Q: I have been in a relationship for almost 2 years. My partner and I are in a committed relationship. My problem is that our sex drives are completely different. I love her and love being with her but sometimes it seems like she is more interested in having a friend than a lover. I feel used and alone. I run all her errands, cook, clean, do the laundry, take care of her, and work a full-time job. We made a compromise about 6 months ago and agreed that twice a week was fair. I was okay with that. BUT, it’s not happening. The last time we had sex, we were one day shy of 6 weeks. I hate it. She says her daily stresses make it impossible to think about sex. She comes up with excuses. I try talking to her about it and she gets angry and defensive. She says she’s attracted to me but just can’t get interested in sex. Why is this happening?
Diva Says: Ah, sweet libidinous one – such a tough question. On the one hand, a fulfilling sexual life is crucial to the health of romantic relationships. On the other hand, intimacy is not always and/or solely found between the sheets. So how do you make a compromise without ruining spontenaity? How do you make a partner want you more than she does without causing her to feel obligated (and thus, turning her off even more?) How do you allow your partners lack of sex drive to exist without feeling it has a direct reflection on your sexual attractiveness? How do you make sure that your own sexual needs are fulfilled in the lean times without resenting the lack of involvement from your partner?
All tough questions. First, let’s talk about her. So, there is every chance in the world that the differences in your libido are natural, chemical and not situational. Also, please recognize that sexuality does ebb and flow. Sometimes life gets in the way of our natural sexual appetites and sometimes it will slack off and then pick up again. You may just be in the middle of some lean times.
But, here are a few questions to ask; Is your partner stressed out at work? Is she constantly on the go? Does she feel overwhelmed by daily tasks? Are there things you can do to help pick up the slack so she isn’t tired all the time? From the sounds of your paragraph above, you are doing quite a lot to help – errands, cooking, cleaning, laundry and your own job. That sounds like quite a handfull, so perhaps helping her out more isn’t either realistic or healthy for you. But, might there be ways she can slow down, absent of help from you? Perhaps if you sit down and talk with her, let her know that the level of stress she’s under isn’t just affecting her and ask her if she might consider re-evaluating the way she’s doing things, see if there are more efficient ways to get her tasks done that might leave her with more time to relax and loosen up.
Is your partner not feeling good about her body or her self-image? Is she having esteem problems? Feeling unattractive? One of the main libido-killers is poor self-esteem. If we don’t like our own bodies, it’s easy to shut down the sexual side of ourselves rather than deal with any potential humiliation (self-induced or otherwise) that may come with being naked with our partners. If this is the case, there’s nothing you can truly do to help aside from telling her how beautiful you think she is and/or encouraging her to take the steps she needs to take to feel better about herself, be it a fitness regimen or reading a book on loving yourself the way you are. Tell her you think she’s beautiful every time you think it. And if you don’t think it, start!
Building intimacy is also an important tool to rekindling romance. If you feel distanced from her sexually, start trying to be closer in other ways. What are her hobbies? Do you share common interests? Is she a fan of a certain author? If so, read one of their books and talk to her about it. Does she like a certain actress? If so, rent a couple of movies and bring them home to surprise her. Does she like surprises? Is she an outdoorswoman, but hasn’t taken the time to indulge herself? Wake her up early one lazy saturday morning and take her out for a hike with a surprise picnic at the end. Romance her. Perhaps in the midst of all the growing intimacy, you’ll find that either the sex will magically pick up, or you won’t miss it as much as you thought you did.
Now, as for you and your libido, it may be time to start getting to know yourself a little better. There’s something to be said for some good ol’ self love. No one knows your body better than you do, and no one can push your limits the way that you can. Get kinky with yourself. Buy some toys, find your g-spot, explore anal play, see how many times you can get yourself *right there* and back away without going completely insane. Try tantric sex — get yourself to cum without touching yourself. There’s no end to the fun you can have solo, and perhaps building an active sexual life with yourself will find your sexual needs at least somewhat satiated so the patches between sex with your partner won’t feel so long and dull.
Sexual incompatibility is an issue, yes… but eventually it comes down to priorities. Are the other benefits of your relationship with your partner worth the energy it will take to find a creative solution to meeting your sexual needs, or is an active and passionate sexual relationship enough of a priority for you that it will put a damper on the rest of the relationship and leave you wanting as a whole? Neither decision is the wrong one. You know what you need and you know the pros and cons of both. In either case, I encourage you to focus not on compromising on how many times per week you’ll have sex, but to focus instead on finding a more long-term solution that will not have one of you feeling pressured and the other feeling neglected. It’s a tough challenge, but it can be done if both partners are committed. Good luck!