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Myths About Sexual Desire in a Relationship

Updated: Jul 2, 2019

By Taylor Cnudde, Graduate Intern

This is part 2 of a two part series on Desire and Passion. You can find part one here.

There are many widely held and shame driven beliefs about having low sexual desires. If one partner desires sex and the other doesn’t, it can be very frustrating for a couple and can often lead to feelings of embarrassment, guilt, blame, and distance or conflict between partners. However,it’s important to look at all the factors that may be contributing to the issue. If you have been experiencing little to no sexual desire for an extended period of time it’s possible you have gotten used to the feeling and you may not even miss it. However, by making an effort to take a closer look at the factors contributing to a low sex drive, understanding the problems, and seeking outside help if needed, you can restore a healthy drive and sex life for yourself and your relationship.

The first myth is that if a person has no desire to be sexually active there must be something medically wrong with them. While it may be true that a low sex drive can come from hormonal or physical changes, this isn’t always the case. Once a potential medical or biological cause is ruled out, often, low sexual desire is the result of how a person feels about the relationship, their partner, or themselves and these factors are what should be looked into first.

The second myth is that sexual desire can be replaced by other pleasurable sensations such as eating junk food, alcohol use, drugs, or any other form of escapism. It’s possible you have found yourself in a cycle of numbing with your favorite snack, another drink, smoking, or other activity in order to avoid feelings of guilt, shame, or fear around sexual desires.These types of activities provide an immediate rush of pleasure that can allow us to momentarily distract us from the discomfort of not receiving what we really want. Therapist Pamela Madsen explains “what we are really wanting is not going to be found in our refrigerator, and that peak experience is never anything that we can feel good about in the morning”. If you feel that you may be numbing and muting sexual desires with excessive eating, binge watching tv, over exercising, or other behaviors, it’s important to speak with a professional for help and allow yourself to regain desire in a healthy and fulfilling way.

The third myth is that sex is a barometer of the level of love a couple has in the relationship.If one partner desires sex and the other doesn’t, it can lead to one partner feeling like they are not receiving the love or care that they are looking for from an intimate partner. Some people may think, or even suggest, that the partner who wants sex will have to settle for a non-intimate relationship. However, relationships are about compromise, and one’s sex life is no different. It’s imperative to speak openly with your partner about the sex life each of you want, and come to a compromise that feels mutually satisfying and fulfills both partner’s intimate and physical needs.

Problems with emotional intimacy are often dealt with before problems with desire discrepancies,and for most couples feeling desired by your partner is equally as important as the frequency of sexual activity in the couple. Sexual activity can sometimes be used as a substitute for true emotional connection and it is important for any couple who is feeling disconnected physically, that they also address the other ways in which they may be experiencing disconnection and lack of intimacy as well. If you feel there is a difference between the level of intimacy you desire in your relationship and the one you have, think about speaking with your partner or seeking counseling in order to maintain what is such an important aspect of a healthy life and relationship.

If you would like to initiate more intimate conversations with your partner, but need some support, please reach out! Our counselors are all sex-positive and supportive of healthy individual and relational sexuality and exploration. We would love to help you and your partner rediscover your passion for each other. You can book an appointment or a free phone consultation through our Book Online portal.


This is part one in a two part series on Desire and Passion in Relationships by Taylor Cnudde for Austin STRONG: Relationship Building Center

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