I have a serious questions for you. My male partner is without libido and from what I gather, this is nothing new to him. We’ve talked about it and both feel if I were to instigate sexual activity he’d jump right in. The problem is I don’t have any desire, either. I am on Prozac but have been for years and don’t think that’s the problem. I’m in my 60s and my partner is in his mid 50s. Neither of us are really bemoaning the lack of sexual activity but obviously it bothers me more than I thought or I wouldn’t be posting. Honestly, I don’t want to be the instigator. I want him to be. I want him to have the desire. Thoughts?
Since we have met in person I’m going to take more liberty than I might with a stranger. You and your male partner have talked and I assume you told him you want him to instigate more? He needs to know what you want in order to figure out his role as your partner, and he needs to give you an answer—even if it’s not the one you want to hear. This is a tough one because the responsibility lies with both of you and I am unwilling to tell you what you ‘ought’ to do to bring him out…especially if it feels likes an expectation that you will carry the burden of initiating sex. It needs to be mutual or one of you will end up resenting the other.
So, a few thoughts here:
- Plan a night every two weeks for intimacy. I know it sounds forced but if you make a date then it becomes a mutual agreement—to be in that place and to consent to some level of intimacy. It doesn’t have to start with an explicit agreement to have sex but maybe a sexy movie (Lady Chatterley’s Lover or something similarly appealing). You sit next to each other, have a glass of wine or something relaxing, and make physical contact–holding hands, a caress–something. Alternately you could read to each other if that’s something you like doing (one of my biggest fantasies is being read to).
- Send him an invitation. “I want you to ravish me tonight.” “I want a foot massage that lingers and turns into ___________”. You’re asking and inviting–telling him you are receptive and desirous of his company. Wrap the invitation up in a silk scarf and ask him to use it creatively (if one of you might like that kind of thing). You are trying to fuel his fire as well as your own.
- Therapy/counseling is an option if you think that the two of you might need some help sorting out issues that are standing in the way of sexual desire. Or a dialogue:
- This is what I like about our sex, ___________________.
- When we do this I always feel ___________________
- I feel like I want more of ___________, or I’m missing those times of _________________
You both do this as a written exercise and then share if you are both willing. Shared or not the exercise might spur some awareness of what is keeping one of you from initiating sex.
- This is rarely my first suggestion, but has he had his testosterone level checked? Or in general had a medical exam recently to see if everything is OK?
- You could be the instigator for a while, hoping that the resumption of sexual activity gets him interested in sex more regularly. I think that for women, and I would assume for some men, desire is part mental and practice helps us fine-tune that particular muscle, if you will. The more you have it, the more you want it kind of thing.
I haven’t touched on your lack of desire. Maybe a good place to start is by getting yourself more aroused? I’d suggest a private sexual meditation practice (more to come on that). The focus is to get in touch with your body through touch and self-stimulation. It’s not about reaching an orgasm but increasing feelings of arousal–feeling the sensations when you touch yourself, awakening the skin and genitals. Combine this with a broader level of self-care like massages, surrounding yourself with sensuous experiences, and thinking about arousal and sex. You want to think yourself into feeling and being sexy.
It’s about you. AND…when we’re feeling more sexually awake we are sending out sexy vibes. Your partner will sense this and hopefully he’ll respond. You might suggest he work on his awareness around desire too.
I think it’s wonderful that the two of you are talking about this. Bravo!
And, two book suggestions:
Partners in Passion, A Guide to Great Sex, Emotional Intimacy and Long-term Love by Mark Michaels & Patricia Johnson. It’s getting rave reviews and comes highly recommended.
A Passionate Marriage, Keeping Love and Intimacy Alive in Committed Relationships by David Schnarch. I loved this book.