Handling mismatched sexual styles

Many couples find themselves at loggerheads over sexual styles that do not match. Sometimes, a woman wants it in the mornings, while the male partner wants it only in the midnight.
Two relationship experts, Dr Phil McGraw and Sandra Petrot, share their views on how couples can manage this issue.
Stop complaining
If your sexual relationship is not living up to your needs, stop complaining and start asking for what you want. This means you first need to look within to identify your needs. When you communicate, be specific.
Maybe you and your partner are not as far apart as you think. Talk about things when you are both calm and rational. Don’t blame each other; talk openly.

Negotiate and compromise
Relationships are about negotiation and compromise – and it never stops. Carve out time. Negotiate a plan that works for both of you. Behave your way to success. If you agreed to a plan and it’s no longer working for you, sit down together and negotiate a new plan. Partners rarely have the same level of sex drive at the same time. Negotiate for some middle ground that you can both be happy with.

Relationship isn’t based on sex
Don’t base a relationship on sex. You need love, compassion and caring – and then sex can be a reflection of that. Don’t think of it in either/or terms: You can cuddle when it’s time for that, have an active sex life as well, and have tremendous love and respect for each other throughout.

Understand your partner’s language
Different people have a different language of love. For example, a lot of guys think, “I mowed the yard. Doesn’t that say I love you?” Are you speaking a language that your partner understands?

Understand emotional needs
Look at your emotional needs because they affect your sexual relationship as well. What sexual baggage did you bring to the relationship? For example, if sex defined previous relationships that failed, you may be reluctant to get too sexually active in a new relationship. Look at your history and learn from it.
Don’t use sex for the wrong reasons, and burden it or load it up with too much meaning. For example, it shouldn’t be a way to validate your partner. It should be an extension of the caring, feeling and respect you have for the other person.

Quality, not quantity
Remember that quality, not quantity, is the most important factor. The choices you make have consequences. For example, if you choose to work, go to school and have a family, you may have very little left to invest in a sexual relationship. Change your behaviour and decisions if you want different consequences. Try delegating responsibility if you’re too exhausted or over-worked for sex.

The quality of a relationship depends on how well it meets the needs of those involved. Consider your partner’s needs as legitimate, and look at how you can meet those needs. Don’t label your partner as being wrong or having something wrong with him/her because that dismisses the issue.

Talk to your doctor
Talk to your doctor for more information about whether biochemical and hormonal factors can be contributing to a low or high sex drive.

Dr Phil McGraw is arguably the most popular international mental health professional.

Sensual lovers
Sensual partners with an Erotic or Dependent partner are especially prone to fear that their lovers value sex more than the actual relationship. Instead of retreating when you feel hurt by your partner’s advances, find a gentle way to communicate that you want to feel close and you need plenty of kissing and eye contact, especially when you try something new in bed.

Erotic lovers
You are passionate and inspired when it comes to sex. Never one to fall into a rut, your sexual energy can be both a blessing and a burden. Beware of impossibly high sexual expectations that can deprive you of a close, loving relationship. Try to find creative ways to keep sex interesting without pressuring or pushing your partner. Instead of directing sex, be gentle and explore together.

Also, remember that sex isn’t going to be spectacular every time. Routine sex can be a sign of comfort and love, and the occasional lack of fireworks in the bedroom doesn’t necessarily mean there’s something wrong with your relationship or your partner.

Dependent lovers
You can’t live without daily sex. While regular sex is great for your health and your relationship, acknowledge the fact that most relationships experience a decline in the frequency of sexual activity as they progress; it’s part biology and part psychology. If you want sex every day and your partner wants it once a week, try to prevent your feelings of frustration from becoming your partner’s problem. Work together to find a middle ground that works for both of you when it comes to frequency.

Reactive lovers
You give 100% to your partner’s pleasure, but your own desire is a mystery. Take the initiative more, even though it is bound to feel uncomfortable at first. Tune in to your own pleasure and sexuality, not just your partner’s. Try regular masturbation, fantasy and erotic reading or movies. Share whatever pleases you physically with your partner, even if it’s something as simple as a foot massage. Also, don’t expect your partner to have an orgasm every time.

Stressed Lovers
Take a step back and assess the situation. Perhaps your partner has expressed disappointment with your sex life and created enough anxiety that you’ve stopped initiating sex. If so, your partner may feel rejected. You may have a valid reason for feeling turned off by sex, whether health-related or relationship-related. Whatever the case, it’s important to reach out for help. A sex therapist can help with sexual function and related issues, such as orgasm and ejaculatory problems. A general therapist can help get to the root of fears and other issues that may be inhibiting your desire for sex.

Detached Lovers
You can help yourself and your relationship by paying more attention to sex. Add it to your to-do list if you have to, and make it fun. Try to identify what works for you sexually. You may have forgotten your turn-ons if you’ve drifted away from sex.



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