Building Bridges

Issue # 11 of 43 

David LeClaire
By: David LeClaire

An Imbalance in Sexual Desire

Because we all look at the world and interpret situations differently, it is quite common for one person in a partnership to feel their sex life together has diminished and is lackluster while the other believes everything is fine.

Since what we all want and need sexually is so individual, the only true means of assessing whether or not there is a problem is if you or your partner feels there is. If your partner is not satisfied or wants change, that's really what matters and needs to be discussed. Considering that you want the person you love to be happy, it would be valuable for you to acknowledge and respect their perspective, even if you don't see the situation in the same manner.

It's also quite common that one of the two partners in a relationship will have a larger appetite for sex than the other. If this is true in your partnership, as long as the difference isn't light years apart, you can manage just fine. However, if this imbalance is extreme and grows to the point of one partner becoming frustrated, bored, or resentful, then it becomes a problem for both individuals.

If a major imbalance of interest in sex continues for too long, the dissatisfied partner will probably grow restless, eventually losing interest in having sex with their partner. This is not to say that if your partner wants to have sex constantly that you must go along, even if you don't want to. But finding a way to compromise and achieving a balance is important.

If one person never or very rarely wants to have sex, as a couple they need to discuss why this situation exists. If the uninterested partner doesn't know why, I highly recommend seeing a counselor to help them look more closely at their thoughts and feelings regarding sex and intimacy.

People who are healthy and want to feel alive tend to like and enjoy sex and the connection that it brings with another person. If they are in a committed relationship that is absent of this intimacy and intensity, chances are pretty good they will either come to resent their partner or someday begin to look around at the possibility of having a satisfying sex life again - with someone else!

Understanding there is often a minor imbalance in our sexual drives makes it bearable that the imbalance is present. But it doesn't mean that it should be entirely ignored or accepted. Instead the person who wants more sex might compromise and learn to be satisfied with less than what is optimal, but not necessarily less than they need.

It would also be beneficial for their less enthusiastic partner to be willing to initiate sex occasionally, and to sometimes stretch to give their partner more sex and/or intimacy than they need themselves. If their lack of desire for sex is based upon the fact their partner is doing very little to capture their interest or there are unresolved problems as mentioned above, then, as a couple, this must be addressed.

One could build a reasonable case that sex is over-rated and too important to society or to their partner. Yet sex is and will remain a part of our lives that must be acknowledged as being important enough to eventually end a relationship if it is absent. Do what it takes to rekindle it, or keep it an alive and vital part of your relationship.

Relationships and marriages can and do end up being discarded just because of a lack of mutual commitment to a compatible sex life. Even when both partners are committed, it is easy to get busy and go for periods of time without sharing much sex. Communicaiton is essential to being successful in achieving balance and getting back on track. Sometimes people think they shouldn't have to talk about having sex, it should just happen spontaneously.

If my wife is feeling the need to connect with me, she simply needs to let me know how she's feeling. The way Kris approaches me encourages me to want to do something about it. If I think we need to have sex or some intimate time together, I must make my intentions and needs known as well. Sometimes when I speak up she is actually feeling the same way and is glad to hear it is important to me too.

The imbalance can shift back and forth between partners over their years together. There may be times when one craves more sex and intimacy and their partner is distracted or has temporarily lost interest. As partners and as a team, it is important for both to take the initiative to keep your sexual life strong and healthy when either of you senses a significant imbalance is occurring.

David LeClaire has spent much of his time teaching at community college and private school, and lead communications training for Fortune 500 companies. Now a popular and active Seattle area sommelier, this graduate of Central Michigan University led seminars for a wide variety of organizations. LeClaire is the author of "Bridges To A Passionate Partnership." He can be reached at

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Text © 1998, David LeClaire. Part of the original Sideroad.
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