What Can You Do if Your Partner Has a Low Sex Drive?

Note: This is the second of a two-part series.

Do you want sex more than your intimate partner does?  Is the lack of sex—or the infrequency of sex—driving  you up a wall, so to speak?  If so, and if especially if she’s female, your partner might believe in her heart of hearts that the only reason you’re so interested in sex is that it is a physical release.  You just got to do it; you’re wired that way.  To some extent, she’s right.  But make sure you help her understand that sex means much more to you than that.

Michelle Weiner Davis in the book The Sex-Starved Marriage (Simon and Schuster), recommends that you explain that when you touch, hold, kiss and caress her, you feel a sense of closeness and connection, and it reminds you of your love for her.  Says Davis: “Although she knows you’re not happy about the lack of sex, she thinks it’s because you’re not having orgasms.  She doesn’t understand how a distant sexual relationship wears on your soul.  She doesn’t quite get what it does to your self-esteem and your sense of manliness.”  She is unaware of the depth of your sadness, despair, resentment, hurt, confusion and loneliness.

Davis advises: “Talk about how much you miss her.  Tell her what her touch really means to you.  Explain the difference between sexual excitement and the emotional connection you feel…. .  Most women are caretakers and they’ll be more likely to want to protect and take care of you if you show your softer side.  When you’re angry, you don’t appear to need protection, love or empathy.  In the face of anger, women feel they need to take care of and protect themselves.  So even if you think you’ve said it all, you probably haven’t.  You have to try again.  Do it with your heart, not your head.”

Here are more suggestions about what else you can do, courtesy of Davis:

  • Express your willingness to approach your sexual relationship differently if it will help in any way.  Ask “Is there something I could do differently to make you feel more turned on or interested in being closer to me physically?”  Don’t judge, don’t criticize.  Just listen.
  • Do what your partner asks.  Do you ever feel that your partner won’t make love until a long list of prerequisites have been met?   Have you tried to meet your partner’s requests or demands in the past but that hasn’t resulted in his/her being more sexual?  Give your mate the benefit of the doubt on this one.  Do what your partner asks, even if you’re not 100% sure it will make a difference.
  • Write a note or a letter, or take some action.  When frustrated partners say, “I’ve tried everything,” what they’re usually saying is “I’ve said everything.”  If your partner hasn’t been listening to your pleas for more sexual closeness, you need to be more creative.  Write a letter, leave a sticky note, e-mail him/her or take some sort of romantic action.
  • Understand the importance of intimacy from your partner’s perspective.  By intimacy, I mean emotional closeness, friendship, consideration and camaraderie.  I mean caring, tenderness and sharing.  I mean communicating on a deep personal level bearing your innermost thoughts and feelings.  I mean spending lots of quality time together.  Remember that intimacy is foreplay.
  • Variety is the spice of life.  Perhaps your sex life has become routine.  Even the most highly sexed person can begin to feel ho-hum about sex if it’s always the same old thing.  If this rings true of your sexual relationship, it might be time for you to spice things up a bit.  Try a new location, rent a hotel room, experiment with new positions, buy new lingerie, rent a sexy video, try a hot bath or candles and a massage.  Cast your inhibitions to the wind.
  • Make love to him/her all day long outside of the bedroom.

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