We seem to be staying long on this subject. It is because it is perhaps the most understood in relationships. Many studies and personal experience of people have shown that sexual desire for a partner declines over time. True!
It is just a natural development, as would be explained presently, but it has the potential of bombing a marriage into shreds. Ever so misunderstood, many people ascribe it to lack of love, away games (a partner having affairs) or an invasion of a relationship by some witches and wizards from the village.
But studies shows that whereas many people think sex once or twice a week is average for most couples, the vast majority of people are having sex once or twice a month or less. For one out of three people (33%) it’s a lot less.
In fact, another study in the US corroborates that 20% of married couples have sex less than 10 times a year. And practitioners say complains about sexual desire is number one on the list of problems taken to sex therapists. But it gets complicated on this part of the world because sex is a hush-hush word even in marriage.
However, accepting the reality that sexual decline is not an attack from some spiritual force is the best of all attitudes towards it. Forget all the boastful stuff you read about some relationships. The problem is in every home. It may not show up during the early stages when relationships are steamy hot, but it does happen.
And knowledge of the causes has been proved to be very helpful. For starters, therapists recommend a full understanding of the forces behind sex drive. And Dr. Shirley Glass explains it very well. “The sexual cycle begins with desire. Desire is in the mind. For men, desire may be stimulated by visual cues, whereas for women desire is often associated with romantic words and actions. Desire is followed by arousal, excitement, and orgasm.”
There could be cases of hypoactive sexual desire, where hypoactive means abnormally inactive or underactive inactive – not active physically or mentally; where there is a loss of sexual urges, sexual fantasies, and/or a persistent lack of sexual activity not accounted for by a medical condition or side effects of medications.
Now hear this: “Hypoactive sexual desire is twice as prevalent in women as in men.”
According to Dr Glass and other experts, possible causes of declining sexual drive include:
Loss of Initial Passion: During the initial stages of infatuation and love, chemical changes in the brain create an intense level of sexual desire and passion. Everything is on fire. However, sexual problems related to early childhood abuse, negative attitudes, sexual inhibitions, or a low libido which may be overpowered by early passion often re-surface when the fire simmers down.
Lack of Attraction: Obvious reasons for sexual avoidance are lack of physical attractiveness because of poor personal hygiene, body weight, and failure to dress in a manner which one’s partner prefers. This is a very common cause of sexual desire decline in this part of the world, particularly in the rural areas.
Old School: Some women (and men too) chose to remain traditionalists. They hold on tightly to the old belief a woman should be passive during sex. To them, it is all-male action, and only prostitutes or spoilt women who have dated many men are experienced enough to be active in bed.
Conflict and Resentment: Over the years, underlying resentment or open hostility can quench sexual desire. While one person may feel relieved after a verbal battle, the other may harbour psychic wounds which accumulate and create a sense of numbness and lack of sexual desire.
Lack of Emotional Intimacy: Sexual desire usually represents a more romantic, interpersonal experience for women than for men. Women need to feel emotionally connected before sexual intimacy, whereas men tend to feel more emotionally connected after sex.
Splitting Sex and Affection: Distance, novelty, mystery, danger and power differences inflame sexual passion, familiarity and security can suppress or extinguish passion. Furthermore, individuals who tend to separate sex and love may experience inhibited sexual desire in their committed relationship while they are sexually excited by someone whom they would never consider as an appropriate life partner.
Individual Psychological Problems: Sexual desire is also impacted by work stress, grief, fatigue, anxiety, or depression. Individuals with a childhood history of sexual, emotional, or physical abuse, or those raised in homes where sex was regarded as something bad may regard sexual intimacy as intimidating or aversive.
Some other causes are basically physical in nature. They include the use of antidepressant medications, hormone deficiencies, and diseases that affect sexual organs.
Whatever the causes of declining sexual desire are, experts are agreed that as soon as it surfaces in a relationship, there should be a mutual discussion of it by the couple for possible solutions. No blame games!!