What to Do When Your Partner Wants “It” and You Don’t

Posted by on Feb 29, 2016 in Couples Counseling | Comments Off on What to Do When Your Partner Wants “It” and You Don’t

Gaps in Sexual Desire, Part 2: Tips for the Partner with Lower Desire

Sex is a normal part of intimate relationships. Gaps in sexual desire can present real problems if they are unaddressed. A partner more interested in sex often expends a great deal of energy attempting to get their less interested partner “in the mood.” Unfortunately, this often leads to avoidance on the part of the lower desire person, as he or she feels pressured and more resistant to sexual conversation and situations altogether.

To make any headway, it takes both partners, working together, to improve the situation.

The following 9 tips may help a lower interest partner find ways to be more proactive:

1. Make having a satisfying sexual experience a bigger priority.

Not taking care of this part of your life cheats you and your partner. The truth is, your partner has a right to a satisfying sexual relationship unless there is a clear, mutual agreement to not make sex part of your relationship. This is likely not the case for you, given the fact that you are reading a post titled “What to Do When your Partner Wants “It” and You Don’t.” 

Your high interest partner is probably struggling a great deal with feeling hurt and rejected. So, it is important to commit to finding ways to prioritize a better sex life.

Think back to a time when you were more interested in sex… did you enjoy it? The odds are, at some point, you enjoyed being sensual and physically intimate.

While it isn’t a good idea to focus on a better sex life strictly for your partner (as this will only lead to resentment), do decide to do this for yourself too. For your own sake, try some things and actively seek satisfaction in this area before resigning yourself to a passionless relationship or a life devoid of sexual pleasure.

2. Rule out physiological problems.

See your doctor to determine whether physiological problems are a factor. There are a number of physiological issues that may be causing low desire. Some of these may include:

  • medical conditions or disease
  • hormone disruption
  • side effects from medication

If you are managing a physiological issue, investigate treatment options for improved sexual performance. If your condition cannot be treated, it is still good to know what’s going on. From there, you and your partner can determine how to normalize and manage the situation.

3. Let your partner know you still find him or her attractive.

Though you may have valid reasons for your disinterest in sex, it doesn’t change the fact that your partner may feel hurt and rejected because of it. It’s vital that you let your partner know that you still find him or her attractive. One of the best ways to do this is to flirt. Once upon a time you and your partner probably sent each other seductive smiles, paid each other compliments, or grabbed each other’s attention with suggestive body language. Those little things communicate interest. Do them again.

It may be that, as the low interest partner, you are afraid to do these kinds of things because they may lead to your partner’s attempt to have sex. That’s legitimate. Keep in mind it’s okay to say no, but do try to offer your partner an alternative, such as setting aside a period of time later for sex or some other sexual activity meant primarily for your partner’s satisfaction.

4. Don’t wait for desire to flood you before you take action.

Many people believe that sex isn’t going to happen without strong desire. The truth is, you don’t necessarily need to feel turned on to have a satisfying sexual experience. People with lower desire often say that they were not into it when sex was first initiated, but once they got into it, they enjoyed it. So, push yourself a bit to initiate sex or accept your partner’s advances, even if you don’t immediately feel like it, and see if you eventually get in the mood.

Additionally, you may have a harder time recognizing your sexual urges than your high desire partner. It’s as if your desire is a ripple, slowly growing when you catch a whiff of your partner’s scent or a fleeting sexual thought takes hold in your mind. On the other side, your partner experiences desire as a fast moving tidal wave. It’s important to learn to pay attention your “sexual ripples” and take action when you feel them.

5. Consider the sexual exceptions.

Think back on the times you felt more interested in sex and why that occurred. Was there more foreplay? Was there more variety? What were your life circumstances? The idea is to try and replicate as many of those conditions as you can. Some of those conditions may no longer be possible, but basically, the goal is to find creative ways to do what worked back when sex was better.

6. Try new things.

Sex can become boring when you do the same things again and again. Move outside of your comfort zone, try things you haven’t tried before to see if you find them enjoyable. Explore and experiment until you find what works for you.

7. Let your partner know what you like.

This is a big one. Your partner needs specific feedback. As you’re learning more about what works for you, provide your partner with clear information about what you like and don’t like. Being vague, dropping hints, or hoping your partner reads your mind is not a very reliable way to communicate what works and what doesn’t.

For instance, say, “I especially like it when we spend a lot of time kissing,” rather than, “I really like foreplay.” Your partner gets much more specific, clear information from the former statement. If you don’t have the language to describe what you like, a hands on demonstration may serve you both best.

8. Work on the personal issues getting in your way.

It’s not unusual for people to stop being interested in sex when they stop feeling good about themselves. Common personal problems that might dampen your sex drive are low self-esteem, negative beliefs and attitudes about sex, and negative body image issues. When those types of things are at play, you may avoid sex or find it hard to relax and enjoy yourself.

Also, if you have negative feelings toward your partner, it’s very  important to take the initiative to deal with your relationship issues right away to prevent more damage to your connection.

9. Seek professional help.

If you are having trouble or your attempts to work it out are not working, get help.

Things are not likely to get better on their own and you could do a lot of damage if you continue on this way. Once things reach a certain point, it’s hard to heal without professional guidance. Reach out to a professional soon.

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