The first thing you need to know is that you are not alone. According to Michelle Weiner-Davis, author of The Sex-Starved Marriage, one in every three couples suffers from sex drive differences. She, of course, is writing about straight married couples, but therapists that I know assure me that this is the number one issue that couples come into counseling for: whether lesbian, gay or straight.
Yet, despite it’s prevalence, it seems we have very few tools to deal with this issue. Some people have low sex drives. Others have high sex drives. You may be very happy to have sex one or two times a year. Your partner might want it every day. You might feel like you’re the one to always initiate sex and most times your advances are turned down. You feel rejected, unloved, unattractive and insecure. How can you talk about this range of emotions with your partner, when she just “doesn’t get it?”
Likewise, if you are the one who has a lower sex drive, you don’t understand what the big fuss is. You show her you love her everyday by cuddling, telling her you love her and doing little things for her around the house. Sex just isn’t that important to you. You express your closeness, intimacy and love in a different way.
Having a low or high sex drive is not the issue. How it affects your relationship is. If one of you loves to go to the movies and the other doesn’t, no big deal. She can go alone, or find a friend to go with. Sex, however, is quite a different matter. Sure you can masturbate. And you should. Masturbation can solve your need for orgasm, but it doesn’t fulfill that part of you that longs to be close to your partner, experience passion with another person and feel sexy and desired.
Why is this an Issue?I hear time and time again from lesbians, after they break up, that lack of sex was an issue. They loved their partner deeply, but just didn’t want to live a sexless life. Others are just frustrated because their partners expect them to be monogamous, yet, aren’t having sex with them. Some step out and have affairs. Dealing with different sex drives is not something that will just go away if you ignore it. This article will help you explore some solutions for getting your relationship back.
What Can You Do: If You’re The One with a Low Sexual DriveFirst and foremost, find a way to talk about the issue with your partner. Communication and understanding are key to solving this problem. Do you understand why you have a low sex drive? Are you taking medications that affect your libido? Are you depressed or do you have a poor body image? Were you the victim of sexual abuse and does that affect your ability to be intimate?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, they are all valid reasons for having a low sex drive. But they are also issues that can be addressed with a professional--a therapist, your doctor. It’s your life. Take control of it!
Recognize Your PowerThe person in the relationship with a low sex drive is often the one who controls how often the couple will have sex. Your partner initiates, you turn her down, no sex happens. Isn’t a relationship supposed to be 50/50, sharing and taking care of one another? In an ideal world, I guess. But the reality is, nothing in a relationship is equal. If one of you makes more money than the other, there can be a power imbalance. In the case of sex, it’s the one with less who usually has to power. She asks, you turn her down. You might not even care, or want to change. That too gives you power. But if your lack of sex drive is causing problems in your relationship, you need to make some changes too. Here are some ideas to try.
Have SexYou may not feel like having sex. You’re not in the mood, you’re tired and you just want to sit on the couch eat ice cream and watch American Idol. But your lover is giving you that look, she’s rubbing your feet and her hands are starting to move up your body….what do you do? Yes, you have a right to say no. No one should be made to do something they don’t want to, but why not say “yes” for a change? The way human sexual response works is that many people may not start out “in the mood,” but once they get going, their sexual energy rises and they end up getting aroused and enjoying sex. Why not see if that works for you?
From time to time it is okay to have sex with your partner just to do so. Even if your needs are not satisfied, it is okay to do something for her and for her only from time to time. Pretend it’s her birthday and this is the one gift she really wants.
Take Charge of Your LimitationsDo you only want sex on weekends, while on vacation or after you’ve had a long bath? If you know that’s what you need to get in the right frame of mind for sex, then do those things. And then invite your partner to join you for love-making.
Make Yourself SexyWhen couples first get together, they usually have great sex, and then gradually it slows down. Aside from the hormones that were racing through your body, there were probably some things you did to make yourself sexy for your partner. Did you dress in sexy outfits, go out dancing or make sensuous meals and feed each other? Think back to a time when you did feel sexy and sexual and see if you can bring some of that back into your life. Likewise, have you gained weight, let your hair go or stopped working out now that you’re “settled?” If you don’t feel good about yourself, you’re not going to feel good about someone else getting intimate with you. Head back to the gym, buy a new outfit or get a sexy new haircut. Really, these things will help your sex life.
Don’t Just Say NoIf you really don’t feel like having sex, instead of saying “No, Honey, not tonight. I’m tired.” Instead give her another option. How about on Saturday after your softball game? Or if you give me a back rub, then I’ll get in the mood.
Page 2: For the Partner with a Higher Sex Drive