By Daisy Kirby.For the past couple of months, I’ve noticed an interesting increase in one specific topic of discussion, and surprisingly from both husbands and wives. I have no idea why this seems to be coming to such a head now, but it is definitely something that needs to be addressed. The topic at hand is what to do when one spouse’s sex drive has dipped much lower than the others.
I have to say, I am definitely not an expert on this subject, but maybe I can write an article that’s thought provoking enough to get the partners talking about this delicate but seriously important part of their relationship. A sexless marriage is no laughing matter.
So, first things first: don’t take your partners’ lack of interest personally. I know that is much easier said than done, but it is vital to keep anger and resentment out of this area of reconciliation.
Men don’t lose their drive because their women’ looks have changed, and women may actually make the situation worse by asking if he’s not attracted to her anymore. I think it may be safe to say that the same goes for women. After all, none of us look the same as we used to. Definitely, in both situations, it’s internal issues. A true case of ‘it’s not you- it’s me’.
Secondly, take a look at your relationship as a whole. Have your libidos always been out of sync, or is this a new development?
If it’s always been this way, but you’re getting frustrated by a lack of change, then sadly, all you can do is gently talk to your spouse, letting them know you love everything about them, especially the intimacy, and you truly crave more, to the point of needing more. Ask if there’s anything the 2 of you can work on together to get his/her engine revved more often. Don’t push it, though. That will only get their defenses up and be counter-productive. Telling your partner you understand may not make them want to do you like an animal, but telling them they’re in the wrong definitely won’t.
If the change in sexual desire has changed over time, the easy answer is that we all naturally go through different cycles in our lives, and that may be all it is. Somehow, though, I doubt all these people I’ve been asked about lately are all going through a ‘hibernation’ cycle at the same time, so on to the not so easy answers we go.
While you were looking at your relationship as a whole, did you notice if there was a time in your relationship when your sex life was more active? Aside from the very beginning, when newness is a natural sex-booster. If yes, check if any of those conditions from that bunny-happy time are reproducible; then, do them.
Is your partner a heavy smoker, or a diabetic? Both issues can seriously damage sex-drive. For the former, talk to your spouse about why you’d like them to cut back/quit- they may be pleasantly surprised at this different reason for why you want them to take care of themselves. For the latter, all I can think of is get your partner to talk to their doctor to see if there’s anything that can be done to aid in the ‘love’ department. And I’m sure you all remember my first article on how stress also seriously impacts libido, so maybe recommend to your partner that she/he re-read that, and de-stress…ahhh.
For men whose women are less bunny-rabbit & more hibernating bear, try showing physical affection ( hugs, cuddles, your arm on her shoulders) without turning it sexual.
So while your arm is slung casually over her shoulders, don’t make an attempt at her boob. “Friendship is a great aphrodisiac for most women” writes Michele Wiener-Davis, MSW in Divorce Busting. So if you’re getting constantly shut down, try backing off from sexually advancing, for at least a couple of weeks. Yes, I know this sounds incredibly hard, and blatantly counter-productive, and I know you must be feeling uber-frustrated already, without being told to back off some more, but think about it. If she feels constantly pressured, she’ll immediately have negative feelings every time you try now. Maybe your partner just needs time to recharge her sexual batteries. When she notices that you haven’t been ‘pestering’ for sex, it’ll give her room to relax and naturally get her desire back. Then maybe she’ll be coming for you for a change. I’ll tell you a little secret: this strategy worked for my husband 😉 If there’s no trauma that she relates to sex, then this really may all that’s needed. Truly, for a woman, at least, knowing we can cuddle without it turning into sex every time will give the man huge intimacy points, to be rewarded at a later date.
For the woman with a lower libido husband, take a good look at your attitude towards your husband from his point of view. Are you often ‘bitchy’ or nagging, more than you’d like to admit? Again: back off. And again, I know its way easier said than done, when you already have all that tension & frustration pent up, with no ‘proper’ release, but it honestly is worth a good hard try.
Try to catch him doing something right, and then Tell Him About It! I mean, if your husband was often negatively on your case, would you feel like being amorous with him?
So, your spouse has been making you feel like a nympho-maniac, and you’ve been making him/her feel like a celibate monk? Here’s a shocking way to compromise: masturbate. Yes, I said it. That filthy ‘m’ word that should somehow be turned into a 4 letter word, at least according to some people. For those who feel masturbating without their partner present is selfish ( yes, I have personally heard this reasoning as an argument against masturbating from a living, breathing person!), I assure you, in this situation, it’s exactly the opposite, since you are just taking the edge off your bitter sword so you don’t cut their head off next time you get shut down, and it will also enable you to give him/her his/her sex-free space.
If you can tell, on those rare occasions when sex does happen, that your partner is faking interest, accept this as a gift of love, rather than being insulted. It shows your partner really cares about your wants & needs, and is doing what they can to meet them. Say thank you( preferably with breakfast in bed, wink wink).
There are so many reasons why a person, regardless of gender, may have a steady or fluctuating libido. The easiest way to figure out what your partners specific issue(s) may be is to sit down in a safe, comfortable place, and talk with your partner. If you 2 can talk about this part of your relationship at all, please make sure it is at a time when neither of you are angry or defensive. For men, especially those 50+, but really any age after 24-ish, it might be something relatively simple as a loss of testosterone, which his doctor can help him with. For both genders, stress & certain medications can have an adverse affect on libido, and again, the doctor can help with this as well. For non medical roadblocks, I strongly, strongly recommend finding a relationship counselor you both feel comfortable with.
Michele Wiener-Davis recently posted a little blurb on her facebook page that went something like this: Ask your partner for what you need, rather than stating all the things wrong in your relationship. What this means for me and this article is, you should nicely let your partner know that the health of your relationship is important to you, including the bedroom side of it, rather than aiming that pent up frustration in a negative way and just dumping on them how much it all sucks.
I sincerely wish you all the best in your long-term endeavour with your life partner, and may there be nothing but harmonious libidos in your joint future. Till next time,