People who have been together for a long period of time will naturally experience ups and downs in their relationship. They contend with raising children, working, money issues, and illnesses in the family or in the extended family.
When stressful events happen or as the couple gets older, hormone levels fluctuate. They must deal with the challenges (and pressures) of maintaining a healthy sexual relationship while dealing with all of the other normal issues of life. And all of this can cause desire discrepancy between them.
What Is Desire Discrepancy?
Desire discrepancy is when one partner in a relationship wants sex more frequently than the other. In couples who experience this discrepancy, it can lead to an overall decreased satisfaction with their relationship.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – Fifth Edition (DSM-V or DSM-5) calls the lower desire levels hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD), or inhibited sexual desire, and ascribes the same condition to both men and women. The symptoms of this are a decreased desire for sexual intercourse or activity, a reduction in sexual thoughts or feelings, a decreased frequency of initiating sexual activity, and unresponsiveness to attempts at sexual activity.
What Causes This Sexual Problem in Long-Term Partnerships?
For one thing, women who are going through menopause, or have already been through it, have to deal with fluctuating hormone levels. These menopause-related issues can cause painful intercourse or problems reaching orgasm, and these factors can reduce her levels of desire for sex.
Similarly, men go through andropause as they get older, and this can cause erectile dysfunction. When this occurs, one or both partners may blame themselves or the other person, and this causes frustration and a lack of desire in the relationship.
Unhealthy Thinking in a Romantic Relationship
If a man thinks or feels that his wife is angered by him or frustrated with him, he will perceive a lack of desire on her part. Those roles can be reversed with the husband feeling like his wife does not feel sexually attracted to him.
However, the perceived imbalance is often greater than the actual imbalance, and a sex therapist can help both of you understand what is going on in your relationship. Many studies of long-term couples have found that the perceived imbalance is often simply due to a lack of communication between both partners.
Marriage and Sex Therapists in Montclair
The best way to get past desire discrepancy is by talking about it with a trusted professional and getting their advice and feedback. Keep your relationship going strong by seeing an experienced marriage counselor who specializes in relationship issues, including ones that center around the bedroom.
Here in Montclair, New Jersey, our team at Advanced Psychology Partners are experts in all areas of sexual counseling for different types of people in different walks of life. Call us today at (973) 534-5333 or request a consultation, and let us help your relationship overcome desire discrepancy. We are here to assist couples and help you understand each other.