A common problem I encounter in my work with couples — or with individuals who work with me on concerns in their relationship — is lack of sex.
When two people first connect with each other, they are generally very open and excited — talking and laughing easily. But as relationships become more serious, fear of rejection and engulfment may get triggered, which can lead to many behaviors that negatively affect sex life. They're not as obvious as you might think!
Here are some reasons that your sex life may be lacking…
1. You try and control each other with anger and blame.
What do you do when you feel hurt, scared, rejected — or when you don't get your way? Do you get angry and blame your partner for your feelings? Do you try to control your partner to get him or her to change? Sexuality flourishes when partners feel loved and supported. Blame is not the answer to avoid conflict — and it certainly does not make your partner feel loved.
2. You give yourself up to avoid conflict.
If your partner gets angry and blames you for something, do you give up on communicating and go along with what your partner wants just to avoid the conflict? How do you feel inside when you give yourself up? I have found that when we give ourselves up, we eventually tend to feel resentful and perhaps even numb inside. When we don't take care of ourselves and our needs during conflict, we are not making space for passion and desire.
3. You try to get control by resisting.
If your partner tries to control you, do you withdraw your love in order not to be controlled? Do you go into "resistance-mode" to punish your partner, by not giving him or her anything he or she wants – including sex? Making this a pattern will not help your sex life going forward.
4. You're needy.
All that said, using sex as a form of validation can quickly squash passion. If your partner comes to you like a needy child in search of validation, how do you feel? Most likely, you'll feel pulled into the dynamic of neediness, obligated to make sure that your partner feels okay. Then, your partner will most likely feel the same way if you come to him or her in a state of neediness. There is nothing erotic about neediness.
5. You engage in power struggles.
All of these unproductive — and unhealthy patterns — lead to underlying power struggles, which also squash passion. While some people seem to get sexually excited by fights, many are turned off by them. Power struggles occur when partners try to control each other and resist being controlled in the ways described above.
6. You show no intent to learn.
Intimacy occurs when partners are open to learning with themselves and each other about their conflicts. When the intent is to control rather than learn, the relationship – and the sexuality - suffers.
7. You don't prioritize emotional intimacy.
For many people, emotional intimacy and connection are essential for them to feel turned on. When you are both trying to control each other and not be controlled, and when you are fighting or are distant and disconnected, there is no emotional intimacy.
The connection you felt at the beginning of your relationship cannot survive when your intent is to control, to protect, to avoid, rather than to learn about loving yourself and sharing your love with each other.
8. You don't spend enough time together.
Since good sex generally requires emotional connection, this cannot happen if you both get too busy to connect. When people begin dating, they set time aside to be together. But once couples settle into a routine — either by living together or getting married — they often forget about scheduling intentional time to spend together.
While some people might be able to work all day, take care of kids, watch TV and then get into bed and feel like making love, many people can't do that. They are either too tired or feel too emotionally distant to get turned on. So take out your calendars and make some plans to spend time with your partner! A date goes a long way…
9. You have different libidos.
Some people have a high sex drive and others don't – often due to the amount of testosterone in their bodies. Men often have a higher sex drive than women, but I've worked with many women who have a higher sex drive then their man, or than their same-sex partner.
When partners are open and caring about themselves and each other, they can find a loving way to manage this, but if their intent is to control each other in the unhealthy dynamics I describe above, then it can create many problems for them.
All of these issues can be healed when love has a higher priority than control. When you learn to love yourself and share your love with your partner, then you will find a loving way of being together. This is what creates and maintains a passionate sex life throughout your relationship.