DOUGLAS C. BROOKS, MS, LCSW-Rfe
Communication is the key. Couples should feel free to talk about their sex drives, their likes, dislikes and how they want their relationship to grow. Regarding their sex drives, couples should be honest with what they each want (and how often) and what they expect from each other. If one has a drive that the other cannot or does not want to meet then masturbation is a good remedy. However, I often push my clients to never forget about intimacy. And that is the therapeutic question. People should feel valued and comfortable with their partner.
J. RYAN FULLER, PH.D.
When couples face sexual incompatibility in marriage, I emphasize giving each partner concrete skills to address the issue, including how to: manage their own emotions, effectively communicate, and collaboratively problem solve. In my experience, avoiding the issue only leads to the status quo at best, and more commonly passive aggression, open hostility, or distance. But many couples don’t know how to move things forward, especially when it comes to such a charged issue.
I also have each partner determine how they feel about their sexual life, the meaning it takes on, and what each would want that could improve how they feel about being intimate and more sexually, romantically, and emotionally satisfied.
While we work on these issues, it is possible to begin to understand what other important aspects of their relationship and personal lives are strengths, and can be built upon, and where weaknesses and deficits exist. Then we can work comprehensively on the relationship, productively improving the entirety of the relationship.
JOR-EL CARABALLO, LMHC
When partners are not sexually compatible, it can be difficult to keep a healthy sexual relationship alive. Talking openly with one another, either independently or with a licensed therapist, can be helpful in identifying possible solutions to sexual incompatibility. Sometimes experimentation and new areas of play may help bridge the gap, especially when combined with compassion and active listening.
DULCINEA PITAGORA, MA, LMSW, MED, CST
Our country’s sexual IQ is low on average because we’ve been taught to avoid talking about sex, and sexual incompatibility is often about a lack of information and explicit consent. The cure: explicit, ongoing conversations in a neutral setting about fantasies, preferences, and what contributes to and diminishes arousal.
JACQUELINE DONELLI, LMHC
I often get couples that are sexually frustrated in relationship or face sexual incompatibility. He feels like a bear pawing at you. You pretend to sleep, you get headaches, you “don’t feel well,”. I get it. He’s never satisfied enough. You just did it Sunday and it’s Tuesday.
She is always tired, she doesn’t touch me, she makes me wait days before she will have sex with me. I think she is not attracted to me anymore.
I heard it all. And you are both right. And this is an issue. Because one feels the constant pressure and nag and the other feels horny and rejected.
It appears a compromise is the best answer, and furthermore, communication. Although curling up with a good book sound smack, you actually have to give a darn. Not every day, just more than once a month. Likewise, the hornier of the two needs to listen to the other partner’s needs, sexually. Find out what is gets his/her engine flowing (does she/he like toys, talking, light rubbing, porn…). And slowly work at pleasing that person first. Because they feel what they feel and begging isn’t the answer.
Sexual incompatibility often cause unspoken ruptures in the relationship. Developing and opening up what is considered sex between two people can bring physical expansiveness and redefine what is physical, sensual and sexual. A place to start is experimenting with nongenital sensual ways of physically connecting without the pressure of intercourse or orgasm.