There’s nothing like resentment, anger, frustration or hurt between two partners to dampen any kind of sex drive.
I was really worried about considering that there might be a problem in my relationship.
I instantly panicked and went straight to the “OMG we’re going to have to break up” train of thought, so tried to ignore this part for ages and just focussed on myself.
But, the more I thought about it, it’s really healthy to examine your relationship and whether it’s dampening your desire. After all, we can always improve 🙂
How do you decrease the distance?
Using the tools below, I’ve been working on my relationship over the past few months and can see huge improvements in the way we relate to each other. And in how much I want to have sex with him!
The relationship health check:
I popped the kettle on for this, and brainstormed how my relationship was making me feel.
I LOVE wellness wheel to understand more about myself and how I feel. It’s super geeky but I often do these for my life in general!
Using a Blank Coaching Wheel, AKA the wheel of life, I listed out the 8 most important qualities I wanted within my relationship and wrote them within the spokes of the wheel. Some ideas included…
- Shared responsibilities
- Physical affection
- Roles and responsibilities
- Spontaneous fun
Then I gave each category a number out of ten on how satisfied I felt and marked it on the wheel. 1 is the lowest (the center of the circle) and 10 is the highest (the outside of the circle). Then you draw a line to connect each of the marks together to create a rough circle. The idea is that if every part of your relationship is fabulous, you’ll have a full circle (who are these people?!). Most people will have a blob shape, with some parts that they feel more or less satisfied on.
I really love it presented visually infront of me like this. For me, conflict was the complete disaster, along with lots of needs around fun and sex/intimacy- as I thought would be the case! So then it was time to ask myself some hard questions….
I asked myself a series of quite difficult questions about our relationship, some of which were really scary to consider. And many of the answers were quite negative despite knowing that I did want to be with him…
- Do I feel close to the boyf?
- Do I have warm feelings towards him?
- Do I FEEL in love?
- Has our interaction changed since the beginning of our relationship?
- Am I happy? If not, what needs to change?
- If past me, the newly in love one, saw how we interacted now, would she be happy with how you are?
The last question made me feel quite sad, as I realised a lot needed to change and I was quite taken aback at how I was feeling quite annoyed and angry at my partner despite my surface level warmth towards him.
It’s really important to consider your relationship and how satisfied you feel within it. Although it feels scary to address the problems, it also means that you’re willing to put in the work for your relationship which takes courage. It also left me with a much clearer idea about how we could get our relationship back to a good place.
The first thing that I looked at was conflict resolution. And this involves how good our communication is.
For me, I realised that over time, unresolved conflict was simmering away in the background and this had created distance between the two of us that was chipping away at my sex drive.
Mainly, I just didn’t want to have sex because it meant opening myself up in an intimate way to my boyfriend. And because I felt a constant, background hum of pissed-off-ness off at him, this was such a turn off!
I started to think about what happens when we argue.
- Were there patterns about our fights?
- Do I feel understood by him when we fight?
- Am I happy with the way we resolve conflict?
- Can I express myself fully and feel heard in return?
For me, I noticed that I became really defensive when we were arguing, and that I clam up, hear what I want to hear, and need processing time (aka sulking) whilst I think through how I feel and what I want. Meanwhile, he is shouty and angry straight away, then stays moody for a while before the clouds clear completely. It’s like ice and fire, chalk and cheese, so we need to learn to understand ourselves as well as respect each others conflict styles.
I found that the book Crucial Conversations: Tools for talking when the stakes are high (2002) is a great resource that really goes into depth about the HOW of communication. There are tips and tricks for any communication style in how to talk to others. I’d recommend getting the book as an excellent place to start.
Getting to know each other again (AGAIN):
This bit’s fun. Trust. We had some wine and had a fun quiz night about communication style in a colours quiz (results here). Sure it’s cheesy- are you blue, green, red or yellow? But it gave us something to do, helped us reflect on our conflict styles, and also opened up some really great chats for us.
Another quiz (who doesn’t love quizzes!) is the 16 personalities Myers Briggs test. Get some wine, a takeaway and do it together like we did. We also talked loads about our results- what makes us similar? What makes us different?
We need to talk:
The sex drive issue was also driving such a huge wedge between us. I felt ashamed and didn’t know how on earth to even begin talking about how I felt, and he felt rejected, unwanted, unattractive, frustrated. Not a good mix.
Both things together were like a cycle that just added more distance between us, until without realising it I felt like we had no connection. And I certainly wasn’t bothered about having sex with him. Understanding that it’s time to open up the channels of communication and stop being embarassed about it was a HUGE step in beginning to understand each other and how this issue was affecting us.
Be brave and chat:
Yes, TALKING to your partner (yes its terrifying) openly, honestly, from the heart, is key to moving forwards. Find out more on what happened when I took the plunge and initiated the chat here.
Since then, the idea is we keep talking! It’s like sex ed… little and often. Now we have chats over over breakfast, I tell him about what I’ve learned, and bore him with your new found knowledge on sex drives. The boy and I love mountain climbing- we’ve done Snowdon and Pen Y Fan this year… and walking is a perfect time to broach difficult issues like your sex life and style differences.
It’s also key I’ve found to share with him the small successes. The boy and I are closer than ever since going through this together. A problem shared is a problem halved.
Maintain a united front
Use “The work” worksheets. I only discovered these recently and I’m yet to do them with the boyf, but he’s going to be subjected to this (whether he likes it or not!). These are worksheets that help you stop “judging thy neighbour”- aka encouraging you to empathise a bit more with your partners (often stupid) opinion. So far, they’re actually quite good!
Spend quality time together, don’t focus on sex but rather why you fell in love in the first place
I feel like the rest ain’t rocket science ladies. The way to get back your connection is think about what you used to do together to just enjoy each other? A really key part of this for me was how I could reconnect to the person that my partner is and see his good points? (When drunk haha) I wrote a list of all the reasons why I like and love him. I held so much resentment towards him, and the aim was to melt that big iceberg inside and to remembering why we’re together in the first place. The warm feelings that came after the big thaw were really powerful ones, and I really felt so much love and appreciation towards him that I hadn’t felt in a while.
Getting back a sense of closeness is so rewarding and can be the first step to picking up where you left off sexually. You need a supportive partner to help address some of the other issues that might be impacting on your sex drive, and I’m so lucky that the boy puts up with all of my quizzing, late night revelations and endless pouring over google to find the solution to my problem.
Now everyone is different so you might not feel like all of these are the best fit for you. If not, don’t give up hope and keep searching or maybe share below what has helped you reconnect to your partner?