There is a common misconception about committed relationships that men always want lots of sex and women are less interested.
But what if it’s actually the other way around?
In theory, the main advantage of having a committed relationship is the opportunity to have sex any time you want.
The reality is a little different. Our libido is in constant flux and heavily influenced by external factors like stress and busy schedules but also internal ones like hormones and how good (or bad) we feel about ourselves.
If you’re out of the honeymoon phase and you’re really struggling to have your sexual needs met, a little education on what causes us to desire less sex in committed relationships could be exactly what you need.
1. Hormonal changes
We all remember those heady days at the beginning of a relationship when all you could think about was being naked together. It seemed the smallest thing would drive you and your partner into a sexual frenzy. Then one day, things got a little less urgent. You started spending more time hanging out and doing ‘life’ rather than blowing each other’s minds. You may have even started to ask yourself ‘is this fizzling out?”.
The truth is: this is absolutely normal. Once familiarity and stability kick in the whole spontaneous desire chemistry changes.
It all depends on what you make of it. If being desired is the ultimate form of validation, your partner no longer wanting to have sex with you several times a day can only mean they don’t love you as much. There must be something wrong with you and the relationship, right?
Nothing could be further from the truth. It’s just that you are shifting into the next Stage of Love which is called Attachment. Now your body is much more focused on keeping you together rather than procreating, so things slow down on the sex drive front. Your higher desire for sex is usually a need for physical validation which sometimes can create more pressure for your partner.
2. Performance anxiety
Pornography has created a perception that sex is all about performance. Men have a lot of things to think about when they compare themselves to what they see on the screen. From the size of genitals to the number of positions you try during sex, to whether they can get /sustain an erection, and most importantly, their ability to satisfy their partner. This long list of factors becomes a vicious cycle.
The more they worry about what’s happening in their head, the more disconnected they feel from their bodies (and you of course). This evidently impacts the amount of pleasure they experience in the bedroom and over time, affects their desire for more. Humans are designed to seek pleasure and avoid pain. If what happens in bed causes your partner more distress than good feelings, it will drive them to want to focus on anything else but sexy times.
By all means, try to avoid pressuring your partner to have more sex by expressing your dissatisfaction through negative comments, blaming and complaining even when things could clearly be improved. After all, sex is an opportunity for connection rather than judgment. Remember that intimacy and satisfaction is not dependent on orgasm or penetration and sometimes it’s ok to just cuddle, give each other a massage or simply sleep in each other’s arms. Use positive reinforcement to educate your partner on how to give you more pleasure and create opportunities for creativity and exploration. Sometimes, it may just end up with a little kiss and a cuddle but others you may be surprised about the heat of passion that can happen when all expectations are set aside.
3. Power struggles
We‘re all conditioned to want to meet a long list of expectations – society’s as well as our own – and men are no different. A large part of our identity is determined by our social status and professional success and when there are hiccups in these areas of our life, it tends to damage our belief in ourselves. With the rise of professional women and households in which the female is the more successful partner, couple dynamics have taken a hit. Men often interpret their partner’s success as a failure of their own and this affects their self-esteem to the point that it kills their libido.
Desire is a two-way street so don’t sit around waiting for them to make the move. Flirting and banter, sexting and anticipation and overall being less directive and more open are all great ways of reassuring your partner that your success doesn’t mean you want them less. If they are stressed or not responding well remember it is probably more about them (how they feel inside) than you, so instead of feeling rejected be supportive and reassuring, asking how you can be there for them and help them go thru the difficult times.
It is a biological fact that as women get older our sex drive increases (both due to a rise in testosterone levels but also more confidence and acceptance of ourselves). Instead of putting pressure on your partner to give you the satisfaction you seek, try spending time to discover your own pleasure. Taking responsibility for your sex life is the most empowering aspect of getting older (and wiser).