When women are in the sexual driver’s seat.
We are all too familiar with the visual stereotype of a couple in bed together… the husband pleading for some action from his wife, while she complains of a headache – back turned and eyes closed. Rarely, if ever, do we even consider, let alone envision, the woman as the one yearning for some satisfaction.
However, this dynamic is more common than most would assume. According to Dr. Michael Systema (2015), licensed counselor and certified Sex Therapist and Sexual Addictions Specialist, women have a greater sexual desire than their male partners in 20% of relationships. Regardless of who’s trying to do it all for the nooky, “Conflict over sexual desire and frequency is the most common sexual issue causing distress in couples today.”
So, what’s a girl to do when she wants to do it more?
First of all, you need to decide for yourself if what you are feeling and experiencing are truly problematic for you and your relationship. In a conversation I had with my friend, Dr. Holly Miller, OB/GYN at A Woman’s Place in Naples, Florida, she emphasized that, “There is no normal,” in terms of sexual frequency. While most couples with whom she speaks aim to engage in sexual intimacy twice a week, there is no set standard.
Each couple must make this determination for their unique relationship, with the understanding that this expectation may change throughout the various seasons in life.
Furthermore, societal influences, even those from well-meaning friends and family members, may leave women in this situation, convinced that there is something wrong with her and/or her relationship.
Therefore, women who find themselves in this situation are strongly encouraged to pause and reflect. If the discrepancy in sexual desire is, in fact, a cause for concern, Dr. Systema (2015) provided three generalized explanations upon which further exploration can be founded:
- The discrepancy is normal: There is no problem, and “nothing is broken or wrong” with either person; but, there are two different types of desire – assertive and receptive – and the woman may just have an assertive desire.
- The discrepancy is problematic on her end: This occurs if the woman’s high desire negatively influences how she treats her partner (i.e. partner shaming and infidelity).
- The discrepancy is problematic on his end: This scenario will be discussed further, so please read on.
Let’s Talk About Sex, LUXY®
Dr. Miller recommended that, “When there is a discrepancy of interest, no matter which side of the couple it is on, the number one way to solve it is communication. I tell couples to have a heart-to-heart discussion, defining what each person is hoping for in terms of frequency of intimacy.”
This is undoubtedly the most valuable and reasonable advice, given the circumstances; but, have you ever tried having “the talk” with your partner? I imagine the related anxiety and expectations rival that of having “the talk” with your children. It is definitely one of those situations where it is much easier said than done… “Hey honey, what do you want for dinner tonight and why don’t you want me for dessert?”
What makes this conversation so complicated is the sensitive nature of the topic. Sexual intimacy is a sacred exchange between two people, and one under which each partner hopes to feel desired, fulfilled, and successful in making one’s partner feel the same.
But, when these expectations are fractured, a lot of destructive emotions can emerge – shame, rejection, concern, confusion, fear, anxiety – and, if not appropriately dealt with and communicated, relationships can be severely damaged.
Consider a Three-Way – You, Your Partner, and a Licensed Practitioner
If you feel like your efforts to effectively communicate your concerns with your partner continue to fall limp (even after a little liquid courage foreplay) and you are experiencing conversational performance anxiety, then you should seek assistance. Whether you choose to speak with your doctor – most women tend to bare all of their lady business with their OB/GYN’s – or seek the counsel of a licensed mental health practitioner, I am a huge proponent of therapeutic support.
If you find that your attempts to discuss your concerns leads to explosive, defensive reactions, an objective third party can serve as a referee to level the emotional playing field.
If you find your conversations typically hit a roadblock, which results in unresolved feelings and concerns – or that lack of engagement from your partner in this dialogue leaves you feeling further deflated, rejected and isolated – a licensed therapist can relieve any pressure you may feel to direct the conversation or encourage communication.
Who would have guessed that inviting a third person into your relationship would enhance the bond between you and your partner?!?
It Could Be 99 Problems, Not Just “The One”
If you are still reading this piece, it is likely that you or someone you love has experienced this situation. More often than not, when a woman’s partner is not pursuing her sexually and/or is rejecting her sexual advances, she is likely to spiral down a destructive slide of doubts and assumptions centralized around her attractiveness to her partner, her sexual performance, and his faithfulness to her.
While these are all plausible explanations, they are not the only explanations. Contrary to popular belief, men can be more complicated than we give them credit for.
Men are not emotionally daft, and as Dr. Systema (2015) pointed out, their primal, sexual desire can certainly be influenced by the same environmental factors that impact ours, such as: excessive work, stress, lack of sleep or exercise, unhealthy eating habits, and significant lifestyle changes (insert: children, job change/loss, etc.).
Additionally, the common misconception that only women are hormonal basket-cases is factually flaccid… men just prefer to pass the buck on that, and women have no problem owning their harrowing hormones. However, testosterone and other male hormone levels can significantly impact sexual desire. Furthermore, Erectile Dysfunction and other medical conditions can impact performance, which often leads to anxiety and decreased sexual desire.
As with most situations, sifting through the symptoms of a problem and drilling down to the core issue is the most effective means of resolution. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, recruiting outside counsel by way of a medical or mental health professional can be extremely helpful, and oftentimes necessary, to help you and your partner rise to the occasion.
Take Matters Into Your Own Hands
If you want something done right (and in some cases, done at all), you’ve got to do it yourself. While this certainly may not be ideal, it is a viable option for those women who find themselves navigating this difficult terrain, especially if her partner’s sex drive is being impacted by a medical condition or other environmental factor that may take time to process and work through.
In closing, remember that intimacy between two people can be shared and experienced in a multitude of ways. We all crave and deserve that connection and closeness, especially with our romantic partners. For our readers who have resonated with this piece, we hear you, we see you, and we pray that you feel empowered to take control of your situation and make positive progress moving forward. You got this, girl!