Did you know that most men are more like 500 degree ovens – reaching maximum boil within a few seconds, while most women are more like crockpots – gradually warming up to maximum heat?
Well, it’s true. In fact, according to a ground-breaking study, conducted by Dr. Edward Laumann, a Chicago University sociology professor, approximately 30% of women have low-to-no sexual desire. Ouch! In addition, women are more prone to seek sex therapy, when there is a discrepancy between sexual desires – i.e. one partner has a high sex drive and the other one a low one. Gender-related sexual desire differences can occur for a variety of reasons, ranging from physical/medical to psychological/personal.
Yet, it is important to understand that low sexual desire is usually not an actual “illness or disorder” – except when it affects the person’s quality of life and/or causes a high level of stress for a lengthy amount of time – then it becomes a diagnosable, but highly treatable condition. Sexual differences in a relationship can, however, lead to one very contentious relationship, especially if both partners do not make an effort to compromise. In addition, determining what signifies low sexual desire can be tricky.
It is important to note that a low sex drive is almost always subjective, meaning that it depends on the person and how he/she feels about sex. In other words, partners, who measure sexual activity by frequency, may mistakenly believe that their partners lack sexual desire, when in reality, that is not the case. The truth is most couples experience a slight decline in sexual desire, the longer they stay together. Remember, a lack of desire is not “transferable.” More specifically, a low sex drive in one partner will not automatically transfer to another partner. Whoa!
Honestly, sexual desire can, and normally does, differ between women and men. Why? Well, mostly because women, in general, are harder to arouse, than men, who tend to couple physical arousal with sexual desire. Women, on the other hand, tend to link sexual desire to emotions and situations. In other words, women base sexual desire on how they feel about themselves, how they feel about their partners, and, lastly, how they feel about the relationship, overall. And, women typically have to be physically aroused (foreplay) to experience a high level of desire.
The good news, however, is there are ways that you can boost your partner’s sex drive, so she’s rearing to go!
Possible Causes of Low Sexual Desire in Couples
Age, health status, past experiences, current situations, emotional distress, and hormonal fluctuations can lead to a low sex drive in one or both partners. Here is a list of common factors that can lead to a low sexual desire:
Sexual Pain – Pain, during sex, can lead to a low sex drive.
Medical Conditions – Medical conditions (i.e. cancer, arthritis, hypertension, diabetes, neurological diseases, high cholesterol, and heart disease) can lead to low sexual desire.
Sexual Dysfunction – Suffering from a sexual dysfunction like premature ejaculation or erectile dysfunction could decrease your partner’s sexual desire. Studies show that women dealing with a partner’s premature ejaculation for example often experience increase in both distress and interpersonal difficulties, and a decrease in sexual desire.
The good news is that stopping premature ejaculation or treating erectile dysfunction is possible and can help restore your partner’s sexual drive.
Prescription Meds – Prescription medications (i.e. anti-seizure medications, anti-anxiety drugs, anti-depressants, HIV drugs, and hair loss treatments) can literally kill a couple’s sexual desire.
Hormonal Changes – Hormonal fluctuations and imbalances (i.e. pregnancy and menopause, and low thyroid and dopamine hormones, and high prolactin) can really mess with a couple’s libido.
Alcohol & Drugs – Let’s be honest, too much of anything can be bad, but too much alcohol and drugs can really dampen your sex drive (no pun intended).
Reproductive Surgery – Mostly all surgeries can take a person out of the “mood” for sex, but reproductive surgeries can really affect one’s self-esteem (i.e. body image), leading to a sharp decline in sexual desire.
Fatigue – Whoa! Caring for children, partners, pets, and/or elderly parents can really drain a person’s strength. Add in a full-time job, social life, and household responsibilities and you get one really tired person – too tired to even think about sex.
Emotional Distress & Mental Illnesses – Poor body image, low self-esteem, life stress, a history of physical and/or sexual abuse, and anxiety/depression can literally wipe out a couple’s libido.
Relationship Problems – Lastly, unresolved conflicts/arguments, poor communication, trust issues, and infidelity can quickly lower one’s sexual desire.
Boosting Your Partner’s Sexual Desire
The good news is that you can boost your partner’s sexual desire, if she seems totally “out of the mood” to have sex. How? Well, keep reading and you will find out!
Four things a man can do to restore his partner’s sexual desire:
Romance Her – Whoever said “romance is dead” should be smothered with flowery prose, soft candles, love-making music, and lots of hugs and kisses! Why? Well, because, romance is definitely not dead. Oh, and guess what? Sexy texts, sweet compliments, small surprises, lunch and break calls, flowers, candlelight dinners, cuddling, foreplay, etc. can really revive a dying sex drive. How? Well, these gestures help you stay connected to your partner AND keep the sexual fires aflame, thus, leading to an increase in desire.
Engage in “Choreplay” – Guess what? According to a survey, published in the Parenting magazine, approximately 15% of women are sexually aroused, when their partners help around the house. Wow! Helping, also informally known as “choreplay,” can help provide your partner with time to relax and energy to do the things she’s wanted to do. So, what does that mean for you? It means more time and energy for you – in the bedroom. See how that works? So, start helping your lady out – i.e. cooking dinner, putting the children down for naps or bed, throwing a load in the washing machine, and washing a few dishes and she will be turned on by your thoughtfulness.
Exercise Together – You can boost your partner’s sexual desire by exercising with her! It’s a healthy, fun way to reconnect with your partner on a physical level. Plus, the exercise will most likely increase both you and your partner’s endurance and strength, improve her body image, brighten both of your moods, and awaken your partner’s libido.
Find Her Sweet Spot! – Another great way to get those sexual feelings pulsating again is to spend more time on foreplay. Yikes! As you probably already know, most women need more than just intercourse, to feel sexually satisfied. Yeah, they need sexual attention and stimulation aka foreplay to really get those juices flowing. So, the best thing you can do to restore her sexual desire is to spend time “pleasuring” her. In other words, focus on your partner’s “sweet spots” before and during sex, because, frankly, the more enjoyable the sex, the more she will be jumping at the chance to have it – with you.
In summary, fluctuations in sexual desire are common in relationships, and while it can be distressing, with a little extra effort (i.e. love, respect, creativity, and consideration), your sex life can rebound to amazing heights – literally.
About the Author
Dr. R.Y. Langham is a professional consultant for the Between Us Clinic. Dr. Langham holds a Master of Science in marriage and family therapy and a Ph.D in family psychology.
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