Couples therapist, Rachel Moheban-Wachtel examines the common problem of a strong relationship but differing sex drives – and what you can do to combat sexual incompatibility.
While in couples therapy, something that I find myself dealing with quite a bit is the sexual incompatibility that oftentimes occurs between a husband and wife. As a matter of fact, according to many statistics, sexless marriages are something that’s considered to be an epidemic with more than 40 million couples currently not engaging in sex on a regular basis.
It’s unfortunate because there are actually many health benefits that are directly attributed to having an active sex life. Sex helps to improve your immune system, lower your blood pressure, reduce stress, burn calories and ironically enough, it also helps to boost your libido.
So what do you do if you have a great relationship outside of the bedroom, but inside it just seems like the two of you are sexually incompatible? While in marriage counseling, here are some of the tips that I offer as a way for couples to remain in lovers lane, even if they happen to have different sex drives.
Talk about it. When you’re in a committed relationship with someone, sex is like the “icing” while intimacy is the “cake”. In other words, it’s not just about sharing your physical being with someone but also your thoughts and emotions too. If you feel like there are issues inside of the bedroom, talk about it with your partner. Even in just sharing your feelings, it will bring the two of your closer together.
Familiarize yourself with one another’s schedules. You’d be surprised how many couples have challenges when it comes to sex simply because they have different “sex schedules”. While one might want to engage first thing in the morning, the other might prefer having sex at night. Some of the relationship advice that I offer is that it’s all about compromise, even when it comes to the sexual part of your union. It can definitely work to your advantage to figure out what one another’s sex schedules are and then both be willing to make accommodate the other from time to time.
Don’t forget about foreplay. This is something that’s especially important for men to remember. Although it can literally take a man under a minute to get aroused, a woman often needs a lot more time than that. One way to get her in the mood is to incorporate foreplay—and not just when you’re in bed. Call her at work to tell her that you love her. Snuggle up with her while you’re watching television. Give her a massage without (immediately) expecting anything in return. These kinds of things will make her feel safe and secure within the relationship and as a result, more open to being more physically intimate with you (and more often too!).
Let them down “easy”. This is something that the women need to keep in mind. No one likes to feel rejected. So even if your husband does approach you for sex and you’re not in the mood, be careful with your delivery. Rather than sighing and saying “Not tonight” or rolling your eyes and asking “Didn’t we just do it a few days ago?” opt instead for “I’m kind of tired right now. Is it OK if we wait until morning?” It gives you time to rev up your engine and something for him to look forward to.
Take the pressure off. Above all else, remember that sex is to be an enjoyable experience. This means that it’s not about comparing yourself to what the media says you should be doing but striving to figure out your own “rhythm”. For some, that will be having sex a few times per week. For others, less. But remember that what goes on (or doesn’t go on) in your bedroom often speaks to how you are communicating in general and communication is vital to healthy relationships. Definitely don’t pressure one another to have sex but do be open to having a healthy sexual relationship. It’s something that you both deserve.