12 May 2005

He's ready for sex, she's ready for bed

We all have different needs and just because you crave sex daily, does not mean your partner is abnormal, because she only wants it once a week.

Desire discrepancy is one of the frequent complaints that I see in my practice. He's ready for sex, and she's ready for bed. We all have different needs and just because you crave sex daily, does not mean your partner is abnormal, because she only wants it once a week.

There are several strategies that you can use to prevent a libido imbalance from eroding your marriage:

Stop blaming each other for your biology: The man whose partner wants less sex than he does needs to understand that she's not abnormal. In the same vein, the woman who resents her partner's push for more sex needs to allow that most men have a biological drive that causes sexual stimuli to register easily.

Redefine sex: If you reframe sex as physical intimacy, rather than penetration to orgasm, you de-emphasize the performance aspect of sex. One of the reasons people reject sexual advances is that they don't want to be put to a test. Take away their performance anxiety and they have less reason to avoid sex.

Invite masturbation into your sex life: If you think masturbation has no place in a steady relationship, think again. Men tell me they don't have to masturbate when they have a flesh and blood sex partner, but I view masturbation as " a valve that equalizes the sexual pressure between the partners".

Adjust your level of mental desire: If you have a higher libido than your partner, cut back on activities (such as fantasising or reading erotic materials or watching pornography ) that stoke your desire. If yours is the lower libido, choose an evening to come to bed already aroused. to get yourself in the mood, you can read and watch erotic material, close your eyes and focus on sexual imagery, dress in sexy clothes, stimulate yourself in the bath or shower, or talk seductively to your partner.

Be willing to start lovemaking from a sexually neutral state. This concept is especially important for women as many, perhaps the majority of women in long term relationships would argue that reasons other than their own sexual hunger motivate them on a consistent basis. If you count yourself among these women, you need to cultivate a willingness to say yes to sex for reasons other than spontaneous interest. You have to be prepared to start from neutral, at least sometimes. You can teach your partner to recognise those times and ease you into a more receptive frame of mind. Tell him what relaxes but also arouses you, like having a shower together or getting a foot massage. - (Dr Elna McIntosh, Health24 sexologist)

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