One issue that often comes up for couples outside of the therapy office as well as inside it, is that the couple hasn’t figured out how to find a mutually desired frequency of sex. One person wants it more frequently (HDP or high desire partner) and one wants it less frequently (LDP or low desire partner). Remember, this is always the case, that one of the partners will want it more and the other will want it less than the other partner. Often, when the desire levels are close, there is not much of a problem. More often, when the desire difference is large, there is a problem. This kind of problem will often have serious outcomes, whether the outcome is silent (resentment) or overt (arguing, leaving) and can lead to the need for couples therapy.
Many couples do not know how to work through a situation of disagreeing about how often to have sex. And some couples are not able to work this problem out: they disagree so much about frequency of sex that they divorce or estrange themselves from one another in the marriage.
Realize that this problem, differences in desire, is a lot like other differences, like how much money to spend on something or during a period of time. Two different people will have two different opinions about how much to spend because they are two different people. If they are not very far apart in this desire, they often don’t have much of a problem. If they are far apart, just like with a sexual issue, it is usually more problematic.
Think about the issue of differences of desire about sex. Try to think about it at more of a distance, as a problem of not having worked out the difference on this topic rather than “you want sex all the time” or “you never want sex” (neither of which are very often the case). A solution to the difference can begin to unfold when the couple begins to see that they have a desire difference rather than a sexual problem. This is not to say that sexual problems are always solved this way; I am not saying that. What I am saying is that to step back from a difference problem and begin to work together for a different way of being with each other can be a very good thing to do. If you need to go to couples therapy to have help with this, that’s fine. If you can make the step outside of couples therapy, that is a very fine thing also. By all means use couples therapy for difference issues you can’t resolve, including differences in desire.
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