MEN: How to support your female partner with sex problems

When women come and see me in sessions, I am very aware of the fact that (if she is in a relationship) that I am also, in some ways, seeing her partner in sessions as well…without actually seeing him. I say him because the vast majority of my clients are women in long-term heterosexual relationships that are looking to first and foremost work on themselves but in working on themselves there are naturally some corrections that need to happen within the relationship.

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So today, I am kind of speaking to both of you but if you are the male partner of a woman who is experiencing problems with sex, this is what we want you to know. For ease, I am using the collective term we as I was once in this position.

+Firstly, we need your unwavering support. We don’t want to be this way! We don’t want to be closed and inhibited, fending you off. It’s a defence we have employed to protect ourselves and after using it for such a long time, we feel like we are stuck with it (but we’re not). We know it seems personal but it so isn’t. We are hurting in more ways than one and we need to clear that crap out (usually old memories) before we bring pleasure in.

Important tip: Let her know that you are willing to listen and to wait. Sometimes being willing to wait speeds things up because we feel less defensive and then actually want to solve our problems. Kill us with kindness.

+Secondly, if we look pissy or annoyed when you touch us in a certain way, that is your cue to stop doing that. When we feel irritated or annoyed, we don’t feel sexual or playful. We feel defensive. If she slaps your hands off her body quickly then this is one of those moments. For the most part, we don’t like it when all touch feels like it is expecting sex. This puts pressure on us and pressure does not make us feel sexy. We feel like we need to perform.

This irritating touch is worst when we are in an environment or space that doesn’t feel conducive to sex. The most common example I hear is women feeling like they are being grabbed when they are cleaning or in the kitchen. We don’t feel sexy in those moments even when you see us this way. (It's sweet you do but it is incongruent for us).

Important tip: This is a golden opportunity to ask her what type of touch she wants to receive…what makes her feel loved, acknowledged and even adored (don't go there yet with sexual, keep it lower key). What are the times and occasions within the day that work for her?

+In general, your sexual arousal as a man starts off as boiling water and ours starts off as cool water that is slow to boil - don't fight it, it's a yin and yang thing! Don’t try and get us to boiling straight away – slowly increase the temperature instead. Don’t go too hard, too fast and skip to intercourse quickly even when you are excited. It is easier to move with where she is at than expect her to be up at where you are at. If she is acting as though she wants to move into intercourse quickly but you suspect she isn't ready, offer to move more slowly with her and her arousal - offer to purely pleasure her for a while so she can move her arousal up too rather than jumping into dry (and less satisfying) intercourse. 

+Please don’t ask us to come in sex. PLLLLEEEEAAASE! It puts pressure on us and can be a factor in us losing our orgasm. It can feel like a demand is being placed on us rather than an invitation. Just, don’t say anything about it unless she has specifically said that this is a turn on for her. Remember, she doesn’t orgasm for you, she orgasms for her (this is a healthy thing!).

+If she has a menstrual cycle, try and understand it and keep track of it. We feel differently about sex through the cycle (I have posts about this) so acknowledge it as a factor that might be a genuine reason why she doesn’t want to express herself sexually. If she is on contraception and she is experiencing side-effects that unsettle her or have her living with zero interest in sex (common but not good), it’s time to offer up you using condoms. She might even be more interested in sex with a higher libido that isn’t being dampened by hormonal contraceptives.

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There is so much to be said about supporting your female partner who is experiencing problems with her libido and desire for sex. The most important ingredient of all of these problems and solutions is to acknowledge her. It boosts her confidence and allows her to feel seen and heard, which is vital to her feeling interested in sex. Leave me a comment below if you have had an 'AHA' moment from reading this blog today and I'll reply back!

Lauren xo

If you would love your partner to come and see me but don't know how to broach the topic, one approach I recommend is to simply share with her what you have learnt from this post and by asking her what she needs from you. She may want to come and see me in time but it needs to be her decision - I'll be here when she is ready.