Many couples get freaked out after years of marriage and all of a sudden they feel sexually incompatible. It’s actually really normal in long-term relationships. Sexual incompatibility can pop up after the birth of a child, during menopause, or it can be medically influenced. Sexual incompatibility is also common among military couples who experience long separations due to deployment.
Libidos can rise and fall. It’s not uncommon for one partner to want sex more frequently than the other, so it may feel like one of you is always the initiator and one of you is more resistant to sexual activity. Libido can be affected by stress, sleep, travel, diet, and medication. Being aware of your natural body rhythm can help spark a conversation with your partner.
Be willing to speak up and talk to your partner about how you’re feeling. There is no need to feel awkward or embarrassed. If couples don’t discuss incompatibility issues, it is far more likely to become a “thing” and cause more issues down the road. It’s vital to get your partner’s side of the story because the story you’re making up in your head is probably not based on fact.
Our own insecurities can cause us to feel undesirable, less sexy or unattractive. We can inadvertently shame our partners when their sexual desire does not align with our own. Instead, if we can learn to focus on deeper levels of communication and building trust, we can formulate solutions that meet both partner’s needs.
So what can be done when you feel like your sexual energy is out of sync?
Share your feelings. As much as we might wish it to be true, our partners are not mind readers. We didn’t come with a manual to tell them how to navigate our emotions, libido or thoughts. We have to be our own best advocate.
If you’ve fallen into a routine of having sex they same routine way and it’s lost some of the appeal, speak up. Initiate a conversation about exploring something different or new. If things don’t physically feel pleasurable, share that information with your partner, they can’t fix something they don’t know is broken. If you feel disconnected, spend time outside of the bedroom recreating that emotional bond.
Name your stressors. Are the kids keeping you up at night? Is your boss riding your ass at work? Did you experience a death in the family? Are you experiencing post-partum body image issues? No matter what it is, speak out and create a strategy for getting through it together. Many times when we say things out loud it diminishes the power it was holding over us. It allows us to re-frame the situation into a more positive light. I also gives our partner the opportunity to hold space for us and to support us through the issue. Great sex can be a stress reliever, don’t allow it to become a stressor in your relationship.
Share what makes you feel turned on. It is uber sexy when you can tell your partner what makes you HOT! When you’re confident and can share what you want, how you want it and when you want it, your partner will respect your ability to articulate your wants, needs, and desires.
If you’re not sure what turns you on, spend some time in self-discovery and self exploration. Have a discovery session together. Try out new things, add toys, role play, or tantra to your sexual repetoire. Start a sex journey journal, keep track of things you like, things you want to try, how it makes you feel and any attitudes you might have around those topics. The more intimate you can be with yourself, the more open and intimate you can be with your partner.
Share experiences together. Get out of the bedroom and reconnect. Take some sexy Latin dance lessons together. Go on a hike and enjoy being in nature. Schedule regular date nights to practice romance. Go for a couples massage. Take a yoga class together. Get reactive and find way to connect and build intimacy outside of sex. Find activities that promote more conversation and encourages self-disclosure.
Accept change. Our sexuality is ever evolving. As we become more comfortable with ourselves and our bodies, we become more open to giving and receiving pleasure in creative ways. Just because you’re experiencing a downward swing know that this is just a cycle that will pass if you’re willing to talk your way through it.
There are a lot of strong emotions that come up with couples when sexual incompatibility comes up. There may be feelings of not being enough to satisfy your partner’s needs. There may be feeling of rejection for the partner who’s libido is high. One partner may feel resentful is they are pursued constantly to have sex in ways that make them feel uncomfortable.
Low sex drive or incompatibility doesn’t mean you no longer love your partner. There are many non-sexual ways to build intimacy and experience pleasure. Expanding your mind and opening up your body to possibilities is a great first step to closing the incompatibility gap.