Sex and Intimacy
What a difficult topic, isn't it? When we don't feel like we're matching up with our partner's sexual drive and needs, it can feel like an insurmountable obstacle.
I often see a tough cycle start to form, that ends up feeding on itself in a negative pattern. One partner, feeling deprived of physical and emotional connection, starts to get frustrated and a little demanding - "Why don't we ever have sex? You're never in the mood. I don't even feel like you want me anymore." The other partner, who already doesn't feel turned on, sinks a little lower, and defends back, "I have so much on my plate! You don't see how much I do!" Now the choice is between forcing themselves into having sex (not a great turn on!), or to continue to avoid the topic and stay distant from their partner.
I seem to hear the following things from one partner over and over ...
"I can't relax until everything on the list is done"
"He/she turns and wants sex at the end of the day, and I'm exhausted"
"I'm touched all day by the kids, the last thing I want in a free moment is to be touched again"
"I just can't flip a switch and get turned on the way he/she can"
Working with sex and intimacy is a three-prong approach.
1) Is your emotional bond secure? Often one partner uses sex to feel more connected to their partner. But the other needs emotional security to want to have sex. We will work on how to strengthen the emotional bond so that you are each getting what you need to know you are special and prioritized to your partner. Being in a stand-off will get you nowhere. Emotional security also comes with help. We know statistically that if chores are handled more equally, the couple has more sex **. That being said, I hear more and more women absolutely governed by the To-Do List as if ironing
2) Is the sex good? If one partner refuses to use lubrication, vibrators, or has a shame trigger when the other doesn't have an orgasm, the sex is not working for both of you. We don't talk about sex much in our culture. We don't talk about sex with our partners in detail. Do you really know what turns the other on? Do you know that he longs for you to touch him lightly? Or that she hates when you go straight for her boobs before touching the rest of her? Is it ok to talk about fantasy and what would make you each feel the most excited? What are your values around sex, and what boundaries are important to you?
3) Is your desire online? There's a reason I'm writing YOUR desire. Yes, sex is something we share with our partner. And certainly, it can be heightened and made much more exciting with our partner. But I think many people, especially women, aren't taught to cultivate what turns them on. Think of a gas oven. If the pilot light is on, we can turn on the burners pretty easily. If the pilot light goes out, it takes forever to figure out how to get it lit again, and by that point you might as well give up and microwave the damn burrito.