12 Apr Money & Sex In Relationships: What Happens When Sex Declines? (Part I)
As an individual and couples therapist, people most often have come to see me about relationship problems centered on sex, intimacy and money. If money or sex is not one of the presenting problems or primary complaints, the issue will nonetheless eventually surface.
Both sex and money share the commonality of being finite. Regardless of how much money and sex one might have at any given point in a relationship that can change and usually does vacillate throughout the relationship. Perhaps that’s what makes sex and money such vulnerable topics and common places of tension.
What happens when sex isn’t occurring as frequently as you would prefer? How do you keep the flame burning after years of marriage?
In the beginning of your storybook romance, sexual chemistry was strong and perhaps you made love every chance you could get. Your partner met your needs without being asked. You were flooded with physical sensations that were reassuring and you felt that you had made the right decision in choosing your partner.
Over time things have changed. Your partner doesn’t want sex at the same time as you do. Perhaps you don’t want to have sex as frequently as he does. Perhaps he balks at your requests for more romance and seduction. He’s not as attractive as you once thought. Other people look more exciting than your partner. Your sexual feelings wane. Nothing is as frightening as losing attraction for a spouse whom you’ve invested yourself in, had children with, and once desired to grow old with.
When sex goes off-line you panic that you’ve fallen out of love and there is no road back. In order to get back sexual feelings you must be willing to re-idealize your lover. Dropping the criticalness that obscures much of what you liked in the first place, you may begin to see your partner’s virtues, perhaps their sudden attractiveness across a crowded party, their kindness, their charisma in the presence of others. You must risk asking for what you want directly. And you must commit to giving love in the way that your partner receives it best. You must acknowledge separateness and enjoy individuality. Interest is not just being caught by what glitters but rather an investment of depth and intention in who another is.
Read Part II: What happens When Money Declines?