My dad is actually trained in sex therapy. Growing up, when I’d search my house for reading material, I’d find fun books like, Why is Sex Fun? and the Encyclopedia of Unusual Sex Practices. Needless to say, it made my house very popular with sleepovers.
So, without further adieu, we’ll get into this week’s question:
Dear Dr. Bob,
My sex drive is low. I like sex – if my partner initiates it, I’m usually resistant at first, and then I really enjoy myself. But I never actually want to have it to the point where I would pursue anything with my partner without him initiating it first. I’m a healthy 29 year old, and it seems like – based on TV and movies and everything I read online – I should be raring to go at this time in my life, which makes me extra nervous that I’m just not. I don’t want this to be a problem. What should I do?
I disagree with your diagnosis. Why do you think you have a low sex drive? A low sex drive has to do with how often you have sex, with or without another person. Thanks to the pharmaceutical industry, people have become more aware of low sex drive as a possible problem, with (of course) testosterone patches being the solution.
What you do describe is anxiety (or perhaps shyness), social expectations (you’re in trouble if you believe everything you see at the movies or read online, but that’s another story), or possibly simple laziness. It could also be the case that you are distracted.
What you should do is talk to your partner. Talk about how often each of you like to have sex, what gives you pleasure, what turns you on (and off). Open communication is the remedy for what sounds like a relationship problem. What does your partner want? Maybe you will find that it’s not even a problem that your partner is always the one to initiate sex. Talk about what you want. When you feel available for sex, perhaps there is some signal you could send.
We all have difficulty at times knowing what we really want versus what another therapist termed, “the tyranny of the Should.” If you and your partner continue to have difficulty after talking it out, a brief consultation with a therapist might be useful.