So. We’ve already established that you don’t necessarily have a LOW sex drive (for more info, read this post). It’s just different.
But having a partner with an opposite level of sex drive, or a predominantly different type of sex drive (see this post) can cause conflict. Often they feel rejected, confused, angry. Or they might accuse you of never being up for it. When you feel like you are letting your partner down in this way, it feels pretty shitty. Up until writing this blog, I’ve felt like there was something wrong with me– and in some way, I was to blame.
Having “the chat” can be pretty bloody daunting. I’m shit at having sex? Yes, now lets have a conversation alllllll about it!
But now, armed with my knowledge about different sex drive types and our sex drives being on a spectrum (some days my vagina is super happy, others shes a grumpy hermit), I feel much more hopeful about my sex drive and the issues in my relationship. Want to know about how my conversation with my boyfriend went when we discussed this? And my top tips in discussing your sex drive differences? Hopefully you can have the courage to open up about this too 🙂
Explaining the issues in the bedroom
I think it’s always a good plan to have those “serious chats” when you are doing something else to occupy your mind. Not sat opposite each other intensely staring each other down. Or in bed at the end of a long day (trust me, not a good plan!). But maybe whilst going for a walk, cooking dinner or washing up. That way there is no awkward eye contact, and you both feel more relaxed. I broke the conversation with the boyf whilst driving. It was good.
I explained to him that I’d been reading recently and I’d found out a bit more about different types of sex drives and I’d really like to talk about what I found. His ears pricked up (might have been the mention of the word sex!). I could feel myself going red, retreating into myself, feeling like I wanted to change the topic, but I stuck with it.
I told him about the different types of desire, and how for some people it goes desire>arousal, but I think I’m more of a arousal>desire kinda girl. And it went great!
The boyf was really interested in what I’d found, and a lot of it made sense to him. He said he thought I didn’t think about sex a lot, and I am shy in coming forwards with my desires. He also wanted to know more from me about what I needed from him, and talked about his experiences of desire and arousal. For him, sex was completely about pleasure- for both of us. He also recognised that he thinks about sex a lot, and it came naturally to him to want sex more because of this. He was also sad I’d kept this to myself and wanted to know more about how I felt, and what would help me get turned on.
For me, a huge weight felt like it’d been lifted- it was all out in the open, I wasn’t a freak (it felt easier to explain that it’s backed up by science and experiments and real sciency people!). And most of all, I got to go on a great feminist rant about sex drives and he listened. Fab all round!
I also had a HUGE breakthrough in my mind about what sex means to me (which stems from thinking about why we have sex)- more on this later!
What I learned:
Most importantly (for those of you wanting to try this at home) the conversation was such a positive experience. It brought us closer together. I learned loads about how someone else thinks about sex, especially someone of the opposite gender, and for the first time we were both open with each other about our feelings around what is a pretty awkward topic. I’d genuinely recommend it!
Obviously, I was super nervous about broaching the topic. I wasn’t sure how he’d react, and when we’d spoken about sex before it seemed to just end up me feeling like I was an alien because my sex drive wasn’t like his. So, to help keep you calm and on point, my top tips for speaking to your partner are:
- ask their permission to tell them what you’ve found out (you could throw in how keen you are to make things good between you that you’ve put in the research- brownie points!)
- explain the issue and the differences in desire (between men and women, or just at different times of the month/related to your mental and physical health)
- reiterate that it’s not them and tell them how much you care about them and want to make things in the bedroom great between you two
- let them know you are doing your best to try and understand yourself and what you need and want, and you’d love for them to help you along the way
- its ok for you to not know what you want or need, that might take time. Just let them know you’re working on it.
- encourage them to ask questions
- answer any questions as openly and honestly as you can
If you are struggling to know how to start, you could always ask them to read a blog post from this site to start the conversation!
It’s ok to not have all of the answers (I definitely don’t!) but it’s about being on that journey together.
Are you the partner on the receiving end of the “dreaded chat”?
If you are the partner feeling fed up of being rejected all the time, I imagine life is bloody hard for you too. You just want us to be happy, but you’ve got needs too, right? There is nothing wrong with that, and expressing your needs and desires is really important for communication. It also reminds us that you do want us and find us attractive.
There are a few things I’d suggest you do to help us with the conversation.
- Doing research into different types of sexual desire is super useful- it means you can start to understand us and know it’s not you. But let us tell you how it feels for us, not just based on a theory.
- Be supportive- tell us you are here for us, you want things to be great between us too, you’d love to help us explore ourselves and our needs
- Be warm and caring- hug us, tell us you love us, let us know you are glad we spoke, how much you want to help
- Ask us questions
- Try not to judge us- we feel like we’re letting down the whole world and ourselves when we don’t want to have sex. Trust me, our own judgement is bad enough.
- Tell us how you feel. It was so sad hearing my boyfriend say how rejected and low he feels when I brush him off.
- Know that we love you back and hate how we make you feel that way. We hate ourselves even more that we’re causing that situation.
- Find out what we want and need. Keep asking because this may change.
- Ask about whether there is anything else you can do/not do. Give us a safe space to talk about this.
- Know that we might not know what we want/need and might require time and space to work this out
- Be patient
So hopefully that helps little pearls. Hang on in there and be brave- those conversations will feel like a walk in the park by the end. And good luck!