Ask an expert

24 Jan 2003

Thank you to PG & Spooky
Hey guys, thanks for being diplomatic and supportive. Have been to three councillors. Discussed honestly how I felt with my husband to my husband, and still no luck. Will persevere and see what happens, and take one day at a time. I thought I would join this forum to see what people thought out there. As even the professional people didn't help. I would love to hold on to my marriage without sex, but unfortunately like I said, hubby obviously can't do without. So hopefully at some point we will come to some sort of a compromise.
Answer 355 views

01 Jan 0001

Here's some very generalised guidelines for revitalizing and maintaining sexual desire in a relationship. (Please see point 4).

1)The keys to sexual desire are positive anticipation and feeling you deserve sexual pleasure.

2)Each person is responsible for his / her desire with the couple functioning as an intimate team to nurture and enhance desire. Revitalizing sexual desire is a couple task. Guilt and blame subvert the change process.

3)Inhibited desire is the most common sexual dysfunction, affecting one in three couples. Sexual avoidance drains intimacy and vitality from the marital bond.

4)One in five married couples has a non – sexual relationship (being sexual less than ten times a year). One in three non – married couples who have been together longer than two years has a non – sexual relationship.

5)The average frequency of sexual intercourse is between four times a week to once in two weeks. For couples in their twenties, the average sexual frequency is two to three times a week, for couples in their fifties, once a week.

6)The initial romantic love / passionate sex type of desire lasts less than two years and usually less than six months. Desire is facilitated by an intimate, interactive relationship.

7)Contrary to the myth that “horniness” occurs after not being sexual for weeks, desire is facilitated by a regular rhythm of sexual activity. When sex occurs less than twice a month, couples become self – conscious and fall into a cycle of anticipatory anxiety, tense and unsatisfying sex and avoidance.

8)A key strategy is to develop “her”, “his’ and “our” bridges to sexual desire. This involves ways of thinking, talking, anticipating and feeling which invite sexual encounters.

9)The essence of sexuality is giving and receiving pleasure - oriented touching. The prescription to maintain desire is integrating intimacy, pleasuring and eroticism.

10)Touching occurs both inside and outside the bedroom. Touching is valued for itself. Both the man and woman are comfortable initiating. Both partners feel free to say “no” and to suggest an alternative way to connect and share pleasure. Touching should not always leas to intercourse.

11)Couples who maintain a vital sexual relationship can use the metaphor of touching involving “five gears”. 1st gear is clothes on, affectionate touch (holding hands, kissing, hugging). 2nd gear is non – genital, sensual touch which can be clothed, semi – clothed, or nude (body massage, cuddling on the couch, showering together, touching while going to sleep or awakening). 3rd gear is playful touch, which intermixes genital and non – genital touching, clothed or unclothed and may take place in bed, dancing, in the shower, or on the couch. 4th gear is erotic touch (manual, oral or rubbing) to arousal and orgasm for one or both partners. 5th gear integrates pleasurable and erotic touch, which flows into intercourse.

12)Personal turn – ons facilitate sexual anticipation and desire. These include the use of fantasy and erotic scenarios, as well as sex associated with special celebrations or anniversaries, sex with the goal of conception, sex when feeling caring and close, or even sex to soothe a personal disappointment.

13)External turn – ons (R or X-rated videos, music, candles, visual feedback from mirrors, locations other than the bedroom, a weekend away without the kids) can elicit sexual desire.

14) Males and females with hormonal deficits may use testosterone injections, patches, or creams to enhance sexual desire, but only under medical supervision. Medical problems and side effects of medication can interfere with sexual desire and function.

15)Sexually has a number of positive functions – a shared pleasure, a means to reinforce and deepen intimacy, and a tension reducer to deal with the stresses of life and marriage.

16)“Intimate coercion” is not acceptable. Sexuality is neither a reward nor a punishment. Healthy sexuality is voluntary, mutual and pleasure – orientated.

17)Realistic expectations are crucial for maintaining a healthy sexual relationship. It is self – defeating to demand equal desire, arousal, orgasm and satisfaction each time. A positive, realistic expectation is that fifty percent of experiences are very good for both partners; twenty percent are very good for one partner (usually the man) and fine for the other; twenty percent are acceptable but not remarkable. Five – to – fifteen percent of sexual experiences are mediocre or failures. Couples who accept this without guilt or blaming and try again when they are receptive and responsive will have a vital, resilient sexual relationship.

18)If the couple has gone two weeks without any sexual contact, the partner with higher desire takes the initiative to set up a planned or spontaneous sexual date. If that does not occur, the other partner initiates a sensual or play date during the following week. If that does not occur and they have gone a month without sexual contact, they schedule a “booster” therapy session.

19)Healthy sexuality plays a positive, integral role in a relationship, fifteen – twenty percent, with the main function to energize the bond and generate special feelings. Paradoxically, bad or non – existent sex plays a more powerful negative role in a relationship than the positive role of good sex. Desire is the core of sexuality.

Dr Elna McIntosh (PhD, D.Ed, M.P.H.)
Clinical sexologist
DISA Female Sexual Medicine Centre

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical examination, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.
Voting Booth
Have you entered our Health of the Nation survey?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
34% - 9250 votes
66% - 17787 votes