Why Women Stop Being Playful in Relationship


“I just feel he is uninterested or too stressed often so I don’t ask or try.” Carly says in frustration as she shrinks down into the office couch. 


“Every time I get a little playful or goofy, he asks what is wrong or going on with me. It makes me feel like I am doing something I should not or that he is unapproving of me.” Maryanne says to me with a look of shame and anxiety. 


“I want to feel pretty. I want to feel sexy. I want him to want me and to desire me, but when I try and dress a way that makes me feel good and confident, sexy, or pretty he either makes a comment that makes me feel slutty and ashamed of who I am in the moment, question myself and my judgment or he shows direct irritation or anger toward my attempts. He has even said to me that he does not want that from me. WTF! It just makes me question if he wants to be with me, cares or is remotely attracted to me anymore.” Stephanie shares as she looks down at her hands and twists them together. 


It’s often said that a man wants a lady in the living room or public and whore in the bedroom. This is the tried and true ideal for men and what they look for in a mate. Hard to come by it is and today we are going to discuss the difficulties as to why this is such a challenge for men to find and women to give as well as what this ideal does to modern relationship and marriage, the impact it has on self-esteem, security, and trust on both side and some ideas as to how to achieve a happy middle ground. 


With close to 30,000 hours spent working with individuals and couples in office on intimacy and relationship topics such as this as well as my personal life experiences in a few relationships I can share that this topic is a major point of controversy between many couples. 


Chemistry, lust, arousal and desire. These are the things that make us go after a potential mate. We are attracted to them for different reasons, however among them the majority of the time is how they arouse us. The feeling they give us when we are in their presence, look at us, share a good conversation or laughter. The way they ignite us at their touch or how we feel desire when we think about them.  This is the fire of a new relationship. It is the energy (NRE) that has us intoxicated with this other person and all the potential that could be. 


For women, we look at a man’s physical strength often, but more importantly we want to feel safe around him, to know that we can trust him physically and emotionally. Next, we want him to make us laugh. A man that can consistently bring a smile to your face while making you feel safe in his presence and shows a strong character of integrity is a man that almost any woman would chase after. Women pay close attention to what a man can do for her. It is ingrained in our DNA to look for a man of purpose and achievement. Simply translated to cover all of time, this means that a woman is looking for security and she wants a man that can help to harvest just that. Women pay more attention to the “soft skills” of a man than anything, meaning we want emotional maturity. A woman will have casual sex and even fleeting relationship with a man that just creates desire, fun or adventure in her but for any woman who is confident in whom she is and wants long-term commitment she wants a man who is strong in who he is which means that he must be a man of personal integrity and emotional maturity. 


Men are visual creatures, they are naturally drawn toward radiance and beauty, the softness of the feminine, the sensual arousal of the way she walks, talks or moves. Men pay close attention to the physical aspects of the feminine and although each man has his own set of preferences, it is the physical nature of a woman that is the initiator for the man. From there he watches how she engages with other people, what her level of “drama” is and how she behaves overall. Is she flirty with everyone or is she just personable and a joy to be around? Does she present good public manners or is she obnoxious, abusive, “princess mindset,” or unaware? Does she follow her word or is she flighty and not to be trusted? How does she deal with his leadership? Can she surrender to his lead or does she try to control the situation? 


When we get to the bedroom with the sexes, women are looking for emotional connection. A man who pays attention to her needs, that does not rush sex or use her. A man that she can trust with this delicate intimate aspect of her that makes her utterly vulnerable and at his mercy. An emotionally healthy woman wants to feel desired, sexy and safe in her sex. She wants playfulness, adventure, emotion and surrender of herself. For this she knows that she needs a man that can lead her into these depths through revealing that he is a safe masculine. A man wants playfulness, adventure and titillating experiences as well. He wants to know that he can please his mate, that she is enjoying him, and he wants her to be an active participant in the sexual experience. He wants her to tease and taunt him, to show her desire for him. 


Many women innately understand these things. That is why women are more playful on the front side of a relationship. In the courting phase a woman will often “give up the sex” pretty early on, even initiate it and doing daring adventurous acts that will make her lover feel like he found a unicorn in a the forest. She will be communicative, encourage games, sexy talk and texting, will enwrap him in her sensual dance of desire and make his heart and groin crave to never leave her side. She will make sure that he knows that she desires him and that will make him feel that “yes she is the one,” feeling. Then suddenly it all comes to an end, but why?


Over and over again I hear from men that the first 18 months to 3 years of the relationship was perfect. It was almost to good to believe and now here they are with the reality, a woman that is uninterested, denying them sex, no longer playful or adventurous and seeming to be pretty much “dried up” in the idea of depth, connection or intimate affairs. It’s just the same old thing day in and day out. 


