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RaincheckWhether you are single, coupled, or in an open-relationship with fifteen undiagnosed nymphomaniacs, you will eventually encounter a sexual advance that you'll prefer not to accept for one reason or another. If you don't want to have sex or can't have sex, then you should, by all rights, refuse the sexual advance but that doesn't mean that you need to do it in a way that makes the person who makes the advance feel bad. It takes a lot of balls, guts, and nervous sweat to admit to another human being that you find them attractive and want to get busy with them. Do your best to be kind when you reject their advances.

Regardless of your relationship situation, it is important that you identify first to yourself why you don't want to have sex. Maybe you're just too tired to give the act justice, maybe you are already in a relationship with someone else that precludes your ability to be sexual with another person, or maybe you just aren't interested in this particular partner. If the advance comes from a person who is not already your sexual partner and you really have no desire to be sexual with that person in the future, then be honest. Tell them honestly something about them that you do like, but then tell them without any mixed messages that you are not and never will be interested in being sexual with them.  This conversation usually goes something like this, "I'm flattered that you find me attractive and I really do enjoy your company, but I'd prefer that our relationship remain platonic." This is the standard, " I just want to be friends," speech. They suck to hear but honestly, it is better to be honest than to drag this whole thing out.

If the advance comes from a current sexual partner and the timing is just not right because you just rubbed one out, or really do have a terrible headache your strategy must be considerably different because you certainly don't want them harboring hurt feelings when you actually do want to splice genitals with them. Being annoyed or angry with a lover for desiring you sexually makes no sense at all.

I've had the unfortunate experience of witnessing some of the most hurtful and grotesque sexual rejections occurring between married couples. I find this extremely sad because this, I believe, is one of the primary precursors for harmful affairs that exists in marriage. If you really love your partner and agreed to be in a sexual relationship with him or her, why on earth would you ever treat them with distain for trying to share intimacy with you? Think for just one bloody second about all the lonely people out there who'd give just about anything to have another human being care about them enough to try to seduce them. Think about that before you begin acting like an emotional succubus because you have so much affection thrown at you that you can not only reject the majority of it, but also spurn the very hand that feeds you.

So before you reject your lover's request to share intimacy with you consider these strategies carefully because you owe it to your relationship to consider their feelings as well.

Are you certain that you don't want to have sex?
This might sound kinda silly but I firmly believe that many long-term couples fall into ruts of habitual apathy of one partner doing all of the initiation, which may in all fairness, not be the best of all possible seduction methods, and it becomes nearly automatic to reject their initiation. So before you reject the initiation, ask yourself a few questions first.

Do you have adequate time for fulfilling sex right now?
If you are already late for work and the answer really is, "no," then explain that to your lover and ask for a raincheck. Better yet, offer them a raincheck and keep it. Tell them when you'll next be available for a tryst and be sure to be the one to initiate the sex when it is time to make good on your promise.

Do you have adequate privacy to have fulfilling sex?
Maybe your mother-in-law is visiting and the there really is no way for you to feel comfortable enough to get it on while she is drinking your milk, breathing your air, and judging you for the paint color you've chosen in the guest room. Explain that to your partner and talk over some other options that may be acceptable for both of you. Maybe a little mutual masturbation in the shower can tied you both over until the soul-sucking bitch who gave life to your lover packs her bags and leaves.

Do you feel aroused enough for sex?
If this is all that is keeping you from tearing off your clothes and bumping uglies then you've got to grow up and realize that sexual arousal isn't automatic. It requires a little priming, like kissing, or talking, or touching, or looking at boobies, or smelling your partners sweat, or reading a little erotica, or watching a little porn, or straddling a pillow and riding it like a wild bull or LOTS of other things that you should be doing. If you are really rejecting your partner because you simply aren't in the mood, then I suggest a new rule should be applied to your relationship. Don't reject your partner's advance until you give them a solid ten minutes of kissing and heavy petting. If you still aren't in the mood after that, then try it again tomorrow and the next day, and the day after that.

