Mens Sexual Desire in Relationships
What happens when your partner seems to have lost interest in sex
It is often very difficult for men who are married or in long term relationships, to understand what has happened when their partner is no longer interested in sex, or when sex has come to the point that it is perfunctory. Men can feel frustrated, disappointed, resentful, unloved and confused.
A man’s overall satisfaction in his relationship, often goes hand in hand with his sense of sexual satisfaction in that relationship. If genuine, acceptable understanding and compromise in the sexual arena cannot be reached in a relationship where sexual needs greatly differ, then men can be left feeling emotionally and sexually destitute.
A man’s emotions can vary between sadness and despair to anger and resentment. Sadness due to the feeling of loss, because the close and mutually satisfying relationship that he once shared with his partner, no longer exists. Anger and resentment due to him feeling as though he has no control over the situation.
When one person in the relationship pursues the other for sex, the partner is likely to feel pressured and tends to withdraw. This dynamic can be very damaging for the relationship. Sometimes men are at a loss to understand what happened and the anger and resentment that they feel does not help them in improving the situation. Unfortunately due to the impact their attitude and behaviour sometimes has on their partner, a bigger distance is created which is not beneficial when trying to establish or re-establish, a fulfilling and healthy sexual relationship.
Masturbation may provide short term relief but it does not meet people’s emotional, physical and sexual longings. The lack of sexual intimacy with their partner and the on going deprivation that they may feel (or the obligatory sex their partner may engage in) can have an impact on a man’s self esteem and confidence. It can also sometimes create uncertainty and scepticism about the long term success of the relationship. This can be quite distressing and confusing, especially when they love their partner.
Men and women often value different things in a relationship. While emotional intimacy and communication are often core needs that women require in order to feel satisfied in a relationship, for many men it’s regular lovemaking. Often for men, regular sex is affirmation of self worth and of their masculine identity. Without sex, some men find that other relationships are adversely affected, including, family, social and workplace relationships. It can also lead to depressed moods and withdrawal.
Sexuality is complex. Biologically men and women have been programmed differently in order for us to maximise reproduction and hence species survival. For many men, a healthy sexual relationship is imperative in order for them to feel happy and loved. Constant refusal or obligatory sex can leave men feeling rejected and lonely.
There are many things that men can do to help get their sex life back on track. Coercing and blaming your partner, making her feel guilty or forcing her in anyway is not going to provide you with a long term satisfying relationship, sexual or otherwise.
How can you help increase your partner’s interest in sex?
It’s important for the man to understand that this is not ‘her problem’. In order for you to enhance your partner’s interest in engaging in lovemaking, even when her desire is low, means that you have to go the extra mile. If you do not want perfunctory, obligatory sex for the rest of your life, you need to be interested in finding reasons for her to want to have sex with you. For some women, their need to be sexual with their partner is not indicative of the love they feel for him.
Identifying her ‘Desire Enhancers’ (what turns her on) will increase her willingness and her desire to have sex. It’s important that you’re aware of what these are (i.e. romantic gestures, conversation, affection, help around house or with children) and be consistent in providing them. Often women enjoy the closeness and affection that sexual contact provides. If she does not feel connected to you during the day or does not feel that she is appreciated or that you are genuinely interested in meeting her needs, she may not be willing to be close or affectionate with you that evening when you slip into bed.
Pay attention when your partner complains. By listening and being available, you’ll be able to give her more of what she may need which in turn can lead to her feeling appreciative and more interested in engaging in lovemaking. If your partner does not feel loved, secure, supported and appreciated, she will not feel sexual desire toward you.
Women’s sexual desire can diminish when pregnant and taking care of a new baby. This is completely normal due to many emotional and hormonal factors. Patience and understanding in these circumstances is required.
There may be benefit in varying the sexual routine (things can sometimes become a bit boring and predictable in a long term union). Not all women respond to visual stimulation like men do and it generally takes a women longer to get aroused than a man. It’s important that you’re aware of what gets her in the mood and what turns her on. Be interested and try to notice what actions arouse her willingness to engage in sexual contact.
Try more (non-sexual) physical and verbal affection out of the bedroom. Connect during the day. Express to your partner how much you love her, what you love about her, how important she is to you. Give her compliments. Say goodbye to her and greet her with a real kiss and embrace, not just a quick peck.
Communication with your partner may be the key to overcoming discontent with your sexual relationship. It can be a difficult and contentious issue to raise but it is important in order for your relationship or marriage to be fulfilling and satisfying for both of you, and long lasting.
If you would like to explore this issue further, Victoria can be contacted by telephone or email.
Cottesloe Counselling Centre
11 Brixton Street Cottesloe, 6011
For further information call Cottesloe Counselling Centre (08) 9278 6578
Or email us [email protected]