‘I love my partner but I’m lacking lust. How do I get my sex life back?’
It’s important that you feel sexy and sexual in yourself, so focus on some self-care
If you feel desired and desirable, it’s far more likely that you’ll be enthusiastic about sex with your partner, instead of it feeling like a one-sided obligation.
I’ve been with my partner 5 years and he’s gorgeous and I am very much in love but lacking lust. Over the years we had plenty of fights over sex as he has a high sex drive and it began to feel like an obligation. Our life became very settled, we generally stay at home all the time so I don’t often do anything exciting or dress up and feel sexy. I find it hard to get aroused and became less interested in trying new things. I can only orgasm in one position so I am just putting up with other positions for him; often with a degree of discomfort. How can I get my sex life back? Do I need to see a therapist or where do I start?
You already know where to start – it’s in your letter.
Right now, sex feels like an obligation, a lot of the sex you’re having doesn’t result in an orgasm, and there’s little excitement in your relationship to make you feel sexy.
Those are three huge issues that are of course having an effect on your sex life, not to mention your relationship generally. Of course, after five years you and your partner aren’t going to be in the obsessive lust stage of a brand-new relationship. But there’s a big difference between a lack of lust and a lack of effort - and the latter can result in the former.
Going out and having some special time together – whether it’s going on holiday, attending events, or just a night out when you both put your glad-rags on, is hugely important. It lets you communicate that you appreciate each other, that you still find each other engaging and attractive, and that you want your life together to be constantly interesting and evolving – which, let’s face it, is far sexier than a stagnant and uninspiring routine.
It’s also important that you feel sexy and sexual in yourself, so focus on some self-care. Exercising, working on body-positivity and self-esteem, and solo masturbation, are all ways you can focus on your own body and desire, and may also kick-start your desire for sex with your partner. If you feel desired and desirable, it’s far more likely that you’ll be enthusiastic about sex with your partner, instead of it feeling like a one-sided obligation.
Which brings us on to the issue of the sex you are having. If you’re only having an orgasm in one position, you and your partner simply aren’t being imaginative. Either you’re not looking at what makes that position work for you (does the position allow for stimulation of the G-spot or clitoris, for example?) and trying to replicate that sensation in other positions, or you’re only counting the orgasms that occur during penetrative sex, which is a prohibitively narrow view of sex.
Over 75 per cent of women cannot achieve an orgasm from penetrative sex. We need clitoral stimulation and foreplay and oral sex and a myriad of other activities that exist beyond the parameters of penile-vaginal penetration. Figure out what makes you orgasm – does it involve oral sex, masturbation, using a sex toy? – and do that during sex with your partner, as many times as you like. Penetrative sex is merely one act in your sexual plot line – you can make whatever activities bring you pleasure the star. It’s time for you and your partner to rewrite yourselves a more exciting romantic and sexual script – together.
Roe McDermott is a writer and Fulbright scholar with an MA in sexuality studies from San Francisco State University. She is currently undertaking a PhD in gendered and sexual citizenship at the Open University and Oxford.
If you have a problem or query you would like Roe to answer, you can submit it anonymously at irishtimes.com/dearroe