If your sex life has been in the pits for a while and you can’t seem to pinpoint the reason why, you’re not alone. Many couples face a lack of intimacy and physical intercourse more often than they’d like, and there are several common reasons why sex lives come up less than satisfying. Here are a few reasonings and some suggestions on how you can improve your physical intimacy.

1. You don’t make the time for it

We all lead busy lives, from demanding careers to personal dealings, which keep us on our toes. And it most certainly doesn’t become any easier to manage personal and business when a couple has children. When bills are due, your boss is on your back about deadlines and your kids need to be fed and put to bed, it’s easy to put sex on the back burner.

For the ambitious couple who’ve gone down the route of entrepreneurship, the work never stops, and fitting sex into one’s schedule is an even finer balancing act. But simply put: if you’re not making the time to work on your sex life as you do every other aspect of your life, then your sexuality within your relationship will suffer.

Many may rebut and say, “There simply isn’t time to fit sex in with all of my responsibilities.” But as the old saying goes, “You make time for what you feel is important.” The first thing you have to do as a couple and individually is determine how important sex really is to you. How often do you desire sex, and how often would you like to have it ideally? It’s important to set those standards for your sex life.

If sex is something you only see as an act of procreation or only acceptable on special occasions, then you’ve already set your standards for your sex life: only for when children are desired and only on holidays, birthdays and anniversaries. But if sex is desired more often as a way to deepen intimacy within a relationship, then establish a set sex schedule for when you and your partner will have your erotic playtime.

If sex is important to the both of you, then making a schedule will be more than possible. Take time to sync your schedules and find time between childcare and career obligations to get it in. Use a calendar to write in your appointments and place it somewhere visible within the bedroom to emphasize importance.

2. Your interests have changed

With each passing day, you have experiences that rework and shift your mind about how you view the world around you. And if your mind is changing about basic needs and recreation, then you can rest assured that your interests in sex shift as well.

Sometimes a sex life slumps when one person or the other has desires that haven’t been discussed or fulfilled. A partner who once thought anal sex wasn’t a thing to do may now have a sudden interest in trying back door entry for the first time; that tongue trick that’s always used during foreplay may have gotten tired and a new form of foreplay is desired. Whatever the case, your sex life could be suffering because you’re now interested in deeper sexual practices.

If this is the case, don’t be afraid to communicate your desires to your partner.  S/He may be just as interested in spicing things up as you are, but you’ll never know until you ask. It’s healthy to discuss changes with your partner within your sexuality as mindsets rearrange, because no one person will remain the same. As you update your wardrobe and your taste in wine and music, make a commitment to discuss your new desires and interests within sexuality and upgrade your standards for sex.

3. You rarely talk about sex

Sexuality is definitely a hot topic, but it’s not always an easy subject to open up about in one’s personal life. Years of sexual shaming, lack of regular sexual education, and life lessons learned in religious practices can sometimes cause one to become less likely to discuss sex, even within the security of a loving and committed relationship.

It’s rare that a couple that doesn’t speak about sex holds it as a priority, and they’re more than likely having less sex than they’d like. Studies have shown that couples who talk about sex regularly are more comfortable with talking during the act of sex and report having more satisfying erotic lives overall. Knowing the right words to say or how to initiate the conversation are common hang-ups for many when it comes to improving communication about sex, but there are ways to improve.

By pinpointing areas of discomfort in communicating about sex and determining the cause of discomfort, couples can move past blocks that are restricting healthy talks about intimacy and physical pleasure. Enlisting the help of a sex therapist or a sex coach can be helpful in aiding couples to move past communication blocks.

4. Your sex education is outdated

Most adults have moved years beyond their high school sex ed class (if one was ever taken in the first place). So the basics of sexual anatomy, STD awareness, prevention and family planning might be understood, but the mechanics of physical sex are often left untaught and underappreciated. No one person is hard wired with sexual skills in their DNA. Everything must be taught or learned in the act. There are some who have little experience and a lack of education, and this further dampens a couple’s sex life.

In this case, couples should enter into adult sex ed individually and as a couple, whether through reading self help books or enrolling in sex ed classes taught by instructors online and in real space. Life is all about learning, so invest in your sex life by enrolling in some sex education classes or by getting one-on-one coaching.

5. Your health and hormones have shifted

One often overlooked aspect of sexuality is how overall health has an affect on its expression.  Very rarely does one link wellness with high libido, but we should. Many African Americans are suffering from ailments like diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease, kidney disease and obesity that are known to suppress the libido. If the body isn’t in full health, the first thing to suffer is the sex drive.

Also, conditions that affect hormonal levels can also hit the libido hard. Childbirth, aging, prostate, uterine or cervical cancer, neurological issues, stress and anxiety are just a few things that can send hormones through the floor. Stay on top of your health by leading a healthy lifestyle of regular exercise, clean eating and stress relieving activities.

If any of these ailments are currently plaguing you, continue to monitor your conditions by sticking to regular treatments. Some medications can lower libido as a side effect, so talk to your doctor about alternatives that won’t make your sex drive a casualty.

Glamazon Tyomi is a freelance writer, model and sex educator with a deeply rooted passion for spreading the message of sex positivity and encouraging the masses to embrace their sexuality. Her website, www.glamerotica101.com, reaches internationally as a source for advice and information for the sexually active/curious. Follow her on Twitter at @glamazontyomi.