It’s not uncommon for couples to go through phases where their libidos aren’t in sync, where one person wants sex more often than the other. There are many reasons for desire discrepancy. And there are ways to bring sex back into the relationship, but it’s important for couples to find ways to continue maintaining intimacy even when their sex life is at a lull. Unfortunately, for many couples when sex becomes a sore spot in a relationship, we often lose out on the importance of non sexual touch.
When one person wants sex more often than the other, the situation becomes such that one person is always initiating and the other is always rejecting. For the person with the lower libido, things start to feel uncomfortable. They may begin to feel guilty rejecting their partner’s sexual advances often, or get frustrated that their partner keeps trying to initiate sex when they are really not feeling it. All these negative feelings start popping up every time they even vaguely touch each other, and after some time, the lower-libido person may begin avoiding being touched by their partner completely.
The person who’s wanting sex more often may notice that their partner has been avoiding their touch. This might be particularly hurtful and they may feel like their partner is simply not interested in them sexually at all anymore.
Sex and intimacy are two different things, but we often use them interchangeably in our society. Non sexual touch is an important aspect of a relationship. Nonsexual touch like nuzzling up with each other in bed in the morning, kissing each other hello and goodbye, or simply resting a hand on your partner’s arm or knee as you talk to each other can be very important to create feelings of warmth and closeness in a couple. If couples lose all physical touch in a relationship, it can really hurt their connection. If you are non-touchy as a couple anyways, it is important to continue to find ways to mutually show affection that feels good to both partners.
Scientifically speaking, there are many benefits of touch. Any form of touch – from hugging to orgasms – triggers the release of feel-good hormones in the body including serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin which is known as the bonding hormone.
Touch is important for couples to feel close to each other, especially among those couples who are already feeling tension in their relationship because of a lack of sex. A major reason couples in sexless relationships may struggle so much is because they’ve lost all forms of physical intimacy, not just sex. It can be helpful for couples to make a conscious effort to detach touch from sex. This way, even when their libidos aren’t aligned, their connection as a couple doesn’t waver.
It might be helpful to have a conversation as a couple about how you can remove the pressure from touch, such that you’re able to enjoy kissing, cuddling, and other forms of touch without any expectation that sex needs to come from it. Of course, it’ll also be important to find ways to make sure the partner with the higher libido still feels like their sexual needs are being addressed in the relationship. When there’s an influx of warmth and intimacy in a relationship, sex can also feel more desirable. You may find sexual desire in the relationship build back up naturally.