Every libido is a unique fingerprint woven together by a variety of complex factors: interests, fantasies, beliefs, values, morality, physical body, preferences in activities, settings, sensitivity of touch, frequency and type of activity, and on and ON!
With such a broad spectrum, many folks who believe they, or their partner, might be unhealthy or dysfunctional are just DIFFERENT.
So here are a few reasons why mismatched desire is so challenging:
it hurts to reject and be rejected
it is frustrating to not know what to expect and can build resentment over time
both sides are often shamed for certain reasons: the low libido partner is broken and frigid, while the high libido partner is an insensitive sex addict.
So in most healthy happy couples, the foundation of their cake is connection – how strongly bonded you both feel. However, there are always ebbs and flows and challenges in this!
Issues and solutions for connection:
Seek treatment if displaying Gottman’s “four horse men of relationship apocalypse” – criticism, defensiveness, contempt (looking down on your partner) and stone walling (unresponsive towards, shutting down with, or ignoring your partner)
The 2nd biggest layer, where healthy happy couples spend most of their time in terms of behavior is – cuddles and kisses: hugs, rubs, small massages, kisses, pecks, making out, flirtatiousness, and the like.
some people like kissing and touch, some people don’t – preferences may be rooted in trauma, beliefs, messages, or simply because they just don’t like it :big takeaway here – IT’S ALL OK.
You just need to talk about it and focus on what you DO like. Ask questions, like: Is there anything that could be adjusted that you might like better?
If you can’t have this conversation with gentleness and openness – you may need to find a sex therapist to help.
The 3rd and next to smallest layer would be what a lot of people will call foreplay and what most sex therapists will just call sex or outercourse
anything from goosing and spanking to manual and oral sex and dirty talk
same as above – There are lots of unique preferences here that are ALL OK
The final and SMALLEST layer, where healthy happy couples spend the least amount of intimate behavior, is actual intercourse
many healthy happy couples cannot or do not have this at all (intercourse is often limited to young heterosexual couples)
this layer is where we encounter the biggest number of problems: physical pain, erections, lubrication, and orgasm difficulties
---these issues often make sex traumatic. With each encounter, anxiety and avoidance of all intimacy and sexual activity becomes heightened.
------If you are here, STOP intercourse. Your pain and anxiety are real and need to be addressed. These are all treatable conditions.
So what does the cake with your partner look like?
many couples will find their cake is upside down, or that their intimacy is focused solely on intercourse. Whoops! (too bad we can’t talk about sex more, amirite?)
What do you want it to look like?
We often focus on how we can’t get everything we need (yup, that’s a tough pill to swallow)
Shift the focus on how you can you get (AND GIVE) more of, or enough of, what you (and your partner) need.
Need more help? Have more questions?
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org – I specialize in sex and sexuality, as well as empowering sexual vitality after trauma related to relationships, sex, and birth.