What to Do When Your Partner Wants Sex More Than You Do
on Nov 03, 2023
Are you and your partner experiencing a discrepancy in your desire for sex? Don't worry; you're not alone. Many couples face this issue, and it can be overwhelming. In fact, it's the most common problem for sex therapists. But there's hope! You can work together to build a loving and satisfying sexual relationship. In this article, we'll explore this topic in more detail and provide guidance on how to navigate desire discrepancy.
Understanding Desire Discrepancy
Desire discrepancy, in simple terms, means that you and your partner have different levels of desire for sex. Specifically, your partner may want it more frequently than you do, or perhaps they have a higher sex drive while yours is lower. This difference in sexual desire can often feel like an unsolvable problem, one that might be causing tension and stress in your relationship.
But here's a comforting fact: desire discrepancy is an issue that affects many couples, and it's something that can be addressed and resolved. In fact, it's the number one presenting problem for sex therapists. Regardless of the therapist's specific area of focus, they'll likely tell you that mismatched libidos are a common complaint among the couples they work with.
So, if you find yourselves in this situation, know that you're in good company. Desire discrepancy is a challenge that can be addressed, and it's crucial to do so because feeling emotionally and physically connected is vital for maintaining a healthy, long-term relationship.
Building Empathy and Compassion
The first step in addressing desire discrepancy is to stop blaming and criticizing each other. Your partner isn't selfish or sex-crazed just because they crave sexual contact, and you're not broken or defective because you don't feel the same way. Both of you have valid feelings and needs, and understanding this is essential to move forward.
Instead of viewing your partner as defective, try to understand the emotional pain they might be experiencing due to the difference in desire. It's important to realize that there is usually emotional suffering beneath the surface for both partners when dealing with desire discrepancy. Your task is to dig beneath the conflict and avoidance to uncover why both of you are hurting and identify the deeper needs that may not be met in the relationship.
Once you understand your partner's pain, approach the situation with compassion. Compassion doesn't mean accepting or being complacent about the issue; it's about showing that you care enough to understand your partner's struggle and that you're willing to work together to find a solution.
Embracing Curiosity and Openness
With empathy and compassion established, it's time to start solving the problem. To do this effectively, you must assess all the potential sources contributing to your desire discrepancy. It's unlikely that the issue exists solely because of low sexual desire; our sexual relationships are influenced by various aspects of our lives.
This is where curiosity and openness come into play. Be open to exploring all the different causes of your desire discrepancy. Your conversations should be warm, loving, and compassionate. For example, you can begin the conversation like this:
"I know it's challenging for you not to have regular sexual intimacy in our relationship, and I understand it leaves you feeling worried and alone. I want us to solve this problem together. Can we ask each other some questions to fully understand what's happening here?"
Compare this to less ideal approaches like:
"I'm tired of you pressuring me for sex all the time. You're selfish, and I need you to back off!"
"This isn't right; you used to want sex every week, and now you never want it. What's wrong with you? You need to figure out how to be sexual with me again because I can't keep living like this!"
If you find it challenging to engage in this conversation with warmth and respect, consider seeking the help of a qualified sex therapist who can facilitate this important dialogue.
Exploring All Aspects of Desire Discrepancy
To overcome desire discrepancy, you need to understand all the barriers blocking you from experiencing easy, pleasurable, and loving physical connection. Consider four main areas:
Biological Factors: Assess your overall physical health and any medications you may be taking, as some can have sexual side effects.
Psychological Factors: Reflect on your mental and emotional well-being. Do you or your partner experience depression, anxiety, or high levels of stress? These factors can significantly impact your sexual desire.
Social and Cultural Influences: Think about how societal and cultural expectations shape your attitudes towards sex. What messages did your family pass on about sexuality? Understanding these influences is crucial.
Relational Factors: Examine other problems in your relationship that might contribute to your sexual struggles, both emotionally and sexually. Do you feel safe and emotionally connected with your partner? Are there other sexual issues like pain, difficulty reaching orgasm, or problems with erections or ejaculation?
By thoroughly exploring these aspects, you'll gain a deeper understanding of what's affecting your sexual relationship.
Collaborating for a Satisfying Sexual Relationship
Building a satisfying sexual relationship takes effort from both partners. While there's no three-step solution that can magically resolve desire discrepancy, there are resources that can guide you on this journey:
"Come As You Are" by Emily Nagoski: This book delves into different types of sexual desire, helping you understand how to meet your partner's sexual needs based on their unique desires.
"Rekindling Desire" by Barry & Emily McCarthy: This comprehensive guide offers exercises for couples to overcome desire discrepancies and work together to create their ideal sexual relationship.
"Sex Without Stress" by Jessa Zimmerman: Written by a certified sex therapist, this book provides strategies to break the cycles of avoidance, stress, and disappointment that often keep couples stuck in desire discrepancy. Online courses are also available.
Additionally, you can seek the assistance of a Certified Sex Therapist near you who specializes in helping couples overcome this specific problem.
Remember, you're not alone in struggling with desire discrepancy. Almost all long-term couples encounter this challenge at some point in their relationship. While the struggle can be complex, and there are no quick fixes, with empathy, compassion, curiosity, and collaboration, you can find your way back to each other. It's a journey worth taking to strengthen the emotional and physical connection in your relationship.