I have been with my partner for over ten years.† Our sexual relationship has been† positive and balanced until this last year when my wifeís sex drive has dropped to almost nothing.† I am afraid to even bring up the topic because it just turns the rest of our relationship sour for days. I know that this is not a fidelity issue, but I donít know what to do. I am not ready to give up my sexual life, and my sexual frustration can make me insensitive and even mean sometimes. What can I do?
Conflicting sex drive issues for both male and female partners may well be one of the most common problems that couples face in long term sexual relationships.† Sexual drive, a Freudian term which is more commonly referred to as libido by sex therapists today, is a complex and changing life energy force. Freud considered this drive as a primary motivator of not only sexual instincts but passion for life in general. Couples who struggle with conflicting sexual drives will often look to professionals to prove what is normal, and recently issues of low libido have been circling the psychiatric manuals as a new form of pathology.
Although the debate continues about whether low libido is something that should be or needs to be treated,† most sex therapists and researchers would agree that the individual sexual drive that people experience is a complex interpretation of biological, psychological and social factors that is as unique as our finger prints. Finding yourself caught in a conflict with someone you love about how much sex, who wants it, and who doesnít, is a deeply challenging and hurtful issue that has no winning side. Neither partner in this dynamic is walking away happy about the conflict they are in, and working through it requires a willingness to open up conversations about your whole relationship, not just the sexual part of it.
I have long believed that our sexual conflicts are mirrors into other unexplored parts of our relationship. While this issue of mismatched sex drives may well be one of† the most long-lived issues in coupled relationships, finding resolution to it can shed light on other issues in the relationship that the partners are unaware of or have been unwilling to look at. Conflicts about family, money, life/work problems often play out in the sex life of couples. Not wanting sex is another way of saying that the relationship doesnít feel safe, and accusations of withholding sex out of spite only confirms this lack of safety.