Reasons a Woman Stops Being Playful & Sexy:


  1. It was all fake on the front side– she was never that into you to begin with but was looking for safety and security that she thought she could get with you. She was after a lifestyle, comfort, financial status, etc.
  2. Life events took place – It’s important to be very aware of life events in a woman’s world. A woman’s reality is based in emotion and all events and experiences create an emotional impact on her, altering her very nature and ability to maintain a healthy state. Has she had any health challenges, birth of a baby, issues with children or ex’s, work changes or financial stressors. Hormone implication plays a big role in a woman’s outlook to life and ability to be interested in her mate or feel positive about life or future, where is she at in life? 
  3. The courting stopped and/or there is a feeling of being taken for granted – Over 60% of the time when working with a couple I will hear the woman say, “He only wants me for his stress release, a quickie.” No woman will ever emotionally invest in a man that is using her for a stress release or masturbation tool and she certainly has no arousal to this idea if anything it causes her psychological stress and will shut her down as she does not feel loved or cared for.  Next, women must be courted! If she was good enough to court to get into the relationship, then she needs to be good enough to be courted to keep the relationship. Yes, courting is relationship maintenance and without it your woman will lose interest and desire, thus her playfulness. 
  4. Her man stopped being playful and changed – All too often when a man wants to conquer a woman’s heart and sex he is very playful and attentive. He makes sure to provide those “knee popping” kisses and touches that make her heart explode and give her butterflies in her tummy. There is a reason why there is such a thing as “chick flicks” and why they focus on the “soft romantic skills” where the guy is a little naughty, but leads her with connection, care and touch however once he “gets the girl” he often stops working for her and goes to something else, giving his attention to seemingly more important matters and putting his intimate relationship on auto pilot. 
  5. For a woman to be playful and sexy she needs permission from her man – This may be among the biggest of them all and most likely should have been number one on this list here as it contributes to what my lovely clients shared that I started this whole conversation with. If you have shamed her or insinuated that she should be a certain way, that she does not have your approval to look a certain way, wear certain clothes, interact in an upbeat fashion or be her “social self” among many other things, then you have most likely unconsciously created sexual armor for your woman where she is now overly judgmental of herself, actions, attire, etc. and in her uncertainty and “need to please” as women are typically agreeable and wanting to please by their own nature. This in turn will result in her not trusting herself and not being as playful or sexually inclined.


There are many reasons that can bring about the result of a lack of sexual interest, playfulness, adventure or desire for women. These are what I believe are among the top providers of this shift in the feminine nature. 


The impact that these things have on an intimate relationship/marriage to both sexes is that it is breeding ground for emotional armoring and distancing which tears at the bonds of union. We humans start to shut down our communication, self-expression and over all lives based on what events and attitudes we are receiving from our sexual partners and mates. Men and women alike in these situations show a loss of self-esteem when they feel like they cannot be themselves or that there is something wrong with whom they were at the start of the relationship and that this needs to drastically change so that they can keep the relationship. Granted, relationship is an evolution of the self and demands all of us who venture into these waters to expand ourselves and develop our natures, however we must always question the “why” we are changing anything and if it comes to the basis of another feeling insecure because of who we are by their side then we have to ask if this person is right for us long term. Is this a change that we want to make for ourselves and our personal growth or are we doing it to stay safe in a relationship? 


Often people will feel extreme insecurity and unstable in a relationship when certain demands have been put on them to alter their character, demeanor, daily life and more. Recreating themselves to “fit the mold” of another’s ideal typically leads to anxiety, fear, self-hatred and anger. In turn this creates a lack of trust in self, in their mates love and thus in the security of the relationship. Women often find themselves feeling disposable and fearful of the “latest model syndrome” where they are constantly trying to stay youthful and “sexy” but not too sexy. They go for Botox and surgeries, they limit the depth of their desires and conversation with their mates all in attempt to appear “ideal” and keep their man, but they have trouble being authentically playful, joyous and adventurous with him because they cannot soften and surrender to that that they do not trust which in this case is themselves, their mate and the relationship. 


Men sit back and wonder what happened to the radiant queen that they fell head over heels in love with?  They want all that she offered but do not realize that they had a large role to play in her shut down and now avoidance of play. Making a man feel insecure, jealous over any other perceived competition that may arise, or the ghosts of ideas of competition. He starts to not trust his woman in many ways and notices her lack of integrity in anything or emotional stability. Fearing that he cannot “keep the girl” or please her, he starts to feel a pull on his self-esteem, energy and manhood. 


There is good news!

You do not have to join the masses of relationships that end up in these lackluster situations of survival. You can alter your course by becoming aware of the five items listed above here and taking action on the elements that are within your control. Meaning, start dating your mate! Healthy sustainable relationships understand that relationships require rituals, routines and adventure. By creating more of these things you will circumvent 90%+ of the challenges faced for your intimate relationship. 


As Always, 

Stop Existing & Start Living

“Coaching for Grown A*s Believers” 


-Rene” S. (KW)