“I’m tired of making up a bed that doesn’t get slept in, if you know what I mean,” he said.
Sexual problems manifest in a myriad of shapes, sizes and excuses. We’ll get to these soon, but allow me to share some hope that these can be overcome. Communication, compassion and consideration offer our best solutions to these problems.
In Coupling, the low desire partner always controls the frequency and quality of the sexual contact and intimacy in the relationship. Now mind you, intimacy is not limited to physical contact. Intimacy, in Coupling, covers many aspects of the relationship.
The intimacy of conversation eludes many couples. Vulnerability in the sharing of feelings may be one of the foundational elements of healthy coupling. We may even talk about couch time and the easy casualness of watching a movie together.
Intimacy may look different for each couple or from the perspective of each partner. The challenge rises as we try to negotiate these differences.
Differences in desire for sexual contact can cause conflict just like arguing over the finances can. We would probably do well to see the conflict as just another problem to be solved.
Lots of us are cleaning out our flowerbeds as we enjoy the Spring weather. I remembered the opening quote as I cleaned out my Zen garden. That’s what folks have done for years in the South, we just called it sweeping the yard. But we’re more sophisticated than that, so as I ‘cleaned out my Zen garden’ I thought about the work it takes to keep that other bed flowering.
Usually an imbalance exists between couples. From their respective sides of the bed they say “you want it too much” and “you don’t want it enough” and they both feel they are right. Talk about creative tension. Maybe you thought I would say sexual tension, but I mean creative tension in every sense of the word.
These differences offer such a rich playing field for relational development. We have the challenge to creatively engage the tension. The question is will we.
Problems with desire can sound like “I don’t want it” or “I gotta have it.” These problems may originate from fears of being controlled or abandoned. They may come from depression or just poor management of stress. Low desire may be simply a problem of low testosterone or the changes of menopause.
Whatever the problem, we have a framework to examine ourselves. Such a powerful problem requires self-reflection. Minimizing or blaming never helps. Instead, I can begin by thinking, “how do I create the problem?”
I would suggest we think in terms of the seven deadly sins: pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath and sloth. I need to wonder which one of these tangles or sabotages my desires. How am I the author of my own frustrations?
Learn this and then communicate, be considerate and compassionate.
The creative tension of sexual frustration pries the lid off of my excuses. If I can face my weaknesses, we have the chance to enjoy a beautiful bed of flowers.