Woman’s ‘wild sex’ disappointment
Welcome to Relationship Rehab, news.com.au's weekly column solving all your romantic problems, no holds barred. This week, our resident sexologist Isiah McKimmie tackles a couple that used to have wild sex but now don't get intimate, a woman that doesn't know if she's orgasmed and a man who won't forgive his partner for sleeping with someone else when they were on a break.
WE USED TO HAVE WILD SEX - NOW HE DOESN'T WANT TO GET INTIMATE
QUESTION: Me and my partner have been together for several years now and when we first met we were absolutely wild in the bedroom. Since then, his drive has dramatically declined. My sex drive is higher than ever, and we've gone from having sex three times a week to once every couple of months. I've tried talking to him and he says his drive isn't the same anymore from stress. It's just starting to become awkward to initiate sex even though the remainder of the relationship is flourishing. I need help!
ANSWER: I'm always wary when people share a version of 'everything else is great - except this'. It's a phrase I hear a lot, but to be honest, one that I rarely find to be true.
That isn't to say you don't have a great relationship or that there isn't a lot of good in it. But often, what I find for couples who approach me struggling with mismatched desire levels is that they also struggle to talk about the issue and understand each other's point of view. The communication challenge is often present in other areas of their relationship too.
The issue of sex is just the most obvious - and emotionally charged.
Your comment 'I've tried talking to him' tells me that it probably wasn't a very successful conversation. Ideally, you would both come out of that conversation feeling understood, having some acceptance of each other's needs and some clear steps for what you can both do to move forward.
It's common for couples to have different desire levels to each other. It's also common for one or both partner's sexual desire to decline as a relationship proceeds.
It's understandable that high stress is impacting his sexual desire.
It's also understandable that you might feel frustrated, lonely and awkward initiating. It usually becomes harder to initiate when sexual frequency is rare - you've probably been turned down a lot or feel like you're the only one who ever initiates.
Here are some steps I suggest you take together:
Share with your partner the emotions you experience around this issue, or when you're turned down.
Share what the needs underneath your desire for sex and intimacy are - and your longings for the relationship. Usually, there is a longing to feel loved, wanted and connected to your partner.
Be willing to hear his emotions and perspective too - not the reasons why he doesn't want to have sex, but what he feels about it, what his needs and are what his longings are for the relationship. You might find that you have some of the same hopes in terms of wanting to feel connected to and loved by each other.
Talk about practical steps that you can take together so that you both feel loved, connected and accepted.
Practical steps could be:
Your partner looking at ways to reduce his stress (or better cope with it).
Addressing what other factors may be blocking his desire.
Making sure you have time in your relationship to connect and have fun together - just the two of you.
Setting aside 'bedroom date' time where you can be physically intimate with each other
Coming to agreements on how you handle things when he isn't in the mood for sex, like him sharing something that he can offer as a way to connect.
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HELP! I DON'T KNOW IF I'VE ORGASMED
QUESTION: I'm 28 and I don't think I've ever had an orgasm. My friends say 'I would know if I've had one', so, haven't I? How do I go about having one?
ANSWER: Firstly, you're certainly not alone in not being sure if you've had an orgasm - or maybe even not having had one.
30 per cent of women struggle to reach orgasm on a regular basis and an estimated 10 per cent have never had one.
The commonly used statement 'you'll know if you've had one' just isn't true in my experience. It promotes the idea that orgasms will always be somewhat mind-blowing, which they're not.
Some orgasms are simply small and kind of uneventful.
As a start, let go of your expectations about what orgasm 'should' feel like. Focus instead on just enjoying yourself. Make sure you're spending plenty of time in foreplay (at least 20 minutes). If you're still struggling you might find this free guide on orgasms helpful.
MY PARTNER WON'T MOVE PAST ME SLEEPING WITH SOMEONE ELSE
QUESTION: I want some advice for me and my partner. We got together five years ago and two years ago we broke up. I didn't know at the time, but I was pregnant with our son. During the time we had apart, I slept with someone else. We got back together for the baby and because we still loved each other. But now he says he can't get past me sleeping with someone else and keeps bringing it up. I don't know what to do. I would love to keep us as a family.
ANSWER: There are usually two reasons we can't let something go. Either, we haven't got to the bottom of what's really going on for us around it yet. Or, there's some kind of benefit to us holding onto it.
I don't know which one of these it is for your partner, but I suggest getting support to talk through it. Even though you'd broken up, it's understandable that this could still feel like a betrayal and emotional wound for him. This doesn't mean that you did something wrong, but you'll still need to process it together.
If, after talking through it and working on it, it seems that he wants to continue to 'punish' you or keeps holding it over your head, that isn't a healthy dynamic. It may be a way for him to hold 'power' or end the relationship.
Isiah McKimmie is a Couples Therapist, Sex Therapist and Sexologist. For more expert advice follow her on Instagram.
If you have a question for Isiah, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Originally published as Woman's 'wild sex' disappointment