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Do you have a lower sex drive than your partner?

A common concern among couples is that one partner desires more sex than the other. That may be more frequent sex, more "adventurous" sex, longer sexual encounters... either way, one person feels they are not getting all they need, and the other person feels badgered. It's normal to have a different sex drive than your partner (though it is nice when they match up). For some people sex is like eating or breathing -- a necessary human function that keeps everything running the way it should. For some people, sex is a primary mode of giving and receiving affection, connecting, expressing desire, and relating to others as a human being in this world. For others, sex feels more optional or even aversive, depending on individual preferences, learning, and past experience. What to do if you find yourself on the lower end of desire compared to your partner? Here are three questions to ask yourself: 1. Why don't I want sex? Many people have uncomfortable feelings associated with sex that makes it not so fun. Do you feel embarrassed, anxious, or ashamed about some aspect of yourself or your sexual functioning? Do you feel angry or annoyed or resentful toward your partner for something they have or haven't done? Do you feel awkwardness or discomfort or pain with sex? Identifying the feelings that come up when you don't want sex can be a way to get a better understanding of yourself and what you may need in order to make sex more pleasurable or inviting. And of course, sometimes you just aren't in the mood for sex, for no reason, and that's okay. 2. Is there anything I need to talk to my partner about? If you found yourself carrying some negative feelings toward your sweetie, maybe it's time to talk about it. My clients have told me that anything from not doing a fair share of the housework to not knowing how they like to be kissed can really dampen sexual desire toward a partner. If something is bugging you, speak up. Similarly, it can help to let your partner in on personal insecurities, if those are getting in the way. Anything from "I don't know how you like oral sex" to "I'm worried I won't get hard enough (or wet enough)" can open up a conversation and clue your partner in to what you're struggling with, so they can help. 3. Am I absolutely opposed to having sex right now, or would I be willing to "start from neutral?" Sometimes we feel like we need to be turned on already in order to start having sex. Not so! If you aren't opposed to it at the time your partner initiates, see if you might be willing to go along for the ride. It might be a good opportunity to ask for things that really turn you on. Many people find that they get turned on during the experience and find it pleasurable even though they weren't in the mood to begin with. Every relationship has some give and take. While I never advocate having sex when you really don't want to, I do think that participating in sex when your partner wants it (and you feel neutral) can be a nice way of coping with differences in sexual desire and decreasing potential conflict in the relationship. Have fun out there, and enjoy each other.

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