When it comes to low sexual desire or any other sexual issue for that matter, it’s much easier to blame the issue on an underlying physical condition such as diabetes, hormonal imbalance or surgery. But what if all potential physical causes of low libido have been ruled out? You are forced to face the possibility that your partner or your relationship could be the reason that your desire has taken a nose dive.
This possibility is not an easy one to consider or even process because it seems painful to even bring it up to your partner. Not to mention, you can’t comfort yourself with the idea of a quick or a much more straightforward fix that often comes with a physical condition. Perhaps you cannot even pinpoint what is it about your partner or the relationship that makes you not want to get into the mood.
Before getting into some of the common partner & relationship related causes of low sexual desire, I want to discuss the difference between low vs. no sexual desire.
Low sexual desire is different from no sexual desire, even though the manner in which both conditions present themselves is similar. People with no sexual desire have no sexual interest in their partners and are also not receptive to their own private thoughts, fantasies or emotions related to sex. Also, people with no sexual interest or desire do not experience any emotional distress about their lack of sexual interest.
On the other hand, individuals with low sexual desire are often inconsistently receptive to their partner’s attempts to initiate sex and have a sporadic sexual desire in response to their private sexual fantasies, masturbation and at times, their partner’s advances. They experience distress about the lack of sexual desire in relation to their partner.
Here are some common partner & relationship factors that can cause a decline in sexual desire:
1. Dissatisfaction with the relationship-
One of the major causes for low sexual desire among couples is dissatisfaction with the relationship. Feelings of resentment, anger, fear, anxiety often underlie low sexual desire. Couples that struggle with communicating their concerns about the relationship, often spend a lot of time blaming, criticizing and undermining each other which is certainly off-putting in terms of sexual desire.
Extramarital affairs, cheating, emotional & cyber infidelity result in feelings of lack of safety and trust in the relationship. As a result, the partner who is the injured party, loses all interest in sex. At times, the partner that caused the injury experiences low or no sexual interest because of feelings of guilt & self-loathing.
3. Lack of communication about sex-
Couples that are oblivious to their partner’s likes and dislikes about sex because they don’t feel comfortable communicating about their fantasies or turn-ons, often find themselves in low desire situations.
4. Sexual technique-
Partner’s poor sexual technique correlates with low sexual desire. Poor technique not only applies to sexual acts or positions but also foreplay. Many people do not know how to come on to their partner. Some engage in very little or no foreplay whereas others come on in an awkward or an abrasive manner. Partners that are demanding or pushy in their overtures often find themselves with a partner not very interested in sex. In addition to desire, poor sexual technique in a partner also makes it much more difficult for you to get aroused or even orgasm.
5. Rigid sexual beliefs-
If your partner holds very rigid beliefs about sex about what it should or should not entail, you are less likely to be in the mood. Partners of people that are averse to variety or expanding their sexual repertoire often hit a brick wall with their libido. Not surprising because who wants to eat the same dinner night after night?! Usually, such beliefs manifest themselves in the form of following a rigid routine from foreplay to intercourse, overemphasis on penetration, expressing sexual needs that their partner might not be able to satisfy etc.
Being in a long-term relationship can feel very safe and stable but it also has the downside of becoming overly familiar with your partner. Once the new relationship energy dissipates and familiarity gets stronger- libido tends to take a dip. What exacerbates the inevitable feeling of knowing each other too much is when partners become complacent and stop making an effort to spice things up. Whether it’s slacking on hygiene/grooming or not being willing to exchange boring old pajamas for sexy wear, such seemingly minute actions can de-sexualize your role as a sex partner.
Being overly concerned with one’s own sexual pleasure at the expense of ignoring what your partner needs to feel satisfied is a guaranteed way to kill your partner’s desire. Some couples are caught up in a tit for tat dynamic in their relationship which also spills into the bedroom. They are unwilling to give pleasure unless they are getting something back in return. It can be quite a turn off if you come across as a selfish lover. Always looking for what’s in it for you instead of devoting yourself to pleasing your partner does not help to sustain the sexual flame in a relationship.