The passion will fade with time—no matter how eagerly she jumped in the sack when you first started dating.
But less urgency doesn’t have to translate to all-out boredom in bed. After you’ve been together a while, “you don’t feel I-want-to-rip-your-clothes-off lust, but you still want the person,” says Brandy Engler, Ph.D., a Los Angeles-based sex therapist and author of The Men on My Couch.
“Boredom is more of an aversive state—like, ‘I’m not really feeling this at all.’”
So how can you tell when your girlfriend has drifted into “I could not care less about sex” territory?
Watch for these five signs—some subtle, others glaring—that she’s checked out in the sack, and learn how to reengage her before your sexual deficit carries over to the rest of your relationship.
1. SHE REGULARLY GOES TO BED AT A DIFFERENT TIME THAN YOU.
Maybe she really doesn’t want to watch House of Cards with you. But there’s a more likely reason for her early bedtime: She’s aiming to avoid intimacy.
“She is trying not to be in bed at the same time [as you] ,” says Engler. “Women talk about doing this on purpose.”
(Conversely, some women may linger in the living room until you’ve dozed off, with a similar goal of deflecting your come-ons.)
Pique her interest: You could try initiating sex earlier, since she may just be frustrated with your late-night attempts at moving in on her.
And that doesn’t just mean executing your normal moves at 6 p.m. instead of midnight: “When women are losing interest, men really need to have good seduction skills to lure them in,” says Engler.
Read: Bluntly asking, “Wanna have sex?” isn’t an acceptable entrée to intimacy. So talk to your partner about what sparks her libido—and let her know it’s okay if she currently has little motivation to make love.
That way, she knows you don’t expect her to be hot and horny instantly—and that you’re willing to work toward revving up her desire together.
2. SHE WANTS TO STICK WITH ONE POSITION DURING SEX.
An especially bad sign: She favors the move that she knows gets you off fastest.
“She wants it to be over,” says Engler.
As Megan Fleming, Ph.D., a psychologist and sex expert at Cornell University, puts it, “If she’s like, ‘Let’s not switch things up—let’s just do this and get done,’ she’s not interested in feeling more pleasure. It’s totally obligatory, going through the motions.”
Pique her interest: If you’re running a one-position show, try adding an extra element of pleasure for her: Break out the vibrator, and stimulate her clitoris while you’re thrusting, suggests Engler.
Hopefully, once she’s reminded how awesome her O feels—and even the pleasure leading up to it—she’ll reengage in the experience.
Or even better, guide her into a new position entirely—ideally, one that requires standing.
“I had a client who took his wife into the closet and went down on her,” says Engler. “She loved it—there was something illicit about being in a dark closet.”
Plus, she adds, standing sex forces your nervous system to work a little bit harder—and that means she can’t drift off into that detached, halfway asleep state during sex.
3. WHEN YOU OFFER TO GET HER OFF, SHE DECLINES.
It’s one thing to decline giving you oral sex, since that can be a lot of work.
But to refuse her own pleasure? That’s a bad sign, buddy.
“Having an orgasm—and the process it takes to get there—can be very sensual, relaxing, and connecting,” says Engler.
If she doesn’t value those things—and would rather just sleep—your connection may no longer be strong enough to entice her into bed.
This level of apathy may indicate a deeper issue: “Sometimes, there are other emotions loaded into boredom, like irritation, anger, and disappointment,” Engler explains.
Pique her interest: She may sense that you’re offering an orgasm for your own personal ego boost—not because you really want to give her pleasure, says Fleming.
So before giving up, let her know you’re all about her: “You don’t want me to make you feel good? Tell me more—I want to do this for you.”
“See if you can playfully engage her,” says Fleming. “This brings her into the moment—sort of like going from the ‘no’ to the ‘maybe’ to the ‘yes.’”
If she’s still not interested, bring it up outside the bedroom in the morning.
“Demonstrate curiosity about her experience of your sex life—something many men don’t do,” says Engler. “It’s an opportunity to see what’s going on in the relationship that might make her not want to connect.”
4. SHE ASKS, “DID YOU FINISH?” BEFORE YOU ACTUALLY DID.
Translation: “You’re lasting too long—let’s wrap things up!”
“A lot of guys think women want sex to last a long time—like 30 minutes or more,” says Engler.
But, the truth is, most women are totally cool with a 10-minute session; any longer, and they may start to lose their lubrication, which is just uncomfortable. Half an hour may seem especially long to a woman who can’t climax during intercourse, Engler adds.
Pique her interest: The bad news: These three little words can put immense performance pressure on you, making it even harder to climax on demand.
If you’re nowhere close to finishing, work on drawing her attention. Caress her face, and make intimate eye contact with her.
“Connection is a huge turn-on for women,” says Fleming.
Another libido booster: sensing that your desire is specifically directed toward her. Gazing into her eyes is a surefire signal that your arousal is aimed entirely her way, says Fleming.
5. SHE DOESN’T WANT TO STRIP DOWN COMPLETELY DURING SEX.
Sometimes, it’s erotic to keep an article of clothing on—but apart from a rushed-and-raunchy quickie, a refusal to get totally nude can be a sign she’s not really interested in connecting with you.
(One caveat: If this is a consistent issue, she may just be body-conscious. It’s when she suddenly starts keeping her top on that you have to worry about boredom.)
“It’s a bit lazy,” says Engler. “And it can even be a bit hostile, like, ‘You just want to f*ck me, I’m not going to take everything off, here you go.”
Pique her interest: Guide her through a sexy striptease: Tell her to slowly take off her shirt—or just seductively ask her to show you her body—then tell her how much you love seeing her breasts.
“Use your words to be sort of commanding, but also pleasing—like Do this, oh that’s nice, now do this,” says Engler. “When women feel desired, it incites their desire a little bit more.”