Are you medically unable to perform sexually?
Maybe you just had a sex change operation, or a vasectomy, or are literally bleeding out your cunt, or in some other way incapable of having intercourse with your lover. It is legitimate to listen to your doctors orders and deny anyone access to anything that would be unhealthy for either of you to do, but that doesn't mean you can't hold your partner while they get off, or perhaps use your hands, a toy, your mouth, read them a naughty story, watch a dirty movie, or even break out the sock puppets and give them a little home brewed pornographic puppet show.
Contrary to popular belief, it is safe to have intercourse throughout your entire menstrual cycle. so throw down a towel and give it a try. You might actually like it and find that it even alleviates discomfort associated with PMS.

Regardless of your reason for rejecting your lover's initiation, it is important that they come away knowing that you still care for them and find them attractive, and that their desire to be intimate with you is valid. It is important that you make them realize that even though your are rejecting their request to have sex with you, you aren't rejecting them. Be careful to avoid these common mistakes as these lead to resentful feeling and needlessly hurt emotions.

Do not ignore their request to have sex.
If your partner attempts to seduce you or comes right out and says, "I want you to bend me over that chair and fuck my brains out." Do not ignore them. Validate their desires and explain why you can't immediately fulfill them. If there is time and enough privacy, consider discussing a means by which you could help them fulfill their desire to be with you. If there is not, discuss it with them at a later date so that they know you didn't just dismiss their request outright. Letting your partner know that you care enough about them to have carefully considered their request before refusing it is like gold bullion in relationship wealth.

Do not humiliate your partner for asking to have sex with you.
Nothing makes me feel quite as uncomfortable as watching someone trying to sweet talk their partner into a little impromptu action only to be slapped in the face for doing so. Get off your high-horse and stop believing that you are a better person for being the person who says, "no" to sexual intimacy. All of your friends already know you are sharing intimacy with your girlfriend, boyfriend, husband or wife, and find it much more jarring that you humiliate your partner in their presence than they do knowing that your partner is trying to initiate intimacy with you.

Do not get negative, snobby, or self-important.
When your partner asks for sex, it may feel as though the ball is in your court and now is the perfect time to hold your partner hostage while you dish out all of your complaints and misgivings. Fight the urge to be a jerk and do your very best to not use sex as a weapon to turn the tables on your partner, even if they have it coming. If you are really hanging on to an issue in your relationship that is keeping you from being intimate with your partner, then table the offer for sex, tell them that you must get something off your chest before you will be able to comfortably share intimacy with them.

Nobody feels good about being the only one who initiates every single sexual adventure. If you are the half of the relationship that rarely puts your back into getting it on, try to beat your partner to the punch and surprise them with a preemptive arousal strike  Do your best to listen to your partner's requests, especially the ones they repeat over and over. If he's been asking to wake up to a blow job for the last five years, that is something he wants, don't kid yourself. If she's constantly bothering you during your favorite sporting event, get a TiVo, hit pause and bend her over the sofa immediately after her first attempt at distracting you. Give her a few orgasms and you'll be back to enjoying your homo-erotic gladiator distraction before you know it.

Write the Author: Kidder Kaper

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Kidder Kaper

Kidder has been theorizing and writing about human sexuality since 1993, when he began work on his primary goal: "Teaching the world to be unafraid to enjoy sex."


Laura Rad

Laura Rad has been educating herself and others about sexuality for over seven years. You can find Laura every week chatting with the crew of the Sex is Fun Podcast.


Gay Rick

Gay Rick is an HIV Educator and Co-Host on the Sex is Fun podcast. He is also a certified Hepatitis C Educator.



The in-house audio engineer.


John Stark

John writes a blog titled We Sleep Together. He is in his twenties, and has been in an open relationship for six and some years.



The Walrus is an avid SIF listener, married, and recently became a proud father. He spends his days working in IT, but has always been interested in pushing the boundaries of traditional and conservative thoughts sexually.


Cooper Beckett

Cooper Beckett's life isn't like other people's. When he's not writing or podcasting at Life on the Swingset, he's living it up with his wife Marilyn as evangelical swingers, spreading the good word that "sharing is caring."


Beth Swings

Beth is an English rose, happily married and happily swinging in the UK and abroad. She has a full-time vanilla career which she loves. Beth counts sex and naturism among her many extra-curricular passions in life.


Mari Rose

Mari Rose and her family live in Colorado, love life and do their best to maintain balance and sanity and in this crazy, sexy, beautiful world.



Lorax runs everything behind the scenes at Sex is Fun. If she's not maintaining the website, gathering articles, or directing art you can find her wakeboarding or snowboarding with her husband.