’re fit.

So, it’s a win-win situation.

Exercise doesn’t have to be boring. Switch it up at the gym and try a cycling class or the rowing machine. Join a “mommy (or daddy) and me” exercise group.

Take up swimming or a new sport that seems fun. Exercise can get your mind the gutter and help you deal with your sexual frustration in a healthy way.

5. Masturbation

Yep, I said it. When you don’t have any other options, you have to go at it alone. It’s a great way to experience the endorphins released by orgasm and to relieve some tension from your life.

Whether you are trying to release some extra sexual energy or you are trying to rediscover what it feels to be aroused, practicing on yourself has its benefits.

6. Be Comfortable with Yourself

This is key. If you can’t be comfortable with yourself, you can’t be comfortable with someone else. That means you need to own your sexual frustration and accept that your sexual needs may be different than your partner’s or what the rest of society says is normal.

Learn how to love your own quirks. Look in the mirror more often and smile. View yourself through the lens of someone else, noticing things about yourself that someone else might pick out, admire. Masturbate more to become more in tune with your own body’s needs.

Only when you are comfortable in your own skin will you be able to fully release sexual frustration.

Accepting that your sex drive isn’t as high as others’ may be part of this step. Accepting that you love having a lot of sex, on the other end of the spectrum, could otherwise be important for your relief. 

Sexual Frustration Is Normal, but You Can Overcome It

Sexual frustration doesn’t need to be the end of your sex life and a cause of constant stress. By trying the above steps and researching other ways to ease your tension, you can find relief.

When all else fails, exercise regularly. Keeping your blood and hormones flowing will help you release some of that energy. To all the sexually frustrated people out there, start letting go of some of that tension right now.


What Is Sexual Frustration and How Do I Deal With It

How to Cope With Sexual Frustration

No matter your relationship status—whether you're trying to reap the benefits of being single or find yourself in a marriage that's lacking intimacy—feeling sexually frustrated is no fun, nor is it something to ignore.

Satiating your sex drive is important, as experts say it’s closely tied to overall quality of life.

So if you’re feeling regularly dissatisfied, here’s how to identify what might be happening—and how to fix it—so you can get back to feeling nothing but pleasure in between those sheets.

Let's start by defining what exactly sexual frustration is

Simply put, it’s exactly how it sounds—any feelings of frustration or dissatisfaction with your current sexual interaction or lack thereof, says Shamyra Howard, LCSW, sexologist and author of Use Your Mouth: Pocket-Sizes Conversations to Increase 7 Types of Intimacy In and the Bedroom. “[It occurs when the sexual experiences you want are not in alignment with what you’re getting.”

And yep, it’s 100 percent normal to feel frustrated (sexually or not, TBH). “Most people—regardless of gender, sexuality, or relationship status—will experience sexual frustration at some point in their life,” Howard says. “Those in non-monogamous relationships deal with sexual frustration as well, especially since not all open relationships involve sex.”

What are some symptoms of feeling sexually frustrated?

People experience and exhibit symptoms of sexual frustration differently, Howard says.

Some, for instance, might lose interest in sex and consistently decline it, she explains, whereas others may seek more of it (potentially with someone who isn’t their current partner) or decide to masturbate when they’d prefer sex. Symptoms of depression may start to crop up as well, and changes in mood are common, she adds.

Physically speaking, “you might feel a sense of buildup or tension without the desired sense of relief,” says Jessica O’Reilly, Ph.D., sexologist and host of the Sex With Dr. Jess podcast.

“It can be as simple as experiencing blood flow to the genitals (or another region you’ve come to associate with pleasure or orgasm), and when you don’t experience the pleasure or orgasm, you might find yourself feeling frustrated.”

To help identify how you’re feeling, O’Reilly suggests asking yourself why you have sex. “What benefits do you derive, and how do you feel before, during, and after?” she asks. “Are those feelings overwhelmingly positive, neutral, or negative?” If your answer is landing more in the neutral to negative territory, you may be feeling a little (or a lot) frustrated.

That said, symptoms of sexual frustration are not the end-all be-all, as O’Reilly says sometimes it’s about resetting expectations. “Feelings are not permanent states of being,” she says. “They’re temporary experiences and you can make attitudinal and behavioral adjustments to change the way you feel.”

But what exactly causes these frustrated feelings?

There are a wide variety of experiences that could lead to sexual frustration. Anything from not being able to orgasm and not having your pleasure prioritized, to feeling pressured to have more sex or not having enough of it—all can be a major hindrance, O’Reilly says.

That said, there are a few common causes sex therapists often encounter. The first: unclear sexual boundaries and motives. “Sex is more satisfying to people when they feel they are getting what they expect,” Howard says.

People in long-term relationships ly want to feel love and intimacy, for example, whereas those who solely engage for sexual pleasure may want more raw desire. “When these expectations are discussed and agreed on upfront, each person can commit to the outcome,” she adds.

In other words, you can’t just expect someone to know how to please you—communication is key.

Speaking of communication—or a lack thereof—not discussing mismatched libidos and falling into ho-hum routines can also cause frustration. If you know what to expect and there’s no variety in your sex life, it’s tough to feel motivated to, well, keep doing it, Howard says.

Same goes for feeling you “should” have sex because society tells you to (we’ve all heard the “have sex at least three times a week rule”), or because you have a partner with a higher sex drive than you. To be clear, having mismatched libidos doesn’t mean your sexual relationship with this partner is doomed.

But it does mean you have to talk about it so those feelings of sexual frustration can be put to bed.

Other experiences ranging from medical conditions and treatment side effects to sexual identity, relationship issues outside of the bedroom, and external factors (think work-related problems, child rearing, or societal stressors) could be at play. The key thread is to examine all areas of your life to help identify the root cause.

How do I deal with it?

Rectifying sexual frustration is one of those things that needs to be done with lots of care and consideration for both yourself and your partner. First up: identifying the actual cause of the frustration.

“Start by ruling out any medical issues or possible interaction from medications or supplements,” Howard says. Next, use your mouth—by talking to your partner. “Lots of people have sex, but rarely talk about it,” she says. “Create a regular sex check-in where you discuss what’s working well, and what you’d to see change.”

From there, you may want to shift the way you view sex. “Frustration often results from outcomes not meeting expectations, but it’s important to note that when you have a specific outcome in mind, you may be setting yourself up for frustration,” O’Reilly says. “One way to avoid sexual frustration is to explore sexual pleasure for pleasure’s sake, as opposed to focusing on a specific goal.”

And again, talk to your partner—alone or potentially with the help of a sex therapist—as Howard stresses it’s important your partner knows, understands, and agrees on your sexual expectations and boundaries each and every time they shift. (And yes, it’s always OK for them to shift.)

If you're single, or just riding solo in the midst of a pandemic..

Partner or not, you don't have to be abstinent. If the sexual frustration you’re feeling is due to a lack of sex, Howard suggests practicing solo touch and solo sex.

“Masturbate, take yourself out on dates, and appreciate all of the things about you that you’d want a partner to,” she says. O’Reilly agrees: “Don’t let the absence of a partner hold you back from lending yourself a hand or reaching for your favorite toy.

” (Don't know where to start? Here are our favorite options for beginners.)

Regardless of your relationship status, remember to take care of you. “Oftentimes we complain about being sexually frustrated as though it’s someone else’s job to address our feelings—it’s not,” O’Reilly says. “You’re responsible for your own sexual fulfillment…It’s up to you to decide what works.”

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