When couples are struggling with libido differences – many common sense approaches are offered by a variety of “pop psychology” sources that just do more damage in the long run. Here are the top 5 that can damage your relationship and why.
1 – Just do it – Whether it is plans to have sex 30 times in 30 days to jump start your relationship or agreements that the low interest partner will just “agree” to have sex this is the number one approach that damages relationships. Why? Because it approaches sex like a chore and teaches couples to separate their feelings from the act of sex. This typically leads to resentment and exhaustion rather than passion.
2 – Hoop jumping – this is often an agreement on just the high interest partner’s side, but it seems to make since when all the reasons for not having sex have to do with being tired and too much to do. This seems reasonable that if you do the laundry, fix the car, wash the dishes then there will be no more excuses! Still this often leads to angry resentment on the high interest partner when rejection still comes or sex feels like pity. For the high interest partner it can make sex feel like an obligation (un-sexy). Think back – how often early in your relationship did things like going to work in the morning or having dishes in the sink affect your libido? Probably never.
3 – Schedules – Very similar to “Just do it” this arrangement makes sex “time based” rather than feelings based. Inevitably life comes along with sicknesses, child events, or social opportunities that ruin plans. Not to mention – when sex was passionate, was it because it was Friday or because you were longing for your partner?
4 – Spicing it up – The assumption here is that if it isn’t interesting, you have to add some toys, a new location, or porn, or even another partner to the mix to make it “new” again. This often increases expectations, increases insecurities, and increases pressure/self awareness that inhibit sexual behavior. If your sex life is in the doldrums between times of being “pretty good” and you just want to kick start it back, this might work; however, if you’re chronically feeling ignored or pressured for sex and/or one partner is always initiating – this WONT work.
5 – Affairs / Open relationships – for obvious reasons, this one isn’t going to work AND keep your home life going well for long. The risks are high and the outcomes are nearly always messy. Open relationships may work for some who are “wired that way” but even then – they typically only work when the primary relationship is very strong, sexually satisfying and with very good communication to talk through the hard conversations about what each partner needs, the rules and expectations. Even then most open relationships are not having sex any more regularly than the primary relationship. People often quickly find that what is attractive is the sense of feelling chosen and desired, not the actual sexual behavior itself.
So what are the things that work? Inviting your partner to sex therapy can be a start. The reasons that sex drops off in relationship vary from physiological, to emotional to resentments and sexual traumas. Assessment and guidance from a therapist that has clinically focused on sex more than a typical marital therapist is important. Be skeptical if any therapist or book that recommends the previous “solutions” as the easy answer to all your sexual conflicts.
Call today if you or your partner struggles with:
- mismatched libido,
- feeling like your sex life is “a chore”
- feeling your partner is just “giving in” rather than “wanting” sex
- feeling like initiating sex creates anxiety about rejection
- feeling like your partner hyperfocuses on your behavior to initiate sex
- causing arguments before bed or getting drunk before bed to avoid sex
- or you’ve tried some of the above (or all!) without good results
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Kipp Lanning, LIMHP, LPC
1001 S 70th Street
Lincoln, NE 68510
(402) 325-0117 x 1
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