“Not tonight honey”

Want a happy relationship? Then this phrase needs to be wiped from your vocab…

Pop quiz: you’ve had a long day at work, you are super tired and you haven’t shaved your legs for about two weeks, what’s the very last thing you feel like doing? Having sex, you say. You’d be correct. Even if you love the pants off your boyfriend there are still times when you just can’t be bothered. While that’s completely normal, some experts claim that pushing your BF off every time you aren’t up for sex could harm your relationship, so once in a while you should dole out some “duty sex”.

“In today's politically correct climate, suggesting you have “duty sex” - have sex purely because your partner fancies it - is guaranteed to offend,” sexpert Tracey Cox told the Daily Mail. “But someone's got to say it regardless of the consequences or we're all going to end up divorced, celibate or so desperate the old man next door in the button-down cardi looks hot.”

Different to pity sex (where you are just getting hot ‘n’ heavy with someone because you feel sorry for them), duty sex means you’re putting out when you’d rather be putting up walls because you love and value your guy. “The argument for having sex with your partner, even if you're not drooling with anticipation…should simply be that you love them, value the relationship and want to make them happy sexually. And because you know they would do the same thing for you,” says Cox. So just like you make your BF dinner even when you’d rather be watching The Bachelor, sometimes you should do the horizontal mambo because you know it will make him happy – it’s just another way to show you care. Can you hear the sound of guys everywhere rejoicing?!

Sex is a way to physically and emotionally connect with your loved one and according to sexologist and relationship expert Dr Nikki Goldstein, “It’s really important to men not just as a physical and sexual act, but also as a way to emotionally connect with their partner. If they are rejected they might take it personally and as a rejection of their expression of emotion.” So when you’re feeling all “not tonight, honey”, it’s worth remembering that this is a display for love from him and refusal could hurt him as much as if you shrug off a cuddle.

But hey, a girl can’t be an ultimate sex vixen at all times, so how can we get in the mood quick smart? Let your brain do the work and start thinking sex thoughts: “Try and change your pattern of thinking from tired and exhausted to looking at triggers in your partner. What do you love about him and turns you on, what does he do that makes you feel sexy? Focus on the sexy side of the relationships and train your brain to head in that direction,” says Goldstein. Also, get your touch on - you can’t underestimate how far a passionate kiss or stroke of the right place can get you, even when you are not in a rip-my-clothes-off mind frame.

And there is something in it for us too (apart from making your man V happy, of course), “Duty sex can actually get you in the mood. It's a case of fake it ‘til you make it. Sometimes when we push ourselves into a sexual encounter we can trigger off arousal,” says Goldstien. “Even when we are going through the motions we are still realising the relevant sex hormones. We might go from doing it for his sake to really enjoying it.”

“Study after study proves if you make the effort to try to get it in the mood for sex, a lot of the time, you actually end up enjoying it immensely,” adds Cox. “Love, fairness, generosity and wanting to make your partner happy are damn good motivators as well.”

And this is key to successful duty sex, you need to act like you’re actually enjoying it too, not just lie there looking like you’re planning what you’ll wear tomorrow: “By “duty sex” I don't mean say yes, roll your eyes, purse your lips and lie there like a cadaver, checking your watch behind their back. It must be done gracefully rather than begrudgingly or it's pointless doing it at all.”

But duty sex shouldn’t be confused with losing your libido all together or simply not being sexually attracted to your BF anymore, it should only be a once-in-a-while practice, not something you find yourself having to do every second night. “When you find yourself having duty sex more than regular sex I would say that's the point when you know there is a problem.

“There is a compromise in all situations and the compromise works both ways. Sometimes it might also be good not to have sex as an expression of a good deed towards the person who doesn't want to. It can also get dangerous when one partner sees sex as a duty and chore and not for their own pleasure,” warns Goldstien.

So the morale of this (sexy) story is that from time-to-time when you’re in an LTR it can be really beneficial to get it on, even if you are not feeling your hottest, but on the flipside sex shouldn’t be a chore and you should never feel pressured to do anything you don’t want to, so it’s about finding a balance.