This article first appeared on PublicHouse.sg.
Is sex a job or a joy to you? Sex means many things to different people, often depending on where they are emotionally, or even the time of their life. For some, it is a chore, a duty, an obligation, simply a way to keep the harmony in a relationship. For others, it may be a way to ensure food gets put on the table. Sex may even be viewed as a strategic decision to reduce the chances of the partner seeking sex elsewhere.
For other people, sex is pure bliss. To them, sex is their way of expressing themselves; a part of their way of life which is as natural as breathing. Through sex, there is the merging of two bodies; it is where two souls come together, the two hearts beating as one. Cliché as this description of enmeshment might sound, this intimate emotional connection is entirely possible and highly attainable with some conscious practice – and from there, the self-consciousness becomes less apparent, until it becomes subconscious.
What I would like to focus on, however, is the type of sex that is less joy, but more of an aggravation for some. There are many possible psychological reasons why one would not want sex – one might be tired, depressed, stressed from work, or any other kind of anxiety. Then there is also when one is literally experiencing a headache, when sex is uncomfortable, even painful, or when a woman is going through menstruation. There are those who do not want sex because they simply do not feel a need or desire for it. What happens when one has little or no interest in sex most of the time? What can one do? Here are five tips:
1. Get honest within. Are you giving lame excuses, or genuine reasons for not wanting sex? Is there any element of truth in it? Rather than just sweep things under the carpet, do a check-in with yourself. Be completely honest. What would make sex better for you? The difficulties you have in coping with stress, anxiety, challenges, should all be considered.
2. Quality vs quantity. A person with low sexual drive will also want to increase the frequency of sexual activity to appease his or her partner. Rather than focusing on the quantity, how about also exploring the quality of it? If sex was more pleasurable, would you want to do it more often? It is not quite chicken-and-egg. It can be something that can be pursued concurrently.
3. Examine the repercussions. Are you afraid of the cold shoulder you receive from your partner when you say no to sex? Have you found yourself “forcing” yourself to have sex? Or have you faked an orgasm just to get it over with? If there were no repercussions, if you were not afraid, what would you do differently? Explore that.
4. Communicate, communicate, communicate! You really need to be communicating with your partner about what support you need – be as specific as possible. Falling silent, changing the subject, or making faces to confuse your partner is only going to prevent any authentic communication, and become counter-productive. Sexual communication is still communication. With practice, it will become easier asking for what you want in the bedroom.
5. Get professional help. There is no need to be struggling like a lone warrior. There is no glory in pain. You may wish to consider engaging a clinical sexologist or sex therapist. Sexual counselling or coaching can only make a strong relationship even more solid.
Dr Martha Lee is Founder and Clinical Sexologist of Eros Coaching in Singapore. She is a certified sexuality educator with AASECT (American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists), as well as certified sexologist with ACS (American College of Sexologists). She holds a Doctorate in Human Sexuality from Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality as well as certificates in practical counselling, life coaching and sex therapy. She is available to provide sexuality and intimacy coaching for individuals and couples, conduct sexual education workshops and speak at public events in Asia. For more, visit www.eroscoaching.com.