Does sex feel more like a chore than a joy? Are you worried you are missing what other couples have? Do you sense your partner is dissatisfied?
Every couple struggles with sex at some point in their relationship. Differences in how often you want sex or what type of things you prefer doing can separate partners, leading to feelings of loneliness, a lack of connection, or loss of intimacy. Sex ultimately becomes unsatisfying, or stops altogether.
Each couple deals with sexual compatibility a little differently. Some will seek help early when issues arise, and some will live with sexual incompatibilities for many years before they are ready to make a change.
No matter which stage you are in, a sexual incompatibility can make or break a relationship. And how to navigate when to get professional help is key.
How do you know when you have reached that point? Here are the signs that tell you it is time:
1. A sexual issue or negative pattern is so close to you that you are unable to separate it from the rest of your life.
Many couples will figure out what works for them early on -- which sexual acts, positions, etc. that bring them (and their partners) the most excitement and pleasure. While they can have great sex for awhile (usually one to 1.5 years), a sexual pattern can quickly develop. Eventually, without variation or open communication, that pattern loses excitement, becomes predictable and stops working as it did before. And the longer that stale pattern is ingrained, the more difficult it is to change.
A sex therapist can help you to see options that you might not see on your own. They identify both parties authentic sexuality and find the best way to work together.
2. You are trying hard to make a change, but don't seem to be getting anywhere. You may be trying every solution you can think of to solve your sexual issue, only to be met with the same negative result or a partner who isn't on the same page. You find yourself repeating the same discussions over and over again, leading to an argument or a stalemate where the topic becomes taboo and sex stops altogether.
Sex therapists have hope for your situation, maybe more so than you do. They can help you to "unstick" emotional blocks and get to the heart of roundabout discussions, allowing you to understand the anger and resentment that can surround sexual issues. Most couples who come in for sex therapy say they say they wished they had come in sooner.
3. You know that something is wrong, but you can't put your finger on exactly what it is. It can be difficult to determine the exact cause of sexual issues because they often have many different contributing factors -- from cultural shame to gender differences, physical complications to relationship issues.
Sex therapists come from a multidisciplinary perspective and are adept at tailoring their approach to meet your individual needs after assessing the whole picture.
4. You know you want to make a change, but you don't know where to start.
Perhaps you have done searches online and come up with answers that seem too vague, inaccurate, or don't apply to you.
A sex therapist guides you through a step-by-step process at a pace that works for you. Sex therapy will start with an assessment (interview, questionnaires, etc) and followed up with "talk therapy" and exercises for you to take home that you can do on your own or with a partner (when appropriate). Read more about what a sex therapist does.
5. You are conflicted by a situation and can't seem to see which direction to take.
Solutions to sexual problems are not always obvious. Your options can often seem limited or even unappealing. Some of us even create unnecessary barriers for ourselves.
A sex therapist can help guide you to solutions that work for both parties, and at a pace that takes both people into consideration. The goal is to create a "team" spirit where both parties feel heard and represented.
6. You are uncomfortable doing or fantasizing about certain erotic things.
Sex therapists know most of us have taboo thoughts or feelings at one point in their lives. These are more common than you think.
Sex therapists are taught to be non-judgemental and simply cannot be shocked. They will help you to put your uncomfortable thoughts or fantasies into perspective and figure out healthy ways to address them going forward.
Find out more how sex therapy works.
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