I am happily married but I have no interest in sex. My husband gets annoyed and I feel even more distant. I need some emotional intimacy before I can be sexually intimate. Is this unreasonable?
It doesn’t really matter whether you think this is unreasonable or not. Your expectations are simply not being met.
You can spend a lot of time trying to convince your partner to change because, by some external measure, he is not being reasonable. But what is the point? He loves you. He lives with you. He wants to have sex with you. If he is not giving you what you want, a block has developed.
I am sure it was different when you were first together. You didn’t know each other then and wanted to be accepted. You both made an effort. And it was all new, risky and exciting.
Now he is no longer opening up. He could be the type who, by nature, keeps to himself or he could be withdrawing. Perhaps both could apply.
Trying to get him to change won’t work. He will feel attacked and criticised and move further away. If you really want a close, intimate relationship, you need to move closer to him, not push him away with anger.
If you are angry and disappointed, you need to address these emotions. This is the first step to creating real change. You don’t have power over what others feel or do but you do have power over yourself.
Take a good honest look at how you interact with him most of the time. Are you welcoming and accepting? Or are you annoyed and critical?
Have a look at your attitude towards sex. Men and women have quite different attitudes to sex. Men feel close and intimate when they are having sex. Women feel close and intimate when they are mutually disclosing private information with their partner. Neither approach is right or wrong. They are just different ways of being intimate.
These different approaches have a lot to do with men and women’s different biology and what gets the gender’s genes into the next generation. In other words, these approaches are largely programmed into men and women from birth.
To have a loving, healthy sexual relationship, each needs to be willing to compromise and make an effort to understand the different needs of the other.
Of course, this is not easy. After a few years together, the way we interact with each other is habituated. Changing our habits can be difficult.
To develop a genuinely intimate relationship, you need to embark on a journey of considerable self-development. You can do this with or without your partner.
- You need to resolve any sabotaging emotions such as anger or disappointment.
- You need to develop a safe interpersonal environment so each of you can feel comfortable being open and honest.
- You need to let go of negative habits such as criticism and sarcasm.
- You need to learn the skills of healthy interpersonal communication including conflict resolution skills.
- To love, you need to be open and accepting rather than self-protecting.
A therapist can help you with this exciting but challenging journey.
Struggling in your relationships? North Brisbane Psychologists can help. Book an appointment today!