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About 15% of men and 34% of women say they're not really interested in sex, according to a new study, statistics that few experts find surprising. In fact, low desire in one partner is probably the top reason couples seek out sex therapy.

When one of you has more interest in sex than the other, it's easy for the person with the higher sex drive to feel rejected, bruised and undesirable and for the partner who avoids sex to feel pressure, anxious and guilty.

Any number of factors can affect sexual desire, and most of them have little to do with your partner's attractiveness. In the study I mentioned, researchers found that for both men and women, physical and mental health had an impact on libido. But they may have different motivations for avoiding sex.

"For men, it's often the appearance of disinterest rather than actual loss of interest," sex therapist Deborah Fox said. "Men avoid sex frequently due to prior performance issues, such as erectile issues or rapid ejaculation. They may avoid it to escape the anxiety of these issues reoccurring." In women, hormonal factors and fatigue can contribute to low libido.

And sometimes, life just gets in the way. "In my practice, I see a lot of desire diminish due to interest in porn, boredom of the same sexual routine, the comfort of monogamy and relationship security, and the loss of couple time due to a focus on parenting time," sex therapist Amanda Pasciucco said.

Here are some other things to consider when you and your partner have mismatched sex drives.

Nagging and anger aren't helpful. If you're wondering why your partner isn't interested in sex, ask from a place of curiosity, sex therapist Holly Richmond said. "Instead of saying, 'I'm so frustrated that we never have sex anymore. What's going on with you?' try, 'I'm curious about why we have less sex than we used to. Is there something you need from me?' Open a window of opportunity for communication rather than shoving closed a door of criticism."

You may need to take sex off the table. Sometimes, the topic of not having sex has become so fraught that you need to start fresh with some simple forms of touch that feel nice but don't have to lead to sex. "I start by asking a couple be in the same room at the same time for about an hour at least twice a week," gynecologist and sex counselor Terri Vanderlinde said. "During that time, I have them do something fun and intimate, like playing a game or reading a book together."

Couples can connect during this window of time, but there should be a rule not to have sex. Some couples will focus on making out above the waist, taking a sensual shower together or giving each other massages. You should also think about ways to stimulate your erotic brain, particularly if you've just been going through the motions. Watch ethical porn together, read erotica, share a fantasy or even reminisce about the hot sex you used to have.


Comment: It's probably best to skip the pornography entirely.



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