A Common Complaint, No Reason to Call it Quits
It is a complaint I hear often; she doesn’t want to or he doesn’t want to, and we just don’t seem to be compatible. Being an acupuncture fertility specialist, I talk about sex regularly. Even if the discussion is not about getting knocked up, I am never surprised to hear patients express frustrations about their relationship and sexual activity (or lack thereof). When one person desires sex more frequently than the other, it can quickly lead down the path of relationship resentment. In reality, it shouldn’t have to. I believe mismatched libidos to be an extremely common issue that haunts many couples. Unfortunately, the issue is further complicated by the fact. that many couples also have trouble openly discussing their sexual desires. After all, sexuality is personal, and private, and can be embarrassing.
Let’s be honest, sex can just be awkward to talk about, period. Those particularly in long-term relationships tend to argue frequently or lack clear communication when it comes to sexual dissatisfaction. Once the “newness” and exciting early romps are over, real lifestyle habits (and desires) begin to appear. Suddenly, someone is no longer getting what they need. Whereas the other is left feeling pressured or annoyed.
Put Aside The Ego
Does any of this sound familiar? Well, I am happy to say having a mismatched libido is no reason to call it quits on your relationship. I understand the frustrations and all of the emotions that come with this struggle. However, if both parties can put aside their ego and come together to actively work on their relationship, progress can be made.
But First Communication
First and most important, this will require open and understanding communication between you and your partner. I always recommend coming into these discussions with your guard down. Remember why you chose to be with each other in the very beginning. Never pass judgement. Instead, know this discussion is taking place so that you both can intimately come together again.
Now, talk. Yep, sounds simple but again, sometimes talking about sex between couples can be challenging. Talk about what your desires are, what you fantasize about, and what you are not getting from your relationship. What do you NEED? Is it physical, emotional, or even spiritual? Remember, no judgement and no anger. No matter how challenging and emotional this conversation might get, remember the whole point is to better your intimacy not continue to argue about it. Guards down.
Honesty + Judgement Free
Second, take some time to consume your discussion. Think about what sexual acts you might be ok with, and what you might want to try together. What is also important, is to think about any insecurities or judgements you may be harbouring about yourself. If you find yourself very uncomfortable with any of these discussions, then there might be some more personal work you need to do. Dig deep, where do these insecurities come from? Perhaps values bestowed from a young age, religion, or society judgements? These are all tough questions. It can be difficult to truly look at yourself in the mirror. Be kind to yourself. Perhaps sharing these true insecurities with your partner will unlock some of your intimacy fears. After all, being truly vulnerable with your chosen partner can be pretty sexy. Remember to be open, honest, and judgement free. That includes not judging yourself.
Prioritize Your Relationship
Lastly, make intimacy time a priority. When I say intimacy, I mean being intimate. That doesn’t always have to mean sexual intercourse. If one partner has severe anxiety about sex, then constantly forcing the issue is helping nothing and NO ONE. That means you need to get creative. Giving sensual massages, caressing genitals, or even sensually kissing might be a good starting point for you. Just make sure you and your partner talk about what you may or may not be ok with. Go back to basics and think about what initially turned you on about your partner. What’s important, is to remember this is a marathon, not a sprint. Start slow and remain open to the process. Communication is the most ESSENTIAL aspect of working on this and every relationship challenge.