Our expert says:
The average frequency for sexual activity in a long term relationship is 1ce or 2ce a week, so your experience must be difficult (but rest assured you are not alone either!). It is quite common that in the beginning of relationship women may have a greater interest in sex and possibly be less inhibited in sex than her 'default' position would be. This is due to chemicals in the brain which are released in the beginning of a relationship - amongst other things they result in slightly higher testosterone levels in women which may account for higher sex drive. Unfortunately due to a cruel trick of nature these changes are temporary and after a while (between 6months - 4 years) she returns to a more 'normal level'. What this means, is that sexual desire is rarely felt as a hunger/priority for her and so in order to BE sexual she will have to prioritise it and try to help herself to be more receptive. If she doesn’t know HOW to do this, or doesn’t WANT to (as in times when she is angry/uncomfortable), then she is not likely to be receptive as she may feel ‘used’.
I’m sure you must at times feel ‘used’ and short-changed, so your best bet is to discuss this with her (NOT IN A FIGHT!). When it comes to discussing the differences in sexual needs I always encourage both partners to be willing to understand what it is like for the other partner and then come to some middle ground / a negotiated compromise. In other words she needs to know that your libido is higher - and this is normal - as is it normal that hers is lower. Therefore there is a necessary tension which needs to be addressed. There are things you can do to show her that you understand that she feels that you see her as only being good for sex - the most obvious of which is - tell her more about the other things that you appreciate about her. Also don't go for the sexual organs (i.e. breasts, bottom, vulva) when you hold her in a non-sexual situation (e.g. first thing in bed, when she's washing up or doing something), and don't tell her how sexy she is in a non-sexual situation - tell her more about how attractive/beautiful/gorgeous she is etc rather than 'sexual descriptions'. This is not necessarily a rejection, although you are not alone in feeling this way, it's more about her own de-prioritisation of sex which then means that you are requesting something which she doesn't feel able to give more of.
Many women begin to feel resentful if they feel they HAVE to have sex - and that reduces their sexual interest; she may in fact begin to avoid affection and other intimacy because she's afraid it'll lead to sex. The best way forward is to drop the expectation, and go with the flow more. Talk to her about this so she knows she can relax a bit. She probably knows that you have a higher sex drive than she does, so maybe talk about ways that this can be met when she's not desiring it (a useful way of talking about it is like other sexual appetites - I'm hungry, you're not, would you mind making me a sandwich or should I make myself one?). If it ends up with you 'making yourself one' (i.e. masturbating) more often than not, this also needs to be addressed as she could drive her response a little more to meet some of your needs.
Whatever you do, don’t have an affair if you want the relationship to work – affairs do so much damage and you end up being the one blamed for problems in the marriage later. Tell her how desperate you are and ask for her assistance to solve this problem.
Claire from SASHA (www.sexualhealth.co.za)
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