'I love my partner but I'm not physically attracted to them anymore.'

Your partner. Are you... attracted to them? Don't give us that look, we're only asking!

Y'see, when you've been with someone for a while, it's totally normal for that 'spark' to fizzle a bit. Sometimes, a lot.

You know those crazy early days of a relationship where you have this intense urge to just spontaneously rip each other's clothes off? Well, with the majority of couples, that kind of passion is difficult to sustain in a long-term relationship.

We're sorry, but it's true. And totally normal! And if you don't experience it yourself, chances are you know someone who does.

Watch: Chantelle Otten sex tips for couples. Post continues after video.

Video via Chantelle Otten.

As you move from flirting with someone to building a whole entire life with them, that lust and spontaneous desire can just tend to fade a smidge.

However, what does it mean when you feel like you're not attracted to your partner... at all?

It's a problem that Kate* knows all too well. 

"I’m in love with my boyfriend, because we have mutual interests and get along great. But I’m not sexually attracted to him anymore," she shared.


"He looks older and has slimmed down a lot since we first began dating. We've been together for two years and I thought this was the man I was going to marry – and I still want to marry him, but I feel myself pushing him away whenever intimacy is brought up. I feel like I'm making him self-conscious, which is the last thing I want to do. I don’t know how to fix this."

As we said before, it's a problem so many of us can relate to — and the good news is, you don't need to end your relationship, says psychologist Carly Dober from Enriching Lives Psychology.

Here's her advice.

What does it mean if you're no longer attracted to your partner?

"This can occur for many reasons in many different relationships, and when we age, our bodies change. This can be one element of the physical attractiveness that may be impacted in relationships," said Dober.

"Sexual attraction and desire can also be impacted in long-term relationships because it is not possible for the desire and sexual chemistry that we felt with our partner in the initial stages of dating to be consistently like that as it enters long-term relationship zone." 

While every relationship is unique, it's not unusual to become less enamoured with each other or for there to be a bit of a disconnect with long-term relationships – particularly as life happens and things change.

According to Dober, everything from how well we sleep to how hydrated we are, how well we are nourishing our bodies and how much movement we get in the day can affect how we feel about engaging in intimacy. In fact, there are so many internal and external factors that can influence our openness to sex – "it makes you wonder how it's possible that we can do it at all!" Dober said.


"Our own moods and beliefs about our bodies and sex can heavily influence our attitudes to sex on any given day," she said, and what prompts someone to get it on may be a derterrant for others. Example? "Stress is one of the biggest libido killers for many – but for others, sex is used as a stress reliever."

Confusing, right? 

There can also be issues bubbling away under the surface of a relationship that can contribute to a lack of desire to get down. 

"Within the relationship, any unresolved issues or chronic arguments, a lack of feeling of safety or support, a lack of fun and novelty, and how connected you are can also heavily impact how receptive and open you are to having sex with your partner."

However, as Dober explained, it doesn't necessarily mean your relationship is in trouble.

"Sexual desire is also about wanting, and love is about having. It is normal to not be sexually or physically attracted to your partner at all times in the exact same way – and it is also possible to get that sexual and physical attraction and desire back for them."

As Dober told Mamamia, sexual appetite for our partner is influenced by things such as how well you are getting along, how much they're supporting you, and how emotionally intimate you are.


"Do you have fun together? Is there any mystery and playfulness in the relationship? Do you flirt? Do you take the time to romance one another and see each other as sexual beings?" asked Dober.

The first thing to do is talk to your partner about it, she suggested, especially if they are feeling self-conscious or noticing the lack of reciprocity with your sex life.

"Evaluate how supported and happy both are in the relationship – because this can heavily impact sexual desire and pleasure with one another."

If there are no obvious red flags in the relationship and everything else genuinely feels like it is going well, Dober recommends creating that spark again by exploring sensate play together.

"This is where you’re focusing on all of your five senses and noticing things give you pleasure to smell, touch, taste, to look at, and to hear. Maybe as you've grown independently and also grown into the relationship, what you like has changed and maybe you've not noticed this."

Can a relationship last when physical attraction fizzles out? 

Here's the thing: sexual desire changes throughout a relationship. It's normal for that to happen. And if you're just not feeling it, the degree to which that *matters* "really all depends on how important sex is for you and also for your partner", said Dober.

"Some couples do not value and prioritise sex with one another, and it’s okay for them if they aren’t having sex as much or at all because it works for them."


While not wanting to have sex with your partner is not uncommon, and is a total non-issue for some, for other couples, it is a deal-breaker.

If that's the case, and you can’t work through exactly what is impacting sexual desire and arousal, Dober said you may be "unable to proceed in a partnership together because sex is something that is very important to one or both of you.

"It all depends on what sex means to you and how much you enjoy it and how much it supports your overall wellbeing," she added.

But at the end of the day, this is something couples can get past – if they want to, and if they're willing to put in the work.

"I can absolutely be something to get past if it is of value to you, and many couples have different relationship configurations that work very well for them where sex and sexual connection are not the top priority," she shared.

"If you can evaluate if there's any resentment that you are holding towards your partner, or anything that they have done that is getting of the way of you seeing them and wanting to connect with them sexually, this is very important if you are wanting to get past this."

One of the best ways to work through this is to try to think about any moments that you do find your partner attractive, even if not in the same way.

"Do you find them attractive when they're having fun with their friends? Supporting their family? Do you find them attractive when they're showing confidence in the workplace or doing a kind deed for people? Exploration and curiosity are key."


Regardless of whether your relationship is over or not, with open communication, curiosity and kindness you'll be able to figure out what's happening and how to move forward, Dober said.

"My overall advice is to figure out exactly what things support your sexual health profile, what traits or characteristics make you aroused, and what traits or characteristics you desire. 

"Often in relationships people can change because bodies change, especially in long-term relationships.

"I would also gently keep in mind that some relationships do fizzle out over time and it doesn't mean that they weren't successful, or they weren't good. It can just mean that the relationship has met the end of its natural life cycle."

*Name changed for privacy.

Can you relate to the above dilemma? What are your thoughts? Share with us in the comment section below.

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