Complexity of Our Relationship and The Influence on Our Sexual Desire
For a long time, humans have tried to understand the mysteries of sexuality and more specifically how to create sexual desire in men and in women. There have been many debates, experiences, research, theories and hypotheses that came forth from the subject. To this day, there is still no consensus because the process of sexual desire is complex, variable, individual and also relational.
The relationship aspect is probably what makes sexual desire in humans the more volatile and unpredictable. It has the capacity to create a very strong desire or it can completely and utterly shut it down. It is also for this reason that brings couples to consult a sex therapist in therapy, for difficulty with the level of sexual desire in men and in women. It is actually one of the most difficult issues to treat, but not impossible.
Sexual desire issues are common in relationships for either one or both partners and even a positive thing! Although it is normal, it doesn’t make things easier to handle. In fact, contrary to the other categories (physiological and emotional), relational sexual desire follows a linear path. On top of that, it is often associated with one or more of the other types of desires that we described in the previous article. Let us start by describing the different types of sexual desire in the relationship category.
Sexual desire related to relationship dynamics
The beginning of a relationship is often a mixed spiral of euphoria, passion and novelty that instantly creates in a person sexual desire towards their partner. This step in a relationship is normally satisfying when it comes to sex because both partners feel desirable, desired and desire towards each other. The smallest amount of stimulation or thought that comes from the other person creates sexual arousal and a desire to have sexual activities with that person. It is a desire primarily based on the exploration of the other person which for many cultivates their adventurous and creative side of sexuality.
Romantic & sexual desire
The second step can quickly happen when both partners fall in love for each other and emotional aspects start to play in the sexual desire. This sexual desire is characterised by the presence of love between partners. They start to know more things about each other and they share a form of intimacy that feels unique to them. A form of admiration starts to settle in which energy motivates and creates sexual desire between the spouses. This drive is often more affectionate, mixed in with sexual and sensual aspects. This desire can be motivated by the want of making a family together and to get closer on an emotional level. At this phase, we tend to find a sexual desire of emotional fusion with the other. This creates the feeling of being unique in the other persons eyes during sex and especially when there is penetration (vaginal, oral or anal). This phase lasts 1 to 3 years, but rarely longer.
If a couple is capable of developing feelings of attachment and commitment towards each other, they move on to the next phase of sexual desire. This type of desire has often lost its sexual component and it is replaced with a profound sense of reciprocity and affection. We know our partner better, which also entails knowing the less admirable and desirable traits they have. This weighs heavily on the sexual desire that we have towards them in a negative way. Therefore, there is a decrease in sexual creativity in the couple, a routine is constructed, we start taking our partner for granted, we don’t seduce them anymore, sensuality and eroticism disappears. This is especially common in couples who start having children. Unfortunately for some, the length of this phase makes it hard for them to overcome it once the family situation has become more stable.
Generally, much frustration, repetitive conflicts and rejection has created a distance on the sexual aspect of the relationship between the partners. Major differences are made apparent between them, which makes it hard to have sexual desire towards each other. The difference between the levels of sexual desire is something that also comes to be more problematic. This is where we notice that there is a HDP (High Desire Partner) and a LDP (Low Desire Partner). This dynamic of difference between the levels of sexual desire will test the alliance that the couple has built during their years of the relationship.
Self-Validated Desire phase
This fourth and last phase of sexual desire is a tough patch to get through, as it requires work on ourselves and the couple. Many couples decide to stagnate at the previous phase of attachment and the lovers will stay unsatisfied on the sexual level. Others will consider terminating their relationship to solve their sexual and relational difficulties. Some may choose infidelity to satisfy their sexual needs that their partner can’t or won’t answer. There are others who choose to have an open relationship where one or both partners have sex with other people. The two last options don’t truly resolve the dilemmas in the couple. Learn how to get pass this normal phase of your relationship.
Learn more about the author
Sex therapist & psychotherapist in Downtown Montreal
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