"I seem to always want sex, while Sharon never seems to want it... this has been causing a problem in our relationship the whole time we have been married."
"So this was a problem from the very beginning of the relationship?" I asked.
"Yes. Neither of us had much sexual experience before meeting each other. We both thought it would get better in time, but it just hasn't. And it's causing a lot of conflict."
As Michael and I explored the dynamics of their relationship, it became apparent that there were two aspects to this problem:
First, Michael was sexually addicted. That is, he used sex as a way to take away feelings of anxiety, inadequacy, emptiness, loneliness, fear and stress. He came to Sharon as a needy little boy, a role Sharon did not find at all erotic. Sex had become a control issue for Michael.
To add to their issues, Sharon had a very low sex drive. She never thought about sex, never felt any sexual desire, and could very well live her life without being sexual. Michael was quite sure that Sharon had never had an orgasm — at least not with him.
The combination of these two issues was creating a very big problem for Michael and Sharon.
Michael and I worked on his neediness, his sexual addiction, and his desire to control Sharon's sexual urges. He worked hard to learn how to fill himself up and take loving care of himself, so that he was not needy and controlling when he interacted with Sharon. Michael began to feel much happier, and he and Sharon started to become more emotionally intimate.
However, their sex life was still almost nonexistent. Sharon felt slightly inclined toward sex once a month, but even then it was not something she sought out. I suggested to Michael that it was time for Sharon to become involved in our sessions if she was willing.
Sharon was willing. She had been feeling badly about her lack of sexual desire for a long time — mainly because she loved Michael and wanted him to be happy. She felt closer to him now that he was no longer frustrating her with his neediness, and she truly wanted to have a greater desire for sex.
I worked with Sharon on two levels: physical and emotional. On the physical level, I asked her to get her hormones tested. It turned out that there was a hormonal imbalance contributing to her low sex drive, and she found natural remedies to deal with the issue.
Sharon had grown up in a sexually repressed household. In her mind, sex was not something that a "good" girl desired or enjoyed. She was never allowed to touch herself and had never learned to reach orgasm by herself. I suggested a few books for her to read and we worked together in sessions. By doing so, Sharon was able to overcome the fears and beliefs that she grew up with, and finally learned to reach orgasm. This made a big difference in her desire to have sex with Michael.
Sharon now finds herself desiring sex around once a week and is able to enjoy a healthy sexual relationship with Michael at other times as well. Because Michael is no longer needy and controlling with Sharon, she is no longer resistant. While there will always be a difference between Michael's desire for sex and Sharon's (as there is with most couples), Michael and Sharon have found a comfortable balance that works for both of them.
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