Here's something you likely didn't know when it comes to saying "no" to sex: "It's not always so easy for someone to tell if they are responding to real signals not so have sex as opposed to excuses they have built up in their minds," says Madeleine Castellanos, M.D., sex therapist and author of Wanting To Want: What Kills Your Sex Life and How to Keep It Alive. That means when you say you're too tired to get down, you might not even know you're using exhaustion as a sex shield. "One way to help discriminate between these two states is to take inventory about how many thoughts are involved," says Castellanos. "If your mind is very active, literally creating case for not having sex, then you are probably in the middle of fabricating an excuse." Another way? Just be wary of whipping out these four reasons to get out of getting down, experts say.
1. "I have a headache."
While headaches come in all shapes and sizes, Castellanos says, tension headaches that include eye strain are some of the most common. "These symptoms may actually improve with sex and orgasm as the body releases increased levels of endorphins," she says. "Of course, if you have a migraine or a caffeine-withdrawal headache, sex will probably just make you feel worse."
2. "I don't feel like it."
This excuse leaves too much to the imagination, explains Gloria Brame, Ph.D., sexologist and author of The Truth About Sex: A Sex Primer For The 21st Century. "It can make your partner wonder why, especially if you say it often, and may make them think you don't find them attractive," she warns. "Men are just as sexually insecure, if not more so, than women. So leaving them to wonder may frustrate them, and if a man is repeatedly frustrated, his upset and coldness toward you can build."
3. "I have too much to do."
We've all got too much to do. "But think about how much you nurture your sexual relationship with your partner versus how much you put it on the back-burner," Castellanos encourages. "If you notice that you are always leaving sex for last, you should rethink your priorities and give it some much-needed attention. There's importance in making space for the erotic, both mentally and physically. This is crucial to a happy and vibrant sex life."
4. "I'm too tired."
Going to bed by 9 p.m. has become the dream for some over-worked women living "stressful lives that encourage unhealthy lifestyle choices," says Castellanos. "These include eating junk food, sitting too long without regular exercise, and suffering with muscle tension all day long. All of these things rob us of our energy and make sex feel like mission impossible. I will tell you, however, that when you have regular sexual activity, it helps balance your hormones, helps you manage stress better, and even helps you think more clearly. When you have satisfying sex, it actually gives you energy and encourages better blood flow throughout your entire body."