Updated: Feb 6, 2022
Let’s Cut To The Chase……What’s Really Going On For Couples?
We would all like to think that the special sexual connection we are having with our beloved will last an entire life time. That the unique chemistry we are experiencing and the degree of desire we have for each other, will be enough to hold us through. That the strength of our connection will meet all relationship challenges and always win out in the end.
Our well intentioned romantic expectations and conventional ideas, blanket the truth and leave many couples feeling disappointed, unsatisfied at not being met and often confused at what to do next.
Sexual arousal is not a static, linear line of energy. It is an ever changing, continually growing and evolving energetic that shows up differently all the time.
What sexually attracts us and arouses us, changes significantly on a daily and even momentary basis. What each person requires for fulfilling sexual connection is continually influenced by a variety of factors:
1) Current Amount of Trust and Safety Being Felt Today
Trust and safety are the basic building blocks of intimacy and sexual connection. How much you open to your partner physically and emotionally, is a direct reflection of the current amount of trust and safety you are experiencing in your relationship.
If we are not feeling safe, we will usually shutdown in our bodies and/or armour up in our hearts. Only extending a trickle of the energy we are capable of. If you are not able to clearly communicate your current desires and boundaries to each other, then the degree of safety and trust is greatly diminished.
2) Current Quality of Intimate Communication Being Openly Shared
Day to day invitations of intimate connection can be found in the most mundane of tasks. These often, overlooked momentary connections set us up beautifully for the bedroom later on. Foreplay isn’t something that you allow a mere 15 minutes for, prior to penetration. Foreplay is built with the little things, continuously throughout the day.
If our communication feels awkward, if we are hesitating sharing our truth, if we are fearing losing the connection, if we are scared of having disagreements or confrontations, if we are feeling shame in talking about our sex, then we are missing the basic communications skills that are required for negotiating our needs.
3) Level of Meaning That Each Person Brings to the Experience
Repetitive sexual acts without meaningful connection fall flat after the initial hormone induced honeymoon period. As our relationship begins to mature, so do our requirements for what makes our sexual experiences meaningful and what makes our sexual arousal tick over. The buttons that we initially pushed to evoke sexual responses, become less and less effective over time.
New buttons are the reward for courageously sharing ourselves and revealing deeper layers of our intimate, personal landscape.
4) Lifestage We Are Currently Experiencing
Nature offers us ongoing challenge. Each biological life stage we are currently experiencing impacts differently on our arousal needs and desires.
If you are in a man’s body, your arousal needs vary according to your hormonal changes that begin at puberty and start changing from 30yrs old, with more significant differences noticed in the mid to late 40's, 50's and 60's.
If you are in a woman’s body, your arousal needs change according to your monthly menstruation cycle, pregnancy, early motherhood, menopause and post menopause. Most significantly, we see this after a woman experiences her most powerful life initiation, the transition from maidenhood to motherhood.
5) Degree of Energy Being Extended and the Amount of Space Required for Desire to Flourish
Love requires closeness and desire requires space.
It is the (1) amount of energy and the (2) degree of intensity in that energy, counter balanced with the (3) volume of spaciousness that we have for our individual autonomy, that makes up our energetic exchange. If there is too much energy and intensity extended, our partners will naturally rescind by reducing the amount of energy that they bring to the connection and the overall quality of the meeting lessens. If there is too much closeness and space is lacking, behaviours of co-dependant relating ensue.
6) State of Physical and Mental Health
Our current state of health and any meds we are taking, directly impact our arousal levels. It doesn't mean you can't meet each other, it means that extra sensitivity, care and creativity are required to negotiate the different ways to intimately meet each other during this time.
What Can We Do To Get In Sync With Each Other?
When our sexual libidos and desire are in sync we feel fantastic, connected to ourselves, our partners and to life itself. When our arousal needs naturally change, we quite often have no idea how to get things back on track. We lack the self knowledge, the authentic languaging and negotiating skills to navigate this next part of the terrain.
What do we need to be aware of, so that we can meet each other?
a) Accepting Where You Are Currently At
Where you are at, is where you are at. There’s nothing wrong with that. Your mind will throw up all sorts of resistances and stories about how you should be different from where you are and offer you all types of fears around loosing something or someone. If you can accept where you're at, change then becomes imminent and your partner will have a much better chance of accepting that too.
In accepting where you are, rather than where you think you should be, your nervous system relaxes in relief.
b) Accepting Your Current Pace
Accept that you have your own unique and natural pace with things. Some of us are snails and some of us are racehorses. The likelihood of your partner being at exactly the same pace throughout the duration of your relationship is miniscule. The sooner you can begin to honour that you have your own pace, the sooner you can better direct your partner in how you need to be met.
c) Accepting Where Your Partner Is Currently At
Your partner is where they are. There’s nothing wrong with where they are, it is just different to where you are.
If you can’t meet your partner where they are, the likelihood of creating positive change together decreases and the resistances continue. If you can accept your partner and work with them, instead of in opposition to them, you can start to align yourselves on the same page together.
d) Accepting Your Partners Pace
Your partner has their own pace in which they will feel comfortable to open up with you.
We can only move forward from the slowest pace. Push your partner too fast and they will freeze, disassociate or become defensive. If you can accept that your partner needs you to meet them at their own pace, this builds more trustability and encourages them to open.
Once we have engaged in self enquiry and we know where we are both at and what our starting pace is, we can then begin to explore where we CAN meet each other.
Rather than choose to stay in sexual shut down, ongoing struggle or only meeting minimally, we can begin to define what our next comfortable way of opening actually is, for both parties. It may mean that you have to start from scratch and discover each other all over again. It may mean that before you can go anywhere sexually with each other, new levels of trust and safety need to be felt and established. That may look like lots of foot massages by candle light and hand holding for a while, whilst you are tentatively listening to each other with fresh, new ears.
Mismatched libidos can be a necessary pause. It can allows us catch up time to re-orientate and come back to ourselves. The pause can be a precious opportunity to learn new communication skills in aligning our sexual desires, where we are evolving and growing together.