Couples may need to talk about (and explore) their sexual differences.(VEER)If your relationship is in turmoil because one partner has lost his or her interest in sex, the explanation might be psychological or medical or something else entirely, such as a secret attraction or affair. But there other, simpler explanations as well, rooted in lack of good communication.
Here are three very common reasons behind "sexual disconnect."
If you're a heterosexual couple, the problem could just be that what arouses men is often very different from what arouses women. A man may respond more quickly, whereas a woman's arousal may be more like "warm water that slowly is brought to a boil," says Joy Davidson, PhD, a New York City–based psychologist who's on the board of directors of the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists. "You might conclude that his libido is higher than hers," Davidson says. "It's not the case. They are processing stimulation differently and responding to different cues."
More about libido in relationships
- Is Your Libido More Active Than Your Partner's?
- Sex Drive Problems in Your Relationship?
- What Kind of Doctor Treats Low Sex Drive?
There also may be a difference in priorities, says Davidson: "If one person thinks having a passionate sexual relationship is critical, absolutely central to the marriage, and the other sees it as the icing on the cake, that is not a libido difference, it's a difference in values."
Someone with little prior sexual experience may simply not know yet what will turn him or her on. Your relationship is just the place to experiment with this mystery. Exploring it carefully and sensitively is generally good for both partners.