I am a proponent of having regular sex, whether you actively desire it or not. Maybe I should shift the terminology and say “engage in intimacy” rather than have sex. I believe that the benefits of engaging in regular, and go as far as to say daily doses of pleasurable intimacy serve to bring a couple closer together, promote trust, love and even fidelity.
For the low desire person this might initially sound outrageous, suggesting duty and the endurance of daily unwanted invasive sexual contact in order to keep the other person happy. But it's the complete opposite, and actually serves to turn intimacy into something that you crave and enjoy, rather than dread. Not because you're "hornier" but because the process of engagement and experience is something to enjoy and isn't in any way invasive. So lets take a closer look at what engaging in intimacy actually means, how it can benefit you, and most importantly how to embrace and even anticipate it when you have low, or no desire. I get into the specifics in great detail on my home study course “differences in desire” and help couples with their particular obstacles.
First, what do you get out of daily intimacy? Your relationship will become warmer and more flirtatious, there will be a sense of contentment, closeness, feeling cared for. You will appreciate and love your body, as well as your partner's. The highly sexed partner will be getting the physical attention they crave. Read any research on touch and massage and you will see that touch creates oxytocin, the love hormone. You literally create love for each other on a daily basis through touch. Your capacities for pleasure will go through the roof – that is my personal claim, based on improving and upping your pleasure potential and sensitizing your bodies. Sinking into that space allows resentments, anxieties, depressions and even physical pain to melt away. This is good stuff, I call it the closest thing to a magic relationship elixir.
I still hear you saying, but I don't want it, how can I possibly engage in sex when I don't want it? Here is how it's done. You need to
There are times when your high desire partner is perceived as a pest, and sex is just one more unwanted chore that should be done. Like a stone in your shoe, the subject becomes more irritating and painful the longer you try to ignore it. I believe it is a high desire partner's responsibility to create an environment that is supportive and inviting, that respects your natural desire cycle, and respect your sexuality as an individual. They need to develop a healthy awareness of themselves and develop ways to get their needs for attention and interaction met.
However, with monogamy comes responsibility on both sides I do not mean duty, it's no one's duty to sexually "service” anyone else, but I do mean that if you come to an agreement that sexual, emotional and physical needs are to be met within the relationship and not elsewhere then you're also agreeing to try to meet those needs to a degree. Within reason, and with the understanding that life has cycles of waxing and waning, intensity and backing off. If you have found yourself avoiding your partner and dreading any kind of sexual contact, you need to get your head out of the sand and take a look at what is going on with your self, and your relationship dynamics. The key here is not for anyone to sacrifice their needs but to shift perception and find ways to nurture both your needs and their desires.
The first thing is to be responsible enough to take stock of your own life and see where your biggest deficits lie. What is the biggest drain on your system, what is shutting you down and tuning you out from your own potentially juicy body and from your partner?
-Are you sleep deprived? Overweight and feeling unsexy? I do not need to preach the value of movement, a simple walk or daily bike ride can do wonders for libido and body image. As does massage done by a loving partner or compassionate bodyworker, I advocate sensual massage for women and men as a way to awaken sexuality, develop body awareness, communication and stimulate an otherwise dormant libido.
-Have you been enduring sex, rather than experiencing it as an ecstatic exchange with your partner? Communication and boundaries are crucial for long term attraction and desire. We cannot put full responsibility for pleasure on our partner, it is important to know your body, know your needs and communicate them clearly. Sexual touch should feel incredible, beautiful and ecstatic. If it doesn't, you have to start talking. Sexual communication and exploration is so much fun, and your body's responses are plastic! You can actually develop your erotic responsiveness either through repetition or hypnosis.
-Are you taking work home with you? Check it at the door, find a way to shift your mind and be in the present.
Are you overworked at home.. can you delegate? Get a housecleaner, find a friend to exchange kids with so you get some free time.
-Resentment is a desire killer. Maybe just let the dishes go one night and take a book into the bathtub or get out and do an activity that makes you feel alive. You need to be doing things that are stimulating and enjoyable for you.
-If you're a control freak see: Are you a controller? Sure you are! Recognize and take steps to create an environment where you can feel at ease.
This is touchy but often a partner's way of communicating their needs is precisely the thing that shuts you down. If that is true admit it without blaming, and acknowledge it's something you need to work on. I highly recommend Al Turtle's relationship wisdom for sorting out that ugly dynamic.
Action first. Do not wait for the perfect moment and do not have great expectations. Expectations create disappointment. Schedule time each day with your partner to get naked and spoon with the goal to feel good together and nothing more, and I mean nothing. In the morning and before bed are convenient times, wake a little early and go to bed a little early. Do what it takes to enjoy that time, whether that is appreciating physical aspects of your partner, remembering good times, losing awareness of all else except the sensation of skin on skin. There are some ground rules here, this isn't about unwanted sex or sex when you're not turned on. This is about creating a space where you can relax into your body whilst connecting with your partner. So, spooning, nuzzling, caressing and gentle touching, foregoing "foreplay" or anything that could be construed as invasive to the low desire partner. When you begin to spend time relaxing and touching without sexual expectation you feel safe, the body and mind can relax and respond naturally to the intimate environment. In a no sexual expectation atmosphere both of you are safe to feel aroused or non aroused, sexual energy and arousal does not equal the automatic need for orgasm or ejaculation. It's to be felt, savoured and enjoyed – without creating pressure on the other partner.
One of the most enjoyable activities is this in the morning.. waking up early either for a bathroom break or the sun coming in and snuggling in close. The feeling bodies pressed together, gentle massage or simply holding of genitals and breasts as you slip in and out of sleep. Talk to your partner and make the decision to schedule time to connect, tell them you need time to be with them where you're not expected to “put out” or perform sexually. Just be as you are, nothing more. Doing this regularly without the normal cycle of thoughts and expectations will increase your feelings of love, desire, connection and trust for your partner, as well as fulfill some of their needs for touch and intimacy which are currently being translated as “need for sex.” Sex is often the only time people are touched, and therefor seen as the only way to have those physical needs met. You may find that given the time to relax your arousal is awakened, and and your partner.. given the touch that s/he needs... is a much easier person to be around.
One more thing, be proactive. Both of you find ways to connect physically when possible. Some examples are: during television cuddle rather than sit in different chairs, consciously choose to walk up to your partner and lean against them, taking a deep breath and holding the position of contact. Hold hands. Give or receive some kind of hand, foot, or scalp massage. Do this because it feels nice to touch. Touch with integrity, not because you will feel guilty if you don't. If it does not feel good then find out why (often you will be faking something in order to please a partner, or be worried that this will lead to unwanted activity demands or expectations) and change it so that it does. If that means coming up with rules "Look man, I want to spoon with you on the couch but just spooning and I want to know that even if we snuggle and caress you're not going to beg me to do a strip tease and then gag on your penis for an hour with deep throat later. I just want to be close to you." Make time to connect, the rewards are priceless.
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