Can we have great sex with someone and not have a good relationship? The answer is sometimes we can, but mostly we can’t. Good sex does mean that the connection and intimacy we have with our mate does translate into more intimacy. However, it’s not the whole story. Sexual relationships often hinge on whether couples make time for sex, or whether they can still be romantic. John Gottman an emeritus professor of psychology at the University of Washington and the author of The Seven Principles of a Happy Marriage and The Science of Trust: Emotional Attachment of Couples maintains that “What’s been described as low libido in women is the fact that their men stopped courting them.” Let’s look more at other factors that cause “low libido” in Part 2 of examining the recent iVillage national survey with women on what they really think about behind the bedroom’s closed doors. (Read Part 1: Just How Important is Sex, Really? here.)
Forty percent say that raising children lessons their desire. Children take a lot of the spontaneity out of our sex lives. It’s a challenge to be able to find the time to be together with needy babies all around.
1. Sex and exhaustion are not a good mix. Men don’t always understand what it’s like to be a stay-at-home Mom. Especially within the first three years of a child’s life, the constancy of care is so exhausting. The ability of a spouse to understand the effect of long term child care will affect the return of their sex life. Empathy and compassion are ways of connecting and for women that is the necessary ingredient for sexual desire.
2. When there is a loss of desire on the part of one spouse, try talking about it. Listen to complaints, make agreements, and strengthen your friendship and partnership. The term inter-dependency is about working well as a team. Good teams play well together.
Ask these two questions of each other…
3. What are three things you can do to make your relationship and sex life improve?
4. What fantasies can you talk about that would make your sex life sexy?
Thirty-four percent say their libido is limp because of arguments. Conflict resolution has as its main goal to increase intimacy through listening, acknowledging and validating the opinions and feelings of our partner. It’s a big turn on. Nothing kills desire more than arguments that are not solved or if they are too frequent. Anger and desire cancel each other out.
1. Anger management and conflict resolution skills are the most important skill in a successful relationship. Conflict is the killer in relationships and sex lives. Conflict kills desire, trust and friendship if it is not resolved in a good way.
2. Basic resolution skills involve: Cooling off first (no one is rational when they are mad). Then make sure you acknowledge and validate the other person before you make your point (acknowledgement does not mean agreement). Then define the problem. Ask what you can do to make it better and then try to do those things that you talk about.
3. Compassion, understanding, respect and empathy create a space for sexual intimacy to happen. Kindness is always foreplay.
4. Remember when you were first dating and you wanted to have sex? What did you do then? You dressed up, went out to a nice dinner, said sweet things, were funny and you hung on every word. Why do we forget this?
Thirty-one percent say they aren’t interested in sex because of a loss of physical attraction. The loss of physical attraction is based on not being our best selves at home. The challenge is to be the kind of person that someone would want to have sex with. Relationships require that we become better people to be in them.
1. When sexual attraction diminishes or goes away entirely it can be the result of health issues, drugs and alcohol, personnel issues or the loss of respect. The loss of respect is the chief cause of the loss of sexual desire.
2. If your partner has lost respect for you, what can you do about it? Make sure you have taken responsibility for whatever you may have done to cause it. Do whatever you need to do to make it better and let your partner know what your plan is.
3. If your mate is not interested in sex, then don’t push for it. Do all the things that would make your mate feel you are tuned into them. Make sure you acknowledge what they are feeling.
4. One of the most difficult aspects of relationship intimacy is the fear of being vulnerable. Men are told early on to not show emotions, don’t cry, don’t show weakness. Emotions are normal and no one is weak for having them. Don’t be a victim, but for sure don’t be the perp. You have nothing to lose by telling the whole truth and nothing creates respect more than someone who is willing to open it all up.