Steps to resolve sexual desire differences
Sep 12, 2012, 8:28 a.m.
Men Women Relationship. It's tough as we get older. It's usually the man who feels a need for sex on a regular basis, while many senior women are "over" the desire for men. Researchers find that about two-thirds of the time it's the man who wants sex. Only in about one in three marriages does the women take the leading role as the sexual instigator.
Here's what usually happens.
Women who have a low sex drive might look a their man and say, "Well, that's all that men are interested in. I'm not interested and I hope he keeps his hands to himself."
On the other side, a man who has a low sex drive married to a woman who wants sex regularly might think to himself, "Well, she's a nympho. I don't know what to do about her. Give me a break."
Somewhere in between there has to be an answer.
Let's take a look at two real-world steps we can all take to minimize the differences in sexual desire and the problems they pose as we age.
If you are the instigator, take some serious time out to think about and decide what you really want. Do you want sexual release or is your deep-down feeling more about being close, intimate and loving with your partner.
Either way, even after decades of marriage you may be able to break through to a new level and communicate your most intimate wishes to your partner. If it's sex that you want, it's time to communicate your feelings without judging or placing expectations on your spouse. Just explain how you feel and what would fulfill you. If it's intimacy and cuddling you really want, now's the time to explain those needs and wishes.
Perhaps you can remember the "infatuation" stage of your relationship many years ago -- those weeks and months when you were hopelessly in love and could think of no other than your partner. You might recall having spent countless hours talking with one another and offering up all kinds of very personal self-disclosure. Telling your partner about you. Listening as he or she reciprocated.
There is nothing like open, honest self-disclosure to build a strong feeling of mutual respect and love. You can revisit that wonderful place as you talk about your apparent sexual incompatibilities if you do it with honesty and without judgment of your partner.
As you talk about your issues, agree to set a date to have sex -- a day that you each agree you'll have a sexual encounter. Mark it on the calendar. If one party prefers a once-a-month date and the other party wants a weekly rendezvous, perhaps a twice-monthly calendar makes a good compromise. Just be sure to respect your partner's wishes and compromise instead of holding fast to your "must have" schedule.
Once you've set a schedule, do your best to stick to it, but don't cast it in concrete. Daily events -- perhaps a piece of bad news from a friend or child -- might interfere with your plans and push the encounter out for a day or two. The key is to respect one another's feelings and wishes and to keep some flexibility in your sex calendar.
Perhaps the best advice comes from psychologist Dr. Kenneth Wapnick, Ph.D. "Make everything all about you (meaning your partner)." If all of us treated our partners as the most important person in the world our relationships would be truly transformed. In fact, keeping the idea of "it's all about you" in mind during all of our interactions with other people would change everything on the planet. Sex calendars included.
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