Couples often come to my office with problems in adjusting their sexual needs. Not only do they have different levels of excitement, desire to touch and be touched, different priorities during the week with a full schedule… but they don’t know how to talk to each other about it. This is where the need to consult a sexologist comes into play. As an outsider, I can point you in the right direction, suggest changes in your current attempts to solve difficulties, or ask a question out loud that has been hanging in the air for a long time.
Recently I noticed that one of the most common problems in couples with disturbed sexual needs is difficulty initiating sex. It appears both in new relationships and in long-term marriages and can very effectively block closeness (both physical and emotional).
Where does this problem come from and how can we overcome it?
Unfortunately, we cannot avoid the classic “communication problem” here. As a psychologist, I realize how trite the topic of communication in relationships is, but we would not return to it so eagerly if it were not the basis of most misunderstandings.
If I know what my partner expects from sex, what excites her, what irritates her, when she likes to have sex, and when it is the last topic on her mind… then the topic of initiating closeness becomes more intuitive. However, if I assume that the person I am with has the same needs at the same time as me – then the problems begin. Let’s not be afraid to ask questions. This is simple advice, but we often forget about it in our everyday lives. Examples of questions we can ask a partner are:
-> How can I show you that I want to have sex so that it will be pleasant for you? Do you prefer it if I ask you directly or, for example, kiss you for a long time?
-> Are there moments when you feel like having sex but you don’t know how to tell me? Which for example?
-> I’m terribly excited and I want you. Would you like to go to bed with me now?
In the case of relational topics, most problems tend to fall into established patterns and that is why it is difficult for us to deal with them. Below I would like to illustrate one of such patterns using the example of Danusia and Janek’s relationship (imaginary characters).
Danusia (25) is a sensual, delicate woman. I like sex, but I need a longer time to warm up and get excited. Directly touching her intimate zones before she is properly prepared is unpleasant and closing for her. He likes kisses on the neck, massages and stroking the face.
Janek (26) thinks a lot about sex and is very excited by his current partner. He has a romantic vision of a lover who passionately reaches out to a woman, rips off her clothes and immediately proceeds to animalistic sex. His intercourse is usually short, quick and intense.
As you can guess, these people may have a big problem initiating sex if they don’t know their needs and motivations. He will try to make “romantic gestures”, she will perceive it as too violent. They will both experience rejection, lack of understanding… which will only further block them from trying to tell their partner about their fantasies. After a while, they will assume that the other person simply does not want to have sex with them and both will stop taking the initiative.
What then happens in the office is a joint exploration of the broad context of the sexual world of both people. In this way, not only me, but also they themselves have the opportunity to hear direct answers to questions that they were afraid of or didn’t even think to ask themselves.
Author: Julia Rzyska