Two Universal Truths in Love and Sex
“Picture this: we were both butt naked banging on the bathroom floor…” While this is a well-known lyric in Shaggy’s hit song “It Wasn’t Me.” The image painted is not far from the reality of how many couples start off their relationship. Unable to keep their hands off each other, and exhilarated in the excitement of a new relationship. Ironically, couples never imagine getting to the point in their satisfying relationship in which the passion and desire dies down, and instead are replaced with feelings of resentment, frustration and loneliness.
- Have you ever asked yourself what you could do to get your partner to see you in a different light?
- Do you ever wonder if there is something wrong with you or what you’re doing or not doing in the bedroom?
- Do you ever feel like your partner only wants you for sex, or the opposite, that your partner never wants you for sex?
If this at all sounds like something you have encountered in your relationship,Dr. David Schnarch , renowned sex therapist and clinical psychologist, has a simple answer for why issues with desire arise in long term committed relationships. Here are two universal truths virtually every relationship experiences when it comes to love and sex.
Rule Number One: There is always a low desire partner and a high desire partner
Dr. Schnarch offers a unique way of viewing the way relationships work, and he does this through the lens of sex. He states, that in every relationship there are two positions that people take when faced with a decision, i.e. low desire partner (LPD) and high desire partner (HPD). The position a person takes is dependent on the decision at hand, and can change between one topic to another and from one relationship to another. That is to say, one partner may be for LPD in sex, but that same partner could be the HDP for intimacy. Even if both partners want the same thing, one will want it more than the other. You may be the LDP if you want sex once a day and your partner wants sex twice a day, or you may be the HDP if you want sex once a month and your partner doesn’t want sex at all. You may be the LDP in one relationship and the HDP in the next relationship.
Rule Number Two: The Low Desire Partner Always Controls Sex
Dr. Schnarch points out a second rule of sexual relationships which is, that the LDP always controls sex. The LDP controls sex whether that person likes it or not. The LDP also control sex whether things are going great or not. This rule is no fun for either person, so there are common ways people try to get around it. According to Schnarch, “begging, cajoling, criticizing, demanding, and withdrawing are standard methods,” while the HDP may be able to pressure the LDP into having sex, the HDP cannot pressured them into wanting to be with them or be passionate. Dr. Schnarch lays out how the LDP controls sex:
- The HDP makes most of, if not all of, the initiations for sex.
- The LDP decides which sexual advances she or he will respond to.
- This determines when sex happens. This gives the LDP de facto control of sex, whether she or he wants this or not.
Sexual Desire Issues: The New Norm
Sexual desire issues are a natural part of longer term committed relationships. All couples will experience desire issues at one point or another. Knowing these realities can be a huge relief for couples who are struggling to get through difficult challenges in their relationships. When used well, these challenges can push you to become more solid and clear about who you are. As you work through your sexual desire issues, you become more mature and more capable of being intimate, passionate, giving and respectful in a long term committed relationship. For a broader understanding of some of the concepts discussed in this blog, read Dr. Schnarch’s book Intimacy and Desire.
To book an appointment with Manet Castenada LPC- Intern, Under the supervision of Dr. Amy Fuller, PhD LPC-S, LMFT-S please email at Manet@fullerlifefamilytherapy.org