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4 min read

How to Deal with Sexual Rejection from Your Partner: Marriage Counseling in Austin

Most of us who have sexual relationships experience a moment of feeling sexually rejected by their partner. It may be that your sexual partner hasn't initiated sex for a while, or even just a day where they're tired and aren't interested in physical intimacy. But when does feeling rejected become a problem? And how can we address this in our relationships?

The Impact of Sexual Rejection By Your Partner

If it is a one-time rejection of a sexual advance, then it may not be a huge deal. Experiencing sexual rejection every so often can be normal. After all, we're not always on the same page when it comes to intimacy. However, some studies have shown that continual sexual rejection can lead to depressive symptoms and decreased relationship satisfaction.

Explore Your Rejection Story: Why Does My Partner Reject Me Sexually?

It's important when exploring rejection in a romantic relationship to look at things honestly and objectively. Which can be difficult because emotions are high when sexual intimacy is involved. However, when we are in our feelings and concerned about sexual satisfaction, it's essential to understand whether we are actually being sexually rejected or simply believe that we are.

What Are the Differences Between Feeling Rejected and Being Rejected Sexually?

Sexual rejection isn't necessarily at play when a partner rejects sexual intimacy. Sometimes it can be a physical challenge (like the old "headache" excuse, but someone really could be feeling badly and not want to initiate sex or participate in sex), or it could be an emotional disconnect that is fleeting.

However, sexual rejection over time can become frustrating, especially in monogamous couples where one partner is more sexually active and wants more sex than the other. In the long term, relationship satisfaction can decrease over time, and have a negative impact on mental health.

Understanding Sexual Rejection

James Kim, a psychologist with the University of Toronto, and some of his colleagues performed a study with a sample of married couples and found four different rejection strategies.

  • Reassuring rejection is when you don't want sex in the moment but are quick to reassure your partner that they're attractive while offering other forms of physical affection like a foot rub or some cuddling.
  • Assertive rejection is when you deny your partner’s initiation directly, with honesty, but without much regard for their feelings.
  • Hostile rejection is when you are critical of your partner and show frustration. You may give them the silent treatment to punish them for how they initiate sex.
  • Deflecting rejection is a form of sexual rejection in which you pretend that you don't notice that your partner is interested in a physical connection. You may turn away or pretend to be asleep.

How to Deal with Sexual Rejection From Your Partner: Tips for Talking with Your Partner

If you have an otherwise healthy relationship, then the way you deal with sexual rejection can impact your sex life in important ways. No one should ever be forced to have sex against their will, but there are ways to maintain connection even when you're not in the mood.

Build emotional connections through sexual activity.

If you are not the one who typically initiates sex, then you may give this a try. Sometimes responsive desire can be stronger when you do something unexpected.

Feelings are messengers, not facts.

If you are feeling rejected, remember that this is simply an emotional reaction. What is the truth of the matter? Is your partner typically an active partner in your sex life? Or is this simply a one-off?

Seek genuine companionship.

Some people expect strong sexual intimacy even if they aren't attending to all of the other connections in a relationship. There's nothing wrong with wanting sex, but self-worth is connected to feelings of true communion in emotional and physical affection in non-sexual ways.

Evaluate the dynamics of the relationship.

Where are the challenges? Do you or your partner feel inadequate? Do you feel defensive if intimate time doesn't go the way you planned? Is your sexual drive different from that of your partner? Couples therapy or marriage counseling can be excellent ways to learn more about your relationship and the ins and outs of open communication.

Don't put pressure on them.

Have a date night, and make sure there are no strings attached. Often, when a couple is having intimacy issues, they feel worse when there is pressure involved. Building a better relationship through building self-worth and communicating on a variety of levels will lead to sexual satisfaction.

Don’t take what they say to heart.

If your partner isn't in the mood for sexual intimacy, don't immediately assume that your partner rejects you. In a relationship, there are ups and downs, and to avoid hurting their feelings, take one for the team every so often. There's no need to feel inadequate, especially if this isn't a common issue.

Focus on self-care.

If you are feeling rejected and it's having a negative impact on your mental health, self-care can be a way to help you be a better partner in your relationship. Again, open communication is key, but there are a few things to do for yourself that can help you manage your feelings around sex and desire.

Nurture your own happiness and avoid feeling frustrated by meeting your own needs and retaining interest in other things. You can talk to your partner and a family therapist if you feel as though you are truly not on the same page.

Is it emotionally abusive to be rejected sexually?

If a person is purposely withholding sex or avoiding sex for a long period of time from their partner, it can possibly be an abusive act. Typically, though, when a partner rejects another sexually in a relationship, it's more a matter of communication issues. Sex therapy can help in situations where a relationship is having difficulty due to matters of sex, intimacy, and communication.

If you think your partner may be emotionally abusive, seek the advice of a mental health therapist.

The Bottom Line on Sex, Rejection, and Relationship

If your partner rejects you sexually, remember to take stock of the entire situation in an honest way, work on communication with your partner, show affection in other ways, and get professional help from a couples therapist or a sex therapist if needed. Sexual rejection (in the short term) is no reason to write off a relationship, especially if your feelings and sexual desire are otherwise well-aligned.

Couples Therapy For Sex Problems In Austin

If you and your partner are feeling the strain in your relationship due to problems in the bedroom, know that all hope is not lost.

Often, all a relationship needs to flourish once again is help with communication from a licensed Austin couples therapist.

Williamsburg Therapy Group would be honored to help you and your partner find satisfaction. Give us a call, and our team of doctoral-level therapists will help you out.

Book a Therapy Session in Austin Today

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