DIFFERENT SEX DRIVES: ASK C+S

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Dear @cyclesandsex,

I am struggling. My partner and I have never had an 'easy' sex life. The beginning was great and full of hormones but we also were long distance during the week. As that changed and the relationship turned more serious, there was a noticeable decline in my partner initiating and wanting sex. I had a conversation with him to explain how physical touch is my primary love language and physical intimacy is very important to me. He understood but also mentioned he felt a bit pressured to keep up with my sex drive and we acknowledged our sex drives differed. I became obsessed with talking about the subject and counting the times per week we were - or were not - having sex. Eventually, about 4 months in, he asked me to cool it on the conversation and give him some time and space in that area. I did. We fell into a 1x per week cadence and I was ok with this. It wasn't my ideal, but within a range that I was happy with. 8ish months in... it started to turn to every 2 weeks. And my conversations and obsession around how many times we were doing it came back. We hit a breaking point and are now in therapy. He has come to me and said in combination with the pressure he was feeling. There is also a possibility of low T. We did some research and it appears he has many of the symptoms and it could be a real possibility. It's now been 30ish plus days since we had sex and I've tried to be patient, supportive, and understanding but I am STRUGGLING. It feels like we've broken up in some senses and while we have grown in emotional intimacy in some ways, it has put a real strain on our relationship. He is setting up a doctor's appointment to get the low T checked out.. but my main question is...how do I cope with this and support his needs as well as my own? I fluctuate between irritability, sadness, frustration, impatience, extreme horniness (!) and all other emotions. I do masturbate but find it hard to get into it because it's not about the orgasm for me..it's about the connection with my partner and the person I love. Any suggestions, ideas, tips, help, etc would be so helpful. I'm so lost at this point and struggling to feel optimistic.

Love,                                                                             

#Struggling

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Dear #Struggling

I’m so sorry you’re dealing with this. I know it isn’t easy. I’ve included some ideas to try, but #realtalk? I recommend working with a sex educator (like me!) or therapist. First, ask yourself if this a deal breaker for you. It’s ok if it is. No two people are absolutely compatible and successful relationships require a lot of compromise, but you need to know your core values and hard limits. Secondly, it sounds like the two of you are stuck in a chasing dynamic. You keep initiating and getting rejected. He’s started to shut down with the slightest hint that you want to get it on. You both feel shitty. Part of the solution? You aren’t allowed to initiate anymore and he has to. Oh!—and he isn’t initiating penis-in-vagina sex but rather the rest of the fun sexy things you can do together physically. Thirdly, focus on willingness, not want. Desire doesn’t always show up BEFORE sexy times happen. If he’s willing to kiss or touch or do whatever, that’s enough. Lastly, incorporate physical intimacy that isn’t sexual. My counseling clients’ favorite rule for this? When you’re on the couch, you must be touching. Maybe that’s your feet or head in his lap or thighs touching or holding hands. As I mentioned, I highly recommend getting outside help. This is the most common issues I work on with couples and there isn't a one-size-fits-all solution. You can check out bit.ly/pbkcounseling or the link in my bio for information about working with me.

All the best,

Kait Scalisi, MPH

Kait Scalisi, MPH (@passionbykait) is a sex educator who helps womxn find #freedominpleasure with fun + practical tips to create a sex life that's as intimate, exciting, & fulfilling as the rest of their relationship. Get in touch on Facebook, Insta, or Twitter @PassionbyKait or at passionbykait.com.

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