Hello lovely people!
I read this article today (see link below) written by a gynecologist and I am interested in what others think about the concept of how some sexless relationships arise from men who have low libidos.
Gunter writes: “Libido can be affected by a number of things, including depression, medication, stress, health, affairs, previous sexual trauma, pornography, pain with sex and relationship dissatisfaction…”
I have worked with many couples over the last six years and am a certified L1 Gottman Couples Therapist. In a session where one or both partners are dissatisfied with their sex life, I will check in with each partner, assessing whether one or more of the libido killers is present.
About 25% of the time, I come across a case where the man has low libido and doesn’t have a desire to initiate sex.
When I do run into a case where the male is the one experiencing low libido, I think it is absolutely crucial to explore those factors that Gunter lists above, but I do so with great sensitivity. In my experience, men with low libido who come into my office are already at a point where they feel emasculated by their partner. I have seen stereotypical gender expectations surface here, such as: “Well, he’s the man- he’s supposed to want sex!” They are berated and shamed for not “feeling it.” This is where I insert education about the libido killers, which can be an eye opener for both partners.
On the opposite end of the couch, the partner who has been initiating sex is often left feeling rejected when turned down. This rejection turns into anger, sadness and resentment (that is then verbalized), which can be a recipe for disaster for the future of the relationship. This partner deserves to feel heard and validated too.
On a side note: I also think, regardless of gender, it is important to explore the messages about sex that the individual received growing up from his or her family of origin. Did they talk about it? Or, was it taboo to even bring up? These often impact how we view sex and talking about sex.
What about your family of origin? How did they approach (or did they avoid?) the topic of sex? If you brought it up, was it discussed openly or were you criticized or shamed for it?
If the goals of therapy are to reconnect, and increase intimacy and passion within the relationship, then any of the factors above that are creating a “sex block” in the relationship need to be addressed. Often, I will refer the partner with low libido out for individual therapy to help with exploring the block at a deeper level. Then, I will work with both partners to help them both feel understood and see the problem from each others perspectives. Once this is accomplished, we can discuss what each partner needs to do to help the other feel more desired. Usually, I incorporate some of John Gottman’s techniques for increasing fondness and admiration to help with this (for more information about this, contact me at 630-797-9192 for your free, 15 minute consultation).
If you know of an individual or couple experiencing mismatched sexual desire or low libido, I can help! Call 630-797-9192 today!
Link to the article is below: