It is no secret that marriages are difficult. In fact; up to 63% of marriages end in divorce according to a recent statistic. That statistic was before the pandemic and I know that Covid has been very difficult for many couples as well. There are many components of a successful marriage such as communication, intimacy, love and sex. If any one of those components is broken or missing, someone is settling and perhaps harboring resentment. When one partner harbors resentment, the relationship is stunted since intimacy cannot flourish. Without physical intimacy, your relationship may be reduced to one of friendship, co-parenting, convenience, or co-dependence. In my relationship with Kevin, I don’t feel the butterflies that I did when our relationship was new. This isn’t because Kevin is a bad guy, boring or any other negative thing about him. In fact, this means that Kevin and I are a great match.
When a couple is in a committed relationship, the body stops creating those butterflies. Naturally with trust and intimacy the newness wears away. This isn’t a bad thing, can you imagine if you felt the same level of uncertainty and anxiety after years with a partner? This sexual tension and newness is natural with a new relationship and the novelty and whimsy of a new partner is much of the allure of a new relationship. The hookup lifestyle encourages us to hop from one relationship to the next, constantly searching for those elusive feelings of newness. Having your cake and eating it too would be newness and novelty coupled with the intimacy and partnership of a long term relationship.
Females are inherently challenged with maintaining a sex drive toward a long time partner. Our bodies aren’t wired for it, society makes us feel guilty for it and sex that we determine to be repetitive becomes a chore. Sexual desire discrepancy/disparity is the difference between one’s desired frequency of sex and the actual frequency of intercourse in the relationship. It is said that 80% of couples regularly experience situations where one partner wants to have sex and the other doesn’t. Some partners don’t see the discrepancy as a big problem but this mismatch in libido can lead to all sorts of problems such as resentment and infidelity.
When there is a hint of mismatch, the relationship is in a constant state of famine. The partner who is not getting enough is seemingly never satiated because their level of desire is always higher than the baseline desire of the other partner. We all know the reasons why we don’t want to have sex. Headache, stress, lack of connection, these are all very common reasons why sex doesn’t happen and the woman becomes the cliché housewife that doesn’t desire her husband. The male need to be validated as a man is deprived and he goes to seek his fulfillment elsewhere. It is a self fulfilling circle that can damage relationships irreparably.
Breaking this cycle of sexual desire discrepancy is challenging but not impossible. The first step is for both partners to level-set with the current state of the relationship. Sit down face to face with no distractions and each of you must choose a number from 1 to 10 and speak for a few minutes about why that number was selected. For example, that number may be a three because he doesn’t last long enough when we have sex and only seems to be focused on getting off. The number may be four because he never goes down on her and that is something that she needs sexually. Be prepared for there to be a big discrepancy between one partner’s number and the other. One partner isn’t compromising sexually and may have somewhere close to an 8 or 9. The other partner, doing all of the compromising may be close to a 4 or 5. The goal is to bring both partners to a 6 or 7 and meet in the middle. When both partners are getting their sexual needs met and align on sexual frequency and/or certain selection of sexual activities their numbers grow together. For example, they may align on a 6 but over the course of a year, grow in intimacy where they are both at an 8 or 9. It is unrealistic for either partner to say that their level of sexual satisfaction is consistently at a 10. In fact, I would suggest that the number one and ten are off limits. There is no way that either partner is doing everything wrong, just as there is no way that the partner is doing everything right. This isn’t about criticism, this is about constructive evaluation. Now set a calendar reminder to have this same conversation once a week.
Alright so one partner needs to compromise forever for the sake of the other partner, this seems pretty one sided. Not really! This isn’t always about sex, this is typically about sexual attention which ranges anywhere the mild such as a mutual massage or allowing a partner to masturbate while you watch him or her. It is about making time for your partner sexually. If your partner feels that you aren’t making time for him or her sexually, they will feel that tenfold throughout other areas of the relationship. Men often feel a level of performance anxiety in the bedroom and this stunts their ability to perform or their willingness to put themselves in a situation where they may underperform. Women on the other hand may feel like sex is a chore or something that they simply don’t want to be bothered with. Perhaps they feel like sex is repetitive, mundane, boring or perhaps even physically or emotionally uncomfortable. In both scenarios, this is totally normal! Adapt to your partner and figure out what makes them tick. When you have your weekly level-setting conversation, talk about what turned you on. What worked for you. What didn’t work for you. Communication about sex is uncomfortable but cast that aside for a moment and communicate on a deep level about how sex made you feel.
Men want to feel desired and this is something that they aren’t permitted in today’s society. Men want to feel sexy and that isn’t something our society accepts as a male trait, at least not globally like we do for females. Does this mean that men need to dress in panties and lingerie? This is a possibility for some men but to the great extent, feeling sexy equates to feeling like their sexuality is valuable to you. This is the importance between spitting or swallowing their juices, they want to feel like you find them valuable. Spitting symbolizes that their seed is worthless while swallowing symbolizes that it is valuable and not to be cast away. Similarly, chastity symbolizes that you find their penis valuable enough to lock up and treat the key with reverence. Unlocking it periodically shows that you value this object and the object symbolizes your husband’s sexuality at a very literal level.
Women need to feel like they are worth more than an object for sexual satisfaction. We struggle with body image and we constantly strive to be treated as a person and not some sort of ornament to a man’s life. We are often valued differently based upon physical attractiveness which is a hard pill to swallow. This comes in stark contrast to the male needs. Men don’t feel sexualized. Women feel oversexualized. The compliments that your guy may want to hear are probably never complements that you would want to hear and that is just fine. Would you want to hear “nice tits” every day? Probably not. You would rather hear something like “you look really beautiful today”. On the flip side, your guy would probably rather hear “nice dick” than “you look very handsome today”. He hasn’t felt years of sexualization to diminish the importance of overtly physical/sexual compliments. If you think his dick is nice, tell him.
Our bodies are the summation of parts to be fixed, ogled or perhaps even rejected. We are not a set of parts, we are humans. Just as a man cannot change his penis size, we cannot obsess over the flaws that we perceive about our own bodies. Oftentimes, we allow our perceptions of our partner to feed into these insecurities when in fact they are completely happy with the way that we look. If you have someone who you truly believe loves you for who you are, don’t allow yourself to create a false narrative about how they really feel. Negative feelings about your body shouldn’t prevent you from a physically intimate relationship. Holding back with your physical intimacy is both self destructive and relationship destructive.
An additional thing that we as women do to ourselves is birth control. We take an already challenging hormonal cocktail that is our bodies and add some artificial chemicals that are intended to make our body think we are permanently at the early stages of pregnancy thus altering our menstrual patterns. Long term use of birth control causes some very long term consequences to our ability to become aroused and our ability to empathize the needs of our partner. If you are in a long term relationship and you intend to have kids one day, consider having kids sooner. If you are in a relationship and never intend to have kids, consider getting a snip snip for your guy. Birth control while touted as one of the biggest gender equalizers in the history of the human race is not without some pretty ugly side effects. Don’t allow a chemical to get in the way of your sexual happiness. Being off hormonal birth control is amazing and I highly recommend that you consider it.
For both genders, you are more than the body that you inhabit. You are a person with needs, goals and opinions. As a partnership, you can work together to ensure that both sides of the relationship equation have their opinions heard and that the needs and goals of both partners are met. Use your weekly sexual conversation as a sounding board about what was met and what was not met during the preceding week. Put your sexual relationship on a pedestal. If you fail to make it important, it will quickly undermine the emotional side. Give each other time and value each other. Communicate honestly and openly about your needs.