You have a problem. A sex problem.
Your sex problem is that you don’t want to have sex.
You decide you need help to get into sex…to be excited about sex, to be interested in sex and above all, to want to want to have sex.
You schedule an appointment. You talk about what is happening in your bedroom and intimate life. You say:
I love my partner so much so why am I not interested in having sex with them?
It doesn’t make sense.
As you continue to speak, you start to see some of the pieces of the dynamic between the two of you. What irritates you or maybe what they do to try and get you into it that really just shuts you down and has you thinking….no.
Towards the end of the first session, you are given some insights about what could be happening between the two of you and some of the reasons why you just aren’t into sex or have a ‘low libido’. A lot of it makes sense.
Then you get the biggest suggestion of them all.
The sexologist says: I suggest that you don’t have sex for now.
Isn’t that pretty much what isn’t happening right now and that I came to a sexologist to GET happening (you think).
Well, yeah that makes sense.
Today, I want to share with you why a sexologist would recommend you don’t have sex and I’m going to do that in a way that gives insight into my sessions with women who want to want to have sex.
When women come to see me – there are some common threads. Yes they love their partner – there is no doubt that they are invested in their relationship. But love and eroticism don’t always line up evenly.
I ask sex to be shelved (or put on pause) often when she first comes to see me because we need to strip everything back and rebuild.
Yes I am conscious of her partner’s desire for her to see me once or twice to get the sexual motor running again but we women don’t work that way. We don’t need a quick oil change… we need a full service and our engine switched off for a while. (Not sure why the car analogy is coming through but stay with me here).
There is so much temptation to add more to a libido that feels ‘low’. I don’t believe that women have low libidos hence the inverted commas but I do believe that their libido for sex is being channelled into everything that isn’t erotic or sexual.
Your libido isn’t missing, it’s just mis-directed.
But adding to a libido doesn’t often work. Think about it. Advice like…just add a toy or a vibrator or do role play or watch porn or buy lingerie. It might work once or twice and then couples feel like they are back to square one.
That’s the process of adding -piling on top of a lot of confusion. It might work – it’s worth a try. But when it doesn’t, it’s your cue to strip back.
Stripping back involves firstly getting clear on what isn’t working for her. What it is that has her doing an internal eye roll or at worst, shutting down completely. In the first and second session, I let her vent about what she doesn’t like and all the parts of her intimate interactions with her partner that put her on edge or make her feel like sex is expected as an outcome.
In a relationship, not all roads lead to sex.
Often what has happened between a couple is simple and understandable.
Over time, sexual frequency has started to decrease and the partner that is more interested uses some of the old ways of trying to get their partners interest. When that doesn’t work or they feel rejected, they up the ante on the things that used to work or they try something that is really obvious (rubbing up against you in the kitchen perhaps?) All of these attempts make sense – it is worth a try…maybe this time she will say yes. But if all of this is constantly not working to get her interested and instead has her running away or shutting down – it’s gotta stop. The chances of all of that getting better on it’s own is very small.
So I ask that all of that stuff that isn’t working stop. We need new pathways, not old habits. It isn’t the end of playfulness but one persons playfulness can be another persons trigger to shutdown.
Strip back. Let’s strip it back.
Firstly, she needs to feel safe. Feeling safe means knowing and feeling assured that not every type of touch or intimate interaction comes with the expectation of sex. This first step is also vital for women how have a hypertonic pelvic floor (sometimes called vaginismus) where attempts at intercourse are having her close down even more, not open her up.
We talk about shelving sex and attempts at sex so she can get clear as an individual what she does and doesn’t like and what works well for them as a couple moving forward. For as long as sex is happening and she is shutting down about it and within it, it is really hard to get that clarity.
I know this guidance makes partners frustrated. They want explosions, not less of what they already want but aren’t getting.
I’ll put it to you this way. Stripping back, getting clear on all the different types of touch and experiencing them in isolation (i.e. without expecting them to lead somewhere else) is really powerful medicine for women who just don’t want to do anything romantic, sexual or erotic again.
When we create a really solid foundation with some clear communication skills in there, you’ll start to notice that she naturally becomes a bit more interested in being affectionate and being playful because both she and her partner have honoured her boundaries. For as long as she allows someone to overstep them, she can’t get clear on what she wants as everything gets relegated to the no category.
And it doesn’t take long. The less pressured she feels about sex having to happen and more confident and safe she feels in giving and receiving touch that can just stay in the realm of affectionate, loving and healing…the more likely she is to want to move that into something sexual at a later point.
She doesn’t feel powerless anymore. She doesn’t feel like all of this is happening to her anymore. We work to gently harness some control for her rather than have her feeling like it is all out of her control (that can be a real trigger for us high achievers and switched on women).
Putting sex on pause doesn’t mean forever. It is a worthwhile investment in getting the foundation of your house nice and solid rather than all rickety with a patchy roof. Or – if you prefer, the old car analogy – we can’t just add oil. Nope. We need to turn the engine off and polish all the parts. That’s what is going to give your connection and intimacy longevity.
Over to you – would you be willing to put sex on pause in order to be more into it in the long run? Would you be willing to prioritise your own safety, security and comfort in the short-term (and perhaps having your partner feel some discomfort for that timeframe too) in order for something better to grow?
Let me know in the comments.
P.S. If you need some support putting sex on pause and rebuilding your intimate foundation then I’ve got the process to help you do that. Book an introductory session with me and I will shed a complete light on what it is you need to get to that place of wanting and interest. We aren’t getting something ‘back’ for you - this will be a new version - an updated one for the next chapter of your life. Curious? Go to my sessions page and book.