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Some of the biggest problems for couples are those that involve mismatched sexual desires. These also can be the most difficult to talk about.
Because it’s such a personal topic, sexual problems often go undiscussed. Unfortunately, when this happens they can grow and create additional problems within the relationship. Chief among the issues that interferes with sexual intimacy is a lack of sexual desire for your partner.
At Guy Stuff we work weekly with couples dealing with sexual problems. Below is a question representing just one type of concern we see. Take a look at Joe’s question and my answer that follows and see if any of what’s said strikes a chord for you.
What To Do When There’s No Sexual Attraction
I have been dating girls for the past 15 years that have been on the thick side. It is my preference and what I'm attracted to. A few years ago I met someone that is thin. I fell in love with her, not her body. Now ready to enter marriage I wonder if I am doing the right thing. I have no sexual desire for my future wife. Can this be overcome?" -Joe M.
Although Joe’s problem is happening at the beginning of his relationship, issues with attraction can occur at any point in a relationship. So, his question regarding how to overcome not feeling sexually attracted to someone he loves isn’t uncommon at all.
Guys can really struggle with how much importance to put on physical attraction when choosing a partner. Even though for us men attraction at first is mainly physical, we cannot ignore the impact the health of the relationship can have on sexual attraction as well. I want to suggest that your sexual desire for her may be less than what you'd like because of more than just her body type.
A common cause of diminished sexual desire is the health of the relationship. I've found that when couples learn how to have a healthy relationship -- communicate effectively, practice loving each other, manage outside stressors, etc. -- the sexual attraction often magically becomes less of an issue.
In my counseling of men, impotence and erectile dysfunction has become more and more of a regular topic. These problems almost always have a psychological component. If you are depressed, or have guilt, worry, stress, and anxiety, these can all contribute to a loss of sexual desire, as well as erectile dysfunction. Sometimes disease, such as diabetes or heart disease, is the contributing factor and psychological factors arise as a result.
If a man experiences loss of erection he will usually worry, often obsessively, that it will happen again. This can produce performance anxiety that leads to chronic problems such as the loss of desire and avoidance of sex.
A man in counseling today told me he didn't think that his impotence had anything to do with his psychological state. Yet he's in a marriage that has deteriorated to the point that he's sleeping in the guest room while his wife figures out if she still wants to be married to him. Not exactly the ingredients for sexual attraction.
To answer your question, yes, I believe your lack of sexual desire can be overcome. You may always be more desirous of a different body type, but be open to the possibility that there are things you can do and change to increase the sexual desire for your future wife.
Tips For Bringing The Sexual Desire Back
Whether you’ve been together for years or are just starting out like Joe and his fiancé, sexual intimacy and satisfaction are a huge part of a healthy and happy marriage. So, if you are struggling with sexual desire for your partner, check out these tips to help begin to get things back on track.
- Start slow and deliberately. If things have cooled off in the bedroom, expecting that you should be able to jump right back into them again can backfire. It can feel awkward and forced. Instead take your time together. Touch, kiss, just hold hands – all without the expectation of sex as the result.
- Focus on your partner. One of the ways to grow sexual intimacy is to grow closer. This means paying attention to your partner, asking them questions, and getting to know them again. One of the things that precedes the loss of sexual desire is growing apart by forgetting to talk and understand each other.
- Look for the opportunities. Everyday there are opportunities to say something nice, do something loving, or touch your partner. Look for those and make the most of them. They don’t have to be grand. Sometimes it’s the smallest efforts that make the most difference.
- Plan dates. Time is at a premium for most of us these days. As a result, it’s very easy to fall into patterns where you barely talk let alone get close physically. So, planning can be key to getting the romance back on track. Even if it’s just a stay-at-home date. You can always get takeout and watch a movie, hangout, or just talk. The main goal is to have time that is reserved for just you and your partner.
- Show appreciation. Although it doesn’t get as much play as oysters, one of the biggest aphrodisiacs out there is appreciation. Telling and showing your appreciation for your partner automatically creates warm feelings.
- Give yourself a break. No relationship is hot and heavy everyday year after year. They all go through ups and downs. If you and your partner are going through a down patch don’t automatically assume it’s over and the love is gone forever. Just take a deep breath, give yourself a break, and read the tips above to help you get things restarted.
Bear in mind that none of these things work if only one partner is invested. It really does take two to tango. The secret here however, is that when one person starts making the effort often the other person responds in-kind. So, only one person needs to take the lead to get things started. Of course, good communication is a key component as well, and when you have both committed to put in the effort things will undoubtedly go better.
And if none of your efforts are working, it may indeed be time to seek the help of a professional counselor. As I mentioned above, problems with sexual desire can sometimes be due to deeper issues within yourself or the relationship. And sometimes we all need some help figuring those things out.
Editor's Note: This post was originally published April 02, 2010 and has been updated with new information for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
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