What would cause a healthy, all-Canadian male to choose to forgo what society has always portrayed as being an integral part of every man's raison d'etre…sex? While low libido remains the top sexual issue for women, an increasing number of men say that they too prefer cuddling to coitus. Is this lethargic libido the "new normal" or a blip on the chart of couple intimacy trends? Here's how to start tackling the subject in your relationship.
Have a candid conversation
A person's sexual experience is made up of physical, mental and relational parts. If you and your man are concerned about his waning sexual drive, instigate a candid conversation about what is and isn't working for each of you in these areas. Avoid being critical or condescending. Sympathy doesn't stiffen either one's resolve or one's penis, and criticism works like a cold shower. Candour, respect and a collaborative stance will remind you that you're in this together.
Get a checkup
Encourage him to have a thorough physical checkup and to ask about the impact of any medical conditions, prescription medication or other substance use. If he's concerned about aging or being out of shape, his low self-esteem may cause him to cover up and close down. Lack of sleep and physical exhaustion from work or family demands can also diminish desire. Talk freely about expectations that you each have, and try to lighten up a bit. The more relaxed your man is, the more responsive biological hydraulics will ensure that his penis will be.
Good sex depends on a good relationship
We are created to be relational beings and have primal needs to be meaningfully connected to, accepted by and loved by other people. In the relationship covenant we seek those things from one special person in an environment of safety, exclusivity and commitment, for the long term. In addition, expectations of fulfilment, collaboration, attraction and a sense of eroticism are all part of the deal when it comes to mutual sexual pleasuring. But don't sell it short; sex is more than a ticket to ride with intercourse being the ideal journey's end. Good sex, for a lifetime, depends on good relationship, with a life-mate.
Don't take it personally
Find ways of loving your man in nondemanding ways, keeping in mind that relaxation and sensual touch often result in sexual response. Try not to take your partner's diminished drive personally, and don't continually demand reassurance that he still finds you sexy and desirable…that is so unattractive.
Reexamine your expectations. If you are enjoying positive sexual connection that leads to intercourse most of the time and sharing a variety of sexual, emotional and relational pleasuring over all, you're some of the lucky ones.
Topics that require further discussion
Situations that cause low desire that require sober and more purposeful discussion include the presence of an active affair, ongoing use of pornography, his fear of pregnancy or confusion over his sexual orientation.
Be proactive and practical, tackling the situation with optimism, creativity and openness. If you need help, speak with a sex therapist together, in order to negotiate a relationship that is mutual, respectful and part of the shared adventure that enriches your lives.
Dr. Marion Goertz is a registered marriage and family therapist. Visit her website at mariongoertz.com.
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