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what to do when your no longer sexually attracted to your partner, according to a therapist

What to do when you are no longer sexually attracted to your partner

What to do when your no longer sexually attracted to your partner:

Editor’s Note: Ian Kerner is a licensed marriage and family therapist, writer and contributor on the topic of relationships for GWN. He is the author of a guide for couples, “So Tell Me About the Last Time You Had Sex.”

Many of my straight male clients come in and confess that they choose their mate without giving sexual desire any thought.

The male will say that he doesn’t know why he isn’t feeling desire during couples therapy sessions where his partner is present. Perhaps it’s anxiety, low testosterone, or stress.

But he usually tells me a different tale when we meet one-on-one. He tells me he didn’t put sexual attraction first while choosing his spouse.

How could someone choose a life mate if they were not attracted to them sexually? And can these partnerships endure and prosper? Is it possible to develop sexual interest later on if it wasn’t there to begin with?

Many guys in their 30s that I’ve spoken with have said to me, “I found the woman I wanted to marry, and she fulfilled every requirement.” aside from one.

“She really loves me,” “she will make an amazing mother,” “our friends and families get along so well,” and “being my best friend” are some of the qualities that are listed. Which one of the boxes remained unchecked? Sexual desire was frequently the first trait the males mentioned.

I was taken aback.

I believe that sexuality is the one factor that truly sets apart a romantic relationship from a platonic one, acting as a sort of “relationship glue” to keep couples together when things become tough. I find it puzzling that so many individuals disregard sex when choosing a long-term spouse.

According to research, physical attractiveness isn’t always the most desirable quality in a romantic partner—in fact, neither men nor women rank it as highly as they should,” stated Dr. Justin Lehmiller, a research fellow at Indiana University’s Kinsey Institute, a center for sexuality research. “Qualities like wit, kindness, honesty, and intelligence are frequently just as important, if not more so.”

According to Chicago-based sex therapist Dr. Elizabeth Perri, some men have internalized a binary picture of women: those who make wonderful husbands and moms and those who are sexually active.

“Instead of waiting to find a partner who is a better fit both emotionally and sexually, I’ve observed this in male patients who are out in the dating world and feel pressure to pick someone whom they perceive as ‘wife material’ but without sexual attraction,” Perri told me.

You need this in order to fall in love (2024).

Deeper connection, increased relationship pleasure, and protection against psychological discomfort, such as worry and depression, are all benefits of having good sex.

According to New York City-based sex therapist Eva Dillon, “if a relationship is a meal, the sexual portion ought to be considered an integral part of it, such as the protein, instead of a frivolous part like dessert.”

Dillon told me, “In my experience, women can work hard to develop desire for a partner, but if a man doesn’t have desire for his partner at the beginning of a relationship, he will never desire her.” When you can emphasize sexual attraction in a relationship and reap the rewards right away, why wait to experience it later?

However, according to sexologist Dr. Yvonne Fulbright, decreasing levels of sexual desire aren’t necessarily an issue for couples.

Infidelity or divorce can result from a lack of sexual desire for certain individuals. Others believe that not being attracted to someone only becomes an issue when one pays attention to what society expects from sex and desire,” Fulbright, an adjunct professorial lecturer in the sociology department at American University in Washington, DC, stated.

Couples are under a lot of pressure to continue having frequent, exciting sex. Individuals believe that a certain kind and standard of want must be fulfilled, and that any indifference in such things is a problem that has to be fixed.

Several of my colleagues in therapy advise against overemphasizing the significance of initial sexual desire.

“We have this idea that a relationship cannot work unless we are physically drawn to someone when we first meet. Dr. Rachel Needle, a sex therapist, stated, “That’s just not true.” “As you get to know someone and feel more connected and intimate, attraction may develop.”

If you and your partner are losing interest in each other sexually, what should you do? Or perhaps you’d like to intensify a relationship that never existed in the first place?

Fulbright advised against making any generalizations. “Only partners can determine how to handle this challenge in their relationship,” the speaker asserted.

Some people may find success with non-monogamy, but not others. In an email, she continued, “Couples must determine how honest to be with one another, how much this issue matters in deciding to stay together vs not, and how much weight should be given to this issue in light of other positive aspects they have going for them.

In the event that your relationship lasts a long time, don’t think it’s over. If a couple focuses on it, they may find that their sexual desire increases with time. According to Dillon, “we frequently don’t feel comfortable enough to ask for what we want in bed until we are in our 30s.”

However, I will not stand by someone who believes that married couples will never have sex again, thus there’s no use in putting sexual desire first.

Because of their maturity and empty nests, many couples in their 50s are able to explore and develop their sexuality. Sex may remain dynamic and rich for couples in their 60s, 70s, and beyond if they can redefine sex beyond an orgasm and co-create closeness, Dillon wrote in an email.

Remember that your sexual well-being serves as an indicator of your general health. Thus, think about speaking with your healthcare professional if you truly are experiencing an inexplicable decline in your desire for sexual activity. Perhaps your testosterone has indeed decreased.

Just be honest with your spouse about the reason(s) behind your lack of sexual interest. It turns out that being honest can eventually turn someone on.


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