My boyfriend and I have developed a desire difference. We’ve been together for 8 months. We have always had a healthy sex life. But recently I’ve noticed he wants it less or not as much as I do. He has even mentioned that if he was to leave me it would be because of this. He feels as though he can’t keep up or that he’s failing at pleasing me. I have assured him that this is not the case, that he very much pleases me. I feel as though I have to tone down my libido or it will put a strain on our relationship. Any suggestions?
Desire differences are virtually inevitable in long-term relationships. When people first fall in love, they can’t keep their hands off each other. But typically after 6 months to 2 years or so, the hot-and-heavy period winds to a close and one lover wants sex less than the other. If it’s a small difference, most couples can deal with it. But when the difference is large, then rancor and resentments often develop.
In addition, most men want sex more than most women. When desire differences develop, if it’s the man who wants more sex, that can be a hassle, but both lovers expect it. They see it as sexually normal. But when it’s the woman who wants more sex, then added to the upsets around the desire difference is the additional issue of feeling that the situation is contrary to expected gender roles—and that can make things more difficult and confusing.
Sex therapists have developed a program that empowers couples with desire differences to (usually) resolve them by negotiating a mutually acceptable sexual frequency. I’ve distilled that program into a low-cost e-article, How Sex Therapists Recommend Ovdercoming Desire Differences. I suggest that you and your guy read it. All my articles come with a money-back guarantee so no risk to you.
If the article doesn’t resolve things, then I suggest you consult a sex therapist. Sex therapy usually takes four to six months of weekly one-hour sessions. It costs $150-200/hour, though many therapists discount fees for those who can’t afford standard rates. If you’re unfamiliar with sex therapy, clients DON’T have sex with therapists and therapists DON’T watch clients having sex. For more, read my low-cost e-article, An Intimate Look at Sex Therapy, and/or see the film, “Hope Springs” with Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones. To find a sex therapist near you, visit the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists, the Society for Sex Therapy and Research, or the American Board of Sexology.
Good luck finding a mutually acceptable frequency.
It can certainly make him feel like less of a man if you frequently nag him about getting erections when he doesn’t have the sexual desire to do so. In addition to the above advice from Michael Castleman, you could consider doing a couple of things. One is that you could burn off some of your sexual energy with solo sex, or with your boyfriend watching as you do it. You can explore exhibitionistic behavior with him as your audience, maybe a strip-tease, openly masturbate in front of him, or whatever turns you on, but make it clear that you don’t expect him to get sexually aroused from it. Another possibility is that he might have some kinky sexual fantasies that he hasn’t told you about and he privately masturbates to those, which uses up some of his sexual energy. You could coax him into revealing those fantasies, but only IF you would really be interested in knowing what they are. Make it clear to him beforehand that you may or may not want to engage in them, but you don’t judge him for them in any way; that they might not turn you on, but they won’t disgust you and you’re fine that he has them. If he has secret fantasies like this, just talking about them with you might make him hard and could lead to sex from that direction occasionally. And in fact, maybe that’s the problem YOU are having to some degree—you want sexual things that he’s not into. Not just the quantity, but the type of sexual activity/fantasies. But once you give him (and yourself) the opportunity to be sexual in his presence sometimes without him being required to be aroused and/or orgasm, he will probably never turn that down. But at first he’ll be feeling judged until you actually complete a session where you have an orgasm where he isn’t obligated to do the same. Look at it this way: people aren’t constantly sexually aroused when viewing pornography either. But it’s still entertaining to watch, it provides a certain sexual thrill even without physical arousal, and it might provide ideas for future sexual activities. Which can be true for the masturbatory/exhibitionistic sex that you do for him, assuming you are willing to try this.