Desire discrepancy is one of the greatest challenges for all couples that are in committed relationships. This topic ranks amongst the top issues that individuals or couples schedule an appointment to see a sex therapist. If you are in a romantic relationship, you may have or are experiencing the challenges, the frustration, and the shame around either wanting more sex than your partner, or not wanting as much.
It is important to note that trust and vulnerability are primary components of any healthy relationship, romantic or otherwise. So those sills will be discussed, explored, and improved upon during and outside of session. It is difficult to want to have sex with someone if there is low trust or difficulty becoming vulnerable.
The reasons people struggle with desire discrepancies is complex. Finding an experienced therapist that specializes and has gone through the necessary education and training in sex therapy is a great place to start when wanting to unravel all the issues that maybe contributing to this issue.
Start with finding the right therapist. The American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists is an interdisciplinary professional organization of physicians, nurses, social workers, counselors, educators, psychologists, health professionals, researchers, lawyers, and more. AASECT is recognized as the guardian of professional standards of ethics and education to those that want to practice in this specialized field. Careful attention is placed on course requirements, supervision, ethical standards, and licensing. Careful scrutinization is done before you can identify yourself as an AASECT Certified Sex therapist or Educator.
Some of the areas that I explore with my clients and their partner(s) is their life experience around sex, prior to their relationship and current. What messages did you learn or hear about sex while growing up? Have both or either of you experienced some form of sexual trauma? If so, what form of trauma? Do you experience any side effects of those experiences? How comfortable do you feel in your own body? How comfortable do you feel with your own sexuality? How do you identify as a sexual being? These questions and more are some of the few that we will explore before we delve into practical skills, lessons, and techniques.
Vulnerability is required to have conversations about wants, desires, curiosities, and fantasies. Of course, it is also required to have honest conversations around dislikes too! Yes and no are two of the most powerful words in communication. How confident do you feel in telling your partner what you want, or don’t want? Especially if the message that you received about sex as a young person was to not talk about it, especially if you grew up in purity-culture.
Something I like to add about purity-culture is that Utah isn’t the only State in the Union that has conservative values around sex, sexuality, premarital sex, and high standards around morality. I have lived in the southern and northeastern regions of the United States, and I can guarantee that we are not the only state with a predominant culture with similar standards. We will work on normalizing your relationship with your body, and with your partner’s body and desires for sex.
To do this work, having a safe, supportive environment is as important as having someone qualified and experienced. If you can’t feel safe with me or someone else, then the work can’t happen. Make sure you communicate with your therapist on what feels right for you. You set the speed. Do you want more goal oriented and directive work assistance? Have you had previous experiences with other therapists that felt great or not wonderful? If so, share this information with your therapist so that they know what feels right for you.
Desire discrepancy isn’t something you and your partner have to deal with until the end of time. We will work together at finding the issues that are holding you or your partner back from having the quality and fulfilling relationship that you both desire. You do not have to do this alone.