Lack of sexual desire is a common relationship challenge that couples face. It does not always have to be the female partner who has the reduced sex drive. Couples facing this issue however do seldom have an erectile dysfunction. This article will look a bit deeper into these different issues.
Clarification of different terms
- Erectile dysfunction or impotence is the term used when a man is not able to maintain or develop an erection of the penis during sexual intercourse. This can occur as a physical impotence or psychological impotence.
- Libido, also referred to as sex drive, is a person’s (male and female) desire for sexual activities such as intercourse.
Reasons for reduced sex drive
There are various reasons that can influence the sex drive: physical factors such as hormones like testosterone, psychological factors such as personality, beliefs, stress or social factors such as societal beliefs, as well as family ideas and imposed rules. Other physical factors to keep in mind are smoking, alcohol and drug abuse, which also cause imbalances in your hormones, as well as medications, like anti-depressants, so check with your doctor. A women’s libido is strongly related to her menstrual cycle.
The duration of the relationship, as well as transitions like becoming parents or getting a new job or losing one’s job greatly influence the sex life as well as other areas of the relationship. Fertility problems, being pregnant, having a new born a baby, personal changes like menopause etc. all influence not just the personal emotional, physical and mental balance and well-being but also the couple’s.
Effects on relationship
Changes in desire for sexual activity or erectile dysfunction often have a big influence on relationship satisfaction. In both situations it is recommend getting professional help after checking any potential physical problems with your doctor.
Differences in libido between partners is not just common but the rule in most relationships. It does not always have to be gender stereotypically the man who has more sex drive.
When is Couples Coaching or Counselling required?
Once you have out-ruled any potential physical components it is time to look at the individual and couples patterns of interacting, communicating and strategies for creating intimacy. Often we continue to live and love by out-dated rules and beliefs we acquired from our parents and have not yet learnt a new and more suitable way of interacting in today’s relationship.
Just because you are an adult does not mean that you have got all the keys sorted out in relating well to your spouse. Having been together for five or more years also does not mean you know ‘everything’ about him or her. Most importantly I can promise you that ‘things that worked at the beginning of the relationship’ won’t work for ever. And – you change over time and so do your partner and your relationship.
Another interesting observation I have found in couples work over the years is that fear of intimacy might actually increase with the duration of the relationship. Knowing the soft or sore spots of your partner does not guarantee that you will always treat them accordingly.
Can the relationship be saved?
Every relationship needs to be cared for like your garden needs constant watering and weeding. This is the time when you need to update your way of relating if you don’t just want to throw it all away and start again with a new relationship. Sooner or later, you will get to this point with a new relationship, so it’s up to you whether you want to resolve the issue or postpone them.