Dear Dr. Jenni,
My husband has a far higher sex drive than I do. I really love him, but I feel so much pressure to match his drive. I really want to want, but it’s not there for me. I can’t even blame menopause yet. Suggestions?
—Wanting to Want
It’s very normal to have two different levels of libido. There is no rule that you need to match his drive, nor he match yours. Don’t beat yourself up for having the sex drive you have. It is what it is, and the challenge becomes how to make it work in the relationship.
The issue is really: “What is desire?” It is often constructed as this uncontrollable, carnal urge to rip off clothes and have wild, rough sex. But what if we considered desire as simply wanting something? In your case, you do want something — to feel a deeper desire for sex. However, because you love your husband, I’m guessing that you also want connection. Can you want from a place that says, “I want to have sex not because I necessarily want to rip his clothes off, but because I know it’s good for relationship health and sustaining connection”?
I often offer the gym metaphor.
There are mornings you prefer not to get up early and hit the treadmill, but you do so because you know it’s good for cardiovascular health. Because you know that once you are walking and getting into it, adrenal kicks in, and you will feel energized and good.
I’m not saying that you have to look at sex as a chore, but rather an activity that you desire from a place of connection, where you trust it will feel good once you get started and warmed up.
It’s a different way to look at it.
Dear Dr. Jenni,
I have yet to orgasm with my boyfriend. Sometimes when we are having sex, the experience is so pleasurable and building that I cry. I know the orgasm is coming but I can’t help the feelings, and I just get very emotional. I can’t stand it! I want to orgasm but the crying is getting in the way! Why is this happening and how can I make it stop?
—Wants a Release
Orgasm is not something that you can make happen. It’s an energetic experience that you learn to surrender to. Ask yourself, what you are holding on to? With your tears, it seems like there is a huge release happening, but not in the body part you are hoping for.
While I can’t answer why crying happens for you without more information, many people may feel a fear of being vulnerable, theintimacyinstitute.org.] which can emerge as tears. Other people experience tears of frustration when anticipating and hoping: Will I orgasm this time? This question becomes the tape recording that plays over and over as we enter into sexual intimacy, blocking us from relaxing and allowing us to surrender.
You describe struggling to orgasm with your boyfriend, which leads me to assume that you can alone. Often this is the case because everything is easier when alone. We are not on stage being watched. But what if we get off stage when we are with our partners? Herein lies the secret to letting go — to stripping away that recurring tape recording.
Rather than aiming for this goal of orgasm, let go into the whole experience of pleasure without an end expectation. The idea is to substitute performance for pleasure, function for intimacy. Once we fully let go, we surprise ourselves with the power and energy of what can emerge.
Send questions for Jenni Skyler, Ph.D., to firstname.lastname@example.org. Skyler is a sex therapist and board-certified sexologist who runs The Intimacy Institute in Boulder, www.theintimacyinstitute.org.