When One Partner Says No More Sex
Sometimes it occurs after the birth, sometimes after menopause. With a statement like
“I’m 60 now. I’m past having sex. Just forget it,” one of a previous pair announces their sex life is over. No more pairing up, it’s solo from here on out.
Making that kind of unilateral decision for “no more sex” is incredibly arrogant and downright cruel, says sex therapist Robyn Salisbury, in her latest book Staying in Love, the top secrets of great relationships (Random House)
“Together you need to seek help to talk about it. It’s just not fair to hold someone to ransom with a message like ‘If you want to keep our family together then these are the terms, accept them’
“There is no more powerful way to reject someone than to withdraw physically. If you are in a relationship, then the decision to be sexual is not entirely yours.
“Yes it’s your body, and I am not advocating returning to times past when sex was seen as a conjugal right.
“However if you have entered a committed relationship then you don’t have the right to impose any rules without a joint understanding…”
Another Way To Tackle It
Rather says Robyn, who answers personal queries in a popular Sunday newspaper column, you should rephrase the statement: “As I’ve got older I find I’m not really enjoying our sex as much as I used to. Can we talk about how we might alter it to make it enjoyable again?”
The problem she says is that for many people “Sex equals intercourse” – something she calls and “unproductive myth” about sex that is one of the actual causes of loss of desire.
She calls it “the hydraulic model of sex . . . focused around genital stimulation.
“This in no way provides us the grounding for lifelong sexual desire.
More than Coupling
“Couples who turn up for counselling often think either they have a hormone imbalance or that they have fallen out of love with their partner.
“One or both of these factors may be playing a role, but neither of them is straightforward.”
A major survey of women found a high degree of extra-genital satisfaction resulting from stimulation of other parts of the body, says Robyn, who is director of Sex Therapy New Zealand.
Focusing on biology is a trip, says Salisbury. Sex drive can be affected by drugs, physical illness, emotional state, learning and many other factors.
Desire Discrepancy Dangers
Robyn says just as expecting your partner to sacrifice sex for your sake is destructive, to carry on engaging in sex when it isn’t what you want is also not the answer.
“Desire discrepancy creates a danger of setting up a pursue-retreat dynamic where on partner feels under pressure to provide sex and that pressure further diminishes their interest.
“The other redoubles efforts to be seductive or persuasive and in the end simply increases the pressure that is a desire killer.”
Robyn suggest a much broader approach to what makes us feel good and meaningful… including physical, emotional, mental and spiritual parts of ourselves.
So what do you think? Are you in a relationship where the sex has gone cold and you don’t know what to do about it? Have you found answers to this very common dilemma? Tell us your views and give others an insight into a new way of doing things at the same time.