Not Tonight: How To Break It To Your Partner That You're Just Not Feeling Frisky Without Bruising Their Ego

Just because one of you is in the mood doesn't mean sex has to happen — but when your partner is in the mood and you're not, it's important to let them down gently. Your lack of friskiness doesn't need to lead to a fight or hurt feelings. Of course, there's also a chance your partner could change your mind — right?

Just because you aren't immediately in the mood, communicating with your partner that there are ways to turn you on and rev up your engines can change the whole outcome. But, when you're just in one of those headspaces where sex is absolutely the last thing on your mind, and nothing is going to change that until you're ready, or your body is not cooperating in such a way that sex feels like a comfortable thing to participate in, we have some suggestions to help you let your partner down gently. 

Always be open and honest

When you're partner is in the mood and you're not, let them know. Explain why you're not in the mood rather than just pushing them away. The more open and honest you are about your feelings, the better. Communication and honesty are two of the most important things in any relationship.

Shula Melamed, M.A., MPH, told mindbodygreen, "We depend on our partner being our port in the storm, a person who we can trust with our thoughts, feelings, and heart." Just as you should be able to trust your needs, even when you need some time without sex, your partner should trust that just because you're not in the mood right now doesn't mean things are suddenly falling apart. Just let it all out — whether you're not in the mood because of something weighing on your mind, have too long of a to-do list, or it's that time of the month and you're just not feeling up to it. An understanding partner will thank you for your honesty and let you come to them when you're ready to have a little fun between the sheets again.

Consider something non-sexual to do together

Just because you're not in the mood for sex doesn't mean you and your partner can't do something intimate together. You can have intimacy without sex, as intimacy simply entails feeling close to one another. You can do that while snuggling close on the couch and watching some silly TikTok videos or enjoying the latest movie in your favorite genre. Go for a romantic walk together somewhere — a sandy beach is a nice setting if the weather agrees.

There are other things that allow you to be even closer, which could lead to a sexy mood (but also don't have to). Consider cuddling in bed together — clothing optional. Have a makeout session like you would have when you were teenagers. Take a shower together — you can wash each other's backs without it leading to more (unless that gets you in the mood, then go for it).

Suggest something a little naughty

You're not in the mood, they are — why not encourage them to take care of it themselves? There are all sorts of health benefits to masturbation — plus, watching your partner touch themselves can be a turn-on as well. "Masturbation is a valuable piece of what people can do to better their relationship with themselves, and enjoy sexual activity on their own, but also with their partners," according to Susan Milstein, a certified sexuality educator and professor of health and kinesiology, via Insider.

Of course, you want to approach this suggestion in the kindest and most encouraging way possible. You don't want your partner to think you'd rather have them take care of their own sexual needs all the time. That being said, explain that while you're not in the mood right now, you don't want them to have to suffer with no pleasure or release.