Lost your appetite for sex? Sometimes you’re not in the mood for sex when he is and vice versa. Whatever your level of desire, follow these simple tips to help sustain lovemaking.
We might wonder at times how often we should be having sex, as if we’re somehow failing if we fall behind a probable national average of 2.5 times a week. But quoting averages is pointless. All that matters is that you should be making love as much, or as little, as you and your partner both want.
What are the myths about sex? That you have to be a new, liberated, sexually insatiable woman? Or conform to the macho ideal that a real man must always be up for it, so to speak? If, on the other hand, you’re living a real human life in a real live human body, matters might be a little bit different. Sometimes you want it; other times, you’re just off.
Fluctuating sexual appetite
Like any other appetite, your sexual needs will wax and wane. Various factors make it perfectly natural to lack sexual desire. The most crucial of these is your feeling toward your partner. If you’re no longer attracted to him or her, or have a relationship that’s fraught with anger or resentment, your sex drive is likely to be low or even non-existent.
Again, if you’re depressed, for example, you’ll probably have little interest in sex. It’s also natural for your sex drive to decrease when you’re physically ill – and to subside a little in later life too.
Inhibitions and your sex drive
If you’ve always had a low sex drive, it’s possible that the way you were raised, or a traumatic experience with sex when you were young – at its most extreme, child abuse – has so inhibited you that you’ve always suppressed that part of your feelings, perhaps even avoiding sex altogether.
A high or low sex drive becomes a problem only when it differs very greatly from your partner’s. This is a difficulty which is likely to be more serious if your own drive is much lower than your partner’s.
Bridging the gap
However, a sex drive discrepancy needn’t mean that one of you is continually frustrated. We’ve compiled some of the most effective ways in which you can sustain a close and loving sexual relationship when intercourse is not as frequent as the more highly sexed partner would wish.
1 Please your partner in other ways
Remember that sex need not involve intercourse. Even if you’re not aroused yourself, you can use manual and oral stimulation to satisfy your partner, or give each other the pleasure of massage and skilful caresses. You can still love and want to pleasure your partner’s body even if you’re not sexually aroused.
2 Use foreplay
Men especially often feel that desire, and an erection, should be spontaneous, that they should not need direct stimulation in order to become aroused. Both sexes, though, need time to relax and begin to feel sensual. Help each other gradually escape from the pressures of the day and start to feel sexual.
3 Use erotica
It doesn’t mean you’re not in love with each other if you need extra input to get you aroused. Try watching erotic films or looking at magazines. If that really is too much, try reading erotic stories to each other. Share your fantasies. Discuss what they might be. Get yourselves thinking sexily.
4 Pleasure yourself sexually
If masturbation by one partner, while being held by the other, suits you both, it can be a good way of achieving both satisfaction and closeness when the ‘low-drive’ partner doesn’t want intercourse. However, it’s not a solution on every occasion.
5 Masturbate – and think of your partner
If you’re the low-drive partner, masturbate alone and, as you do so, try to do it to a fantasy image of your partner – so that you come to associate him or her with your feelings of sexual arousal. Start by using your own favourite fantasy, whatever it might be, and gradually shape it to include an image of your partner as you become more and more aroused. Eventually, make your partner the main stimulus.
6 Show love
Don’t withhold affection from your partner, especially if your own lack of sexual interest has become an issue between you. You might be tempted to avoid bodily contact for fear your partner will interpret a demonstration of affection as a sexual initiative. If you do, though, that’ll make your partner feel emotionally as well as physically rejected.