Dear Dr Nikki,
I read your recent blog post on guilty sex and I have a problem that relates to this. I am the one in the relationship that has a higher sex drive and is often rejected by my wife sexually.
What I am struggling with is the word compromise. I’m told all the time that I have to compromise, but I feel like this is one sided.
I understand that I should never push or force her to have sex with me, but if I want it and she doesn’t, should it always just be that we don’t have sex? What about the other person who has a high sex drive? I feel like our sex life is all one sided towards what she wants but don’t want to push her out of fear of seeming like a bit of a jerk. What do I do?
I completely understand your struggles. This is different to guilty sex as having with someone out of guilt and not being present in the moment can have a more negative effect long term on a relationship than positively rejecting them and reassuring them of love and attraction. Compromise is important in a relationship but in the bedroom, we also need to balance that with sexual boundaries.
For women, the sex debate can often lay in their favour as the act of penetration sometimes can feel uncomfortable and exhausting. Depending on what is going on in a woman’s cycle and life, penis vagina sex can feel overwhelming where the same act on another day is what is desired. That is the beauty of female sexuality, it goes up and down and you might just have to ride the wave with her.
However, if being rejected sexually is an ongoing issue, there are a few things you can do.
- Explore sexual satisfaction. I don’t want to hurt your ego here and sexual satisfaction does require two people to be engaged, but sometimes when a woman withdraws from sex, one of the first reasons can be because she is not sexually excited by the acts that might follow. This is very normal though and can happen when you are with someone for a longer period of time because often people don’t talk about sex in relationships and don’t stop to revisit what each other wants. Couple this with exhaustions and stress and this is where the old headache joke comes in. Without accusing your partner of constantly rejecting, talk to her about what she might want and what she wants to change.
- Challenge yourself as to why you want sex. As much as many men are not aware, sex is a way to connected and show love between two people and not just always about getting off. If it’s a connection you are desiring and a closeness to your wife, then look for other ways you might be able to do that when she is saying ‘no’ to sex. She might be saying no to penis/vagina sex but other forms of kissing and touching might be ok if it’s not followed by the pressure of penetration sex. If it’s closeness and love you long for, be creative and maybe even more gentle sometimes with how you achieve that.
- Address any issues going on in the relationship. Women are often tied emotionally to sex. Don’t get me wrong, they can be the ones to take control and get horny too, but if they are holding on to any resentment or issues, it can shut down their desire to have sex with the person they are holding onto these issues about. If you wife doesn’t want sex, she might be tired, she might be exhausted or feeling overwhelmed and that’s totally ok. But she also might be holding on to negative emotions and it’s important to investigate if that’s going on and impacting the bedroom nos.
I hope this helps and please remember that no one has the perfect sex life. A great sex life is one that is worked on and this issue is something that so many people experience. It’s very normally but there are ways around it, it just needs a little focus and communication to work out how.