How can you feel desire for your partner if they annoy you all the time?

September 15,2020

As I stared at the whiskers of Xander’s mustache, gently curling their way into his mouth, I thought to myself…

“Is it possible to be more annoyed by a person right now?” 

What had Xander done to evoke so much ire?

Absolutely nothing.

But we’d been spending so much time together that even the tiniest little things about him had been driving me up the wall. Ridiculous things, like:

Isn’t it wild how the person you love the most in the world can also drive you batshit with the tiniest little things? 

(And isn’t it also horrifying to think about your partner being as annoyed by you as you are by your partner? I KNOW I do just as many – if not more – annoying things as Xander, but it’s mortifying to think of him actually being annoyed by me!)

Since we’re all spending way more time together than we ever have before (thanks COVID!), there’s even more potential to feel annoyed by each other.

This creates a huge conundrum for so many relationships…

How can you feel desire for someone when you’re with each other ALL.DAY.LONG?

How do we feel longing and anticipation when we’re constantly in each other’s faces, annoying the heck out of each other?

I think the amount of time that couples are being forced to spend with each other is a huge factor in why so many of us are struggling with decreased desire. 

So today I want to share with you 5 tips for feeling more desire for your partner, even if you’re under lockdown together. 

Tip #1: Get out of each other’s faces

It’s just not possible to spend all day together and still want to jump each other’s bones!  

You need to create as much space between the two of you as possible for as much of the day as possible. 

Set up different spaces for you to do your work and pursue your hobbies and interests. 

If you’re lucky enough to be able to close a door between the two of you, close that door! 

If you can’t, at least turn in different directions so you’re not staring at each other’s faces all day. 

Create as much separation as you can with what you’ve got. 

Another tip? When you’re working, limit communication with each other to just text messages or email. That way you’re not talking to each other all day long. 

Tip #2: Turn your bedroom into a sexy haven

The sad truth is that most of us do not have bedrooms that inspire desire and passion. 

Most of us have bedrooms that are reflections of the overwork and overwhelm we feel in our daily lives. 

Go into your bedroom and take an honest look at it. Ask yourself, “Is this a space I’m excited to have sex in?”

There are two elements to this tip:

First, look over every inch of your bedroom, and try to identify the distractions. What are the specific things that tend to catch your attention and distract you in the moment? And how can you get rid of those distractions? For example:

Then, think about ways that you can add some sex appeal to your bedroom. How can you make your bedroom feel sexier, more inviting, more relaxing, and more sensual?

Here are some ideas to get you going:

Tip #3: Break down your day 

Think of your day as being comprised of 4 basic kinds of time: 

Be really intentional with yourself and with each other about when you’re in each zone. 

When you’re in work mode, you’re just in work mode. When you’re having couples time, you’re just in couples time. 

The alone time is particularly important. We just need time apart to recharge and reconnect with our desire. Try to support each other in carving out alone time, even if it’s just a few minutes a day! 

Here’s another helpful (and surprisingly fun) trick: treat each other as different people when you’re in each of these zones. I interact with “Work Xander” differently than I interact with “Couples Time Xander.” Sometimes I’ll even say things like, “I need to talk to my coworker right now” or “I need to talk to my husband right now,” depending on what I need!

Tip #4: Create transitions

Commuting to and from work used to create really nice transitions between our different kinds of time. But with commuting gone for most people, it’s up to us to create new transitions.

When you’re wanting to transition away from work time into couple time, take a moment by yourself, and ask yourself these two questions:

So for example, after your toddler just threw a tantrum over bath time, you might say to yourself, “OK, I want to let go of the stress and frustration from that bath. And I want to set the intention of being calm and present with my love during our date night.” Just taking a few seconds to go through this process can make a world of difference!

You may also find it helpful to incorporate activities into your transition time, like walking around the block, reading or journaling for a few minutes, or taking a quick nap. For me personally, taking a quick walk works wonders for helping release stress. 

Tip #5: Think about sex

Most of us feel so overwhelmed these days that it feels like we don’t have the mental space for desire. But that space is there! You just need to be intentional about it. 

Challenge yourself to think about sex once a day, for just a few minutes. Replay your favorite sexy memories with your partner. Think about your sexual “bucket list.” 

Thinking about sex naturally increases our desire for it!

It’s also a nice counterbalance to the things that annoy us about our partners. I can get turned off in about 1.2 seconds by staring at Xander’s overgrown moustache. But if I start thinking about how nice that moustache feels when we’re making out, it reminds me that he’s not just a 6 foot package of annoyances. He’s also pretty damn sexy! 


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I'm Vanessa Marin, a sex therapist and writer specializing in helping you have more fun in the bedroom.

I have bachelor’s degrees in human sexuality and sociology from Brown University, and a master’s degree in counseling psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies. I’m also a licensed psychotherapist. I’ve been working in the sex therapy field since 2002 and have been featured by The New York Times, O: The Oprah Magazine, Real Simple, and many more.

If you’re interested in improving your sex life, you can work with me via my online courses or personal coaching sessions. I look forward to supporting you in creating the sex life you’ve always wanted!