When clients talk to me about problems in the bedroom, I encourage them to step back and look at all the factors.
The first step is to not take issues personally, because despite what you may have heard, a dip in action between the sheets isn't always a sign of a relationship in crisis.
It's not uncommon for a gap to exist between the amounts of sex each person wants in a relationship. Though I typically work with women whose sex drives are much lower than their partners, a growing number of women are discovering that their libido is higher than their husband's.
Because our society equates "being a man" with always being horny, all discussions of men with lower sex drives brings up all kinds of shame on both sides of the bed.
When her man shows less interest in sex, a woman may feel unattractive or undesirable, and the man may feel abnormal.
The number one thing to remember is to not slip into blame or shame around the issue. Approach the sexual issue just like any other challenge in your relationship: together, with an open mind and heart.
There are a dozen things that can affect a man's ability to get or maintain an erection and they have little to nothing to do with their partner.
Men, like women, worry and stress about things, but unlike women, they don't have the emotional outlets of girlfriends they can talk to. Psychological issues take their toll on a man's sex drive, too.
One study revealed that 67 percent of men fake orgasms post-divorce because "arousal doesn't thrive in an atmosphere of anxiety."
Not only does this research illustrate the damaging affects of stress and anxiety on sexual drive in general, it also shows us that men feel uncomfortable talking about performance issues in the bedroom.
Though you can encourage your sweetie to open up and talk to you, don't take it personally if he doesn't.
Men often want to shield their partners from work drama or other worries because they don't want their partners to see them as weak or not in control of their emotions.
But if stress remains a continuous factor, lovingly encourage your partner to talk to a therapist, begin a meditation practice, get some exercise, or play golf with his buddies. These are great ways to work through worries, blow off steam, and decrease stress.
Other things besides stress can affect a man's libido.
Lack of adequate sleep can greatly affect a man's interest in sex. And, let's not forget that fueling our bodies with less than stellar meals adversely affects our energy levels and our sex drive!
As well, you must consider the effects of aging on the body.
Once a man reaches his twenties, his testosterone level begins to decline. A man's sex drive is greatly affected by his testosterone levels. One of my clients, in his early thirties, is in great physical shape and is undergoing a testosterone program with his doctor.
If your partner seems to have a lower sex drive than he did before, then it's possible his testosterone is low. It's only a big deal if the two of you make it one. So, encourage him to see his physician for a full check-up, including hormone levels.
Erections require blood flow, so issues with high or low blood pressure as well as medication to treat either can affect a man's ability to get or maintain an erection. And when it comes to health, not only does being out of shape or even a little overweight can affect sex drive.
Open communication is always a plus, but understand that sometimes, sexual problems are embarrassing for a man to talk about. Be kind, loving, and patient with your sweetie. And, don't waste time worrying that you're not attractive or loveable.
If there's a bump in your sex life, don't withdraw or give your partner the cold shoulder. Men, like women, need a reminder that they're truly loved, supported, and accepted no matter what. These kinds of actions go a long way toward building trust in a relationship (and keeping the spark alive).
Many couples report that patience and love during a period of lower sex often lends to a deeper and stronger relationship. There are other ways than intercourse to build trust and intimacy of your relationship.
Debra Smouse believes that within every woman is a vibrant, passionate, and sexy being just itching to make their inner sex kitten roar. To learn more, visit Debra's website. You can also connect with her on Facebook or Twitter.