Val Baldwin, CPC
Live Your Ultimate Life

Here’s some great advice from Relationship Expert, Dr. Phil.

As a society of couples, we have behaved and miscommunicated our way into a problem of epidemic proportions. This is the problem of sexual appetites not matching. Egos are fragile and nobody likes to be rejected…especially by the person in whom you love and have invested the most. Those rejected feel like their partner is saying, “I am not attracted to you, do not desire you, and don’t want you.” OUCH! The resulting frustrations affect every other part of the couple’s relationship.

When your sex life is good – it amounts to about 10% of the effort in your relationship.

When your sex life is bad – it amounts to about 80% of the effort in your relationship.

So you need to ask yourself if you are part of this epidemic? The following questions can help you get a fix on where you are with regard to this:

  • Is sex a source of anxiety, frustration and/or resentment for you or your partner?
  • Are you constantly pursuing or retreating within your sexual relationship, rather than enjoying a relaxed and natural pattern?
  • Are your partner’s expectations either a mystery to you or, if known, a problem?
  • Do you avoid frank discussion about sex with your partner because they involve guilt, blame and bitterness?
  • Is frequency (whether too much or too little) a problem for you?
  • Do you or your partner feel that any show of affection must lead to sex?
  • Does the quality of your overall relationship seem to slide up and down with the quality of your sexual relationship?

If you answered yes to even a few of these questions, your sexual relationship needs some serious work. But there is hope. Once you acknowledge the problem, it’s not as unsolvable as it may seem. Before your learn the steps you can take, here are some critical don’ts:

Don’t be embarrassed to be honest about your sexual desires and needs. Get past the awkwardness of talking about s-e-x! You may feel uncomfortable…but it really does get easier.

Don’t apologize or feel guilty about how you feel. There is no right or wrong here. There is no “normal”. You must give yourself permission to feel what you feel.

Don’t make directionless complaints. Ask for what you want.

Don’t fall into the trap of blaming your partner or labeling what he wants as wrong. That’s saying, “you’re the problem, you need to fix it, and let me know when you do.” Sexual incompatibility is not an individual’s problem. It’s a couple’s problem. It will take both of you to be actively involved in this to fix the problem.

Don’t lie to yourself or your partner.

The good news is that there is a formula for success. But it only works if and only if you are totally honest!

STEP 1: Identify your personal needs. Your partner can’t read your mind. You may have to broaden your definition of what sex includes. Sexual interaction can include much more than intercourse. If you want and need something you’re not getting in your sexual relationship, you have to name it and then claim it. This means you must be willing to be vulnerable enough to disclose what matters to you.

STEP 2: Identify your partner’s needs, and make sure they are being met to the best of your ability. You can’t do that if you don’t learn what they are. And for men: Do not – repeat, do not – assume that you know what your wife’s needs are. Unless she has specifically told you, you don’t have a clue. Ask questions, gather information, do not make assumptions.

STEP 3: Armed with the important information about needs, open negotiations on this topic. Your goal is to create a win-win situation, where both partners get as much of what they want as possible – eliminating judgment and blame, and creating an atmosphere of mutual support.

STEP 4: Be honest in all of your self-disclosures. If the disparity in your sexual appetites is not the actual problem but a symptom of some underlying difficulty, you must be willing to talk about the real deal. If your objection is not to the sex but to the manner and context in which it occurs, be honest about that.

Your over all goal is to come up with a plan that both of you can be excited about. This may take a realignment of your lifestyle. You may have to reprioritize your life to create and actually schedule intimate time with your partner. Don’t worry that it feels contrived at first. The stranger it seems, the more you need to do it.

You also need to understand that fluctuations in a person’s sex drive are very common and are due to very treatable medical issues. Studies conducted in the U.S. show that 20-30% of men and 30-50% of women have little to no sex drive. Women, if you need to see a doctor because of hormonal or biochemical imbalances, then do it! Men, if you need medical help because of a condition such as impotence or hypertension, get it!

Also, another common mistake in sexual frustration is confusing quantity with quality. A whole lot of poor-quality lovemaking pales in comparison to the less frequent but high-quality kind.

To sum it up, freshen up your attitude, reopen negotiations, and be VERY SPECIFIC ABOUT WHAT YOU WANT. Two people who truly care about one another and want to cooperate can absolutely have the sex life they both truly desire.

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