It was once in that months-long togetherness that I dared to ask him
“I want to have sex with you.”
The rest days, I would sigh mutely seeing his chiseled abode as he stepped out of the bathroom, or when he is deeply immersed at his work, I would look at his stout chest and wonder when I will get to soak in their embrace. There came a day when my restraint had gone so off-limits that once he came forward to hug me, I found myself awkward leaning in despite me yearning for this moment, every moment.
This is not how it started, this is not the sex story at the beginning of every relationship.
At the beginning of a relationship, sex feels so effortless, so easy. All you have to do is look at each other in a certain way and it’s on! Sometimes you can’t even make it to the bedroom. Sex feels so special, so intimate, so exciting!
And then, life catches up. We get to know more about each other, our differences, quirks, demands, preferences, dislikes, etc. Fights, arguments happen among other responsibilities like household chores, kids, jobs. And one of you doesn’t feel the desire to be intimate as often, and it certainly takes a lot more than just a look to get you in the mood.
This is the tale of mismatched sex drive of a couple. It happened with me and I did not know any better other than keeping my desires bottled up inside me.
But that is not how it has to be, I learned later.
Yes, you can have a pleasurable and satisfying sex life even if your libidos are different.
It all starts with one word…
Instead of asking your partner, “Do you want to have sex?” ask them, “Are you open to having sex?”
So here’s why changing this one word can be so powerful.
“Do you want to have sex?” is the most common question that comes up around sexual initiation.
But it’s also the worst question to ask. Because it sets the bar too high.
When you and your partner have mismatched sex drives (one person wanting sex more than the other), the chances that you both are going to actively want sex in the exact same moment is really low. Practically non-existent.
For a lot of couples, the very word “want” has become loaded. There’s a dynamic that has built up around one person wanting something that the other person hasn’t been able to give. For the lower sex drive partner, feeling that sense of wanting from their partner can make them shut down. Sometimes it feels like they can never live up to what their partner wants.
To avoid this intimate deadlock, instead of asking each other “do you want to have sex?” ask “are you open to being intimate?”, “am I open to having sex?” or “am I open to seeing if I can get turned on?”
Changing the question this way also lowers the bar to a big extent. You don’t feel pressurized into giving in.
You’re admitting that it’s OK to not feel that mental desire at that moment and you’re considering if you’re open to the possibility that you may get there.
You’re also side-stepping a lot of the discomfort that can build up around the word “want”. There’s something about the word “open” that feels much softer, less demanding, less insistent.
Even if the low sex drive partner doesn’t end up being open to taking things any further than kissing or foreplay in that instance, it still changes the energy between the two of you. If you’re the partner who initiated, you’ll feel more seen and respected, and you’ll appreciate your partner’s openness and effort.