A lot has been said about low desire partners in relationships. It’s one of the most challenging and misunderstood dynamics in intimate partnership. So knowing how to sort the junk form quality information is critical.
Let Gina and Julie help you understand why low desire occurs even in healthy loving relationships, and what you can do to address it.
On low desire -
“It's easy to go to that place of 'I have low desire and something is wrong with me', rather than 'my life is super full and complicated right now and I'm not able to access my desire because so much is going on.'”
“Our whole culture reinforces this - if one of us has lower desire that means I'm broken, you're broken or we're broken – that's just not really true, there are so many factors that affect our desire”
On spontaneous desire -
“Spontaneous desire is how most of the people I talk to expect desire to show up – it's typically what we experience in the beginning of relationships or see in the movies.”
On responsive desire -
“One of the questions I'll often ask folks is, “If you do have a sexual experience together – what happens afterwards?” The person who identifies as having lower desire will often say, 'That was so much fun, remind me how much I love that!'”
“Responsive desire is when our bodies or brains are feeling something that feels good, desire kicks in in response to that.”
On exploring willingness -
“Sometimes if you can really show up and not be stressed about what it is supposed to look like or what is going to happen next and just engage and tune into your body and your pleasure and the present moment it will potentially lead to something else because the arousal has kicked in, your body is starting to warm up, your brain is starting to warm up, you're feeling really connected and then that desire kicks and you want more – not all the time, but often, that's what happens for folks.”
“It's important for us to know our “nos” so we can truly know our “yeses”.”
Article – Nothing is Wrong with your Sex Drive
First define what counts as making out so you and your partner have similar expectations.
Set a timer and make out for 5 minutes every night – if kissing for 5 minutes is a struggle, find a way to connect for the remainder of the 5 minutes.
This exercise helps cultivate a willingness to show up and be affectionate.
You can also have a solo practice for exploring willingness.
Touch yourself in a way that doesn't focus on orgasm. If you typically focus on your genitals what's it like to focus on other parts of your body? Can you experience new pathways of pleasure that don't involved the parts of your body you typically focus on?
If you have a vagina and would like more ideas about how you might explore your body, OMGYes is a good resource.
Practice / Action Step -
Create a Desire Diary
Track the things you desire. Not only strong or big desire, also hints of desire or the moments when you feel a little piqued interest or craving.
Track the moments when you feel sexy and confident or embodied.
What do you notice?
Do you see any patterns?
Be curious about your desire.
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Gina Senarighi, MS, MA, CPC is a sexuality counselor and communication consultant specializing in healthy boundaries, passionate relationships, jealousy, and infidelity. She supports non-traditional couples all over the world as a retreat leader and certified relationship coach.
Connect with Gina
Julie Jeske, LPC is a sex and relationship counselor. She has a private practice where she helps clients increase intimacy, ignite passion and deepen their connection to themselves and others. Julie especially loves to help women discover who they are sexually. Through counseling, online classes, or in-person retreats; her clients learn how to talk about their sexual and relationship desires, and explore ways to make them a reality.
Connect with Julie