NationalSex and Dating

What to do When Netflix & Chill Becomes…Just Netflix

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Illustration created by Heather Atles using AI



Hi, I’m Shameless Heather Atles, an expert relationships, sex, and intimacy coach. With years of experience guiding individuals through the complexities of love, connection, and self-worth, my approach combines humor, practical wisdom, deep insights, and actionable steps to empower those navigating the twists and turns of modern romance. 

Ask me anything!

Dear Shameless,

My partner and I have been together for 5 years and in the beginning the sex was fantastic. We moved in together a couple of years ago and since then, it’s apparent that I have a much higher libido than she does. We get along great, she’s a wonderful partner in so many ways, it’s just really demoralizing that she isn’t all that interested in sex and doesn’t initiate very often. To add insult to injury, she isn’t always responsive or eager when I make the moves on her. It’s gotten to where I don’t even want to try very often because I don’t want to pressure her and I don’t want to feel rejected. Help!

~Sexistential Crisis

Dear Sexistential Crisis,

Ah, the age-old libido limbo – welcome to the club where the beats are great but nobody’s dancing to the same rhythm. First off, don’t be hard on yourself or your partner. Desire discrepancy is more common than HPV, and if you’ve had more than a couple partners, you’ve probably been exposed to both. 

When you’re in the throes of new relationship energy, everything is yet to be discovered, and it’s all exciting. Now that you know each other well, there’s less sexy tension. The good news is that you still like each other. The bad news is that there isn’t as much mystery. There’s a paradox at play. You have the security of domestic bliss killing the erotic vibe. 

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The same qualities that make your partner perfect for Netflix binges can make them less than thrilling under the sheets. In other words, you’ve gotten a bit too comfortable. The erotic spark in long-term relationships needs mystery and a bit of elbow room. It’s like trying to light a fire in a closet – not much space for the flames to dance, ya know? Becoming a bit more enigmatic could actually make your partner perk up and notice you in that “new light.” Try injecting some novelty and maintain some individuality as a way to rekindle desire.

But what exactly is desire, anyway? 

In her book Come As You Are Emily Nagoski breaks down desire into flavors more varied than at BiRite Creamery.

Spontaneous Desire is that unexpected craving for ice cream at midnight—it just hits you. Typically it’s more of a guy thing, but ladies aren’t strangers to it either.

Responsive Desire is kind of like when you see someone else enjoying a sundae and suddenly, you want one too. This one is common with the ladies (does she feel more amorous after watching a sexy movie?).

Contextual Desire: Well, this accounts for not even wanting to think about ice cream because you’re just too full or stressed. 

Desire has more varieties than flavors at BiRite Creamery. Illustration created by Heather Atles using AI.

The context really matters when it comes to getting in the mood for a scoop—or, you know, other naughty desires.

Nagoski also talks about the “dual control model” – everyone’s got libido accelerator and brake pedals. Your partner’s brakes might be more sensitive than yours. You might have a lead foot on the gas. As the one who seems to have an easier time getting out of neutral and into high gear, I urge you to get curious about what might be stomping her sexual brakes. Is she stressed? Tired? Feeling unsexy? How could you help ease her breaks? (Personally, I find a man vacuuming or cleaning the bathroom incredibly sexy!) What gets your lady revving her accelerator? 

Your partner’s brakes might be more sensitive than yours. You might have a lead foot on the gas. Illustration created by Heather Atles using AI

Here’s your homework, Sexistential Crisis:

Communicate: I mean really talk, not just a “Hey, wanna get it on?” Dive deep. What turns her on? What turns her off? Keep it light, non-accusatory, and maybe even a bit flirty.

Schedule Adventure: Anticipation can be the ultimate foreplay. Plan a date night that’s a bit out of the ordinary. The thrill of doing something unexpected can translate into bedroom excitement.

Fantasy & Play: Share fantasies without judgment. Start small if it feels weird. Sometimes, just opening up about these can dial up the desire.

Self-Care & Independence: Encourage each other to pursue individual interests and self-care. Space in a relationship can amp up the desire. It’s kind of nice to miss each other a little bit. Longing (in a good way) is hot.

Focus on Intimacy Without Pressure: Sometimes, the best sexual encounters start with the understanding that it doesn’t have to lead to intercourse. Cuddles, massages, or simply lying together can build intimacy without the pressure.

Mind the Gap: Desire discrepancy is normal. It’s how you bridge the gap that counts. Find middle ground where both of you feel your needs are being considered.

Remember, you’re on a journey together. It’s not about one having to catch up to the other; it’s about finding a place where both of you can enjoy the view. 



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Heather Atles

Heather Atles

Heather Atles is a Somatica™ trained relationship, sex, and intimacy coach who turns love lives from meh to magical. With a knack for transforming relationship ruts into romantic renaissances, she's your go-to guru for all things love, lust, and laugh-out-loud life changes. Let's just say, she's not your average therapist!