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Monday, March 27, 2023

According to a therapist, what should you know if you have no sexual attraction with your partner?

Publisher’s note: Ian Kerner is a licensed marriage and family therapist, author and relationship contributor for CNN. Her most recent book is a guide for couples, “So Tell Me About the Last Time You Had Sex.”

(CNN) — Many straight men come to my office acknowledging that they chose their partner regardless of sexual attractiveness.

During a marriage therapy session with his partner in the room, the man will claim that he does not know why he does not experience desire. Maybe it’s stress, low testosterone or anxiety.

But when I meet him individually, he often tells a different story. He tells me that he chose his partner without prioritizing sexual attraction.

Why would a man choose a potential life partner without feeling the spark of sexual attraction? Can these relationships survive and thrive? Can something like sexual attraction that was not there in the beginning, be developed later?

Sexual Attraction Couple

Therapist Ian Kerner says that many of his male patients tell him that they did not choose their life partner based on sexual attractiveness. credit: Adobe Stock

I’ve talked to many men in their 30s who have told me, “When I found the woman I wanted to marry, she ticked all the boxes. Except one.”

Features on that list include “being my best friend,” “she would be a wonderful mom,” “we get along well with friends and families,” and “she really loves me.” The only unchecked box? Sexual attractiveness, and often men didn’t even mention that quality in the beginning.

I was stunned.

Sexuality is what really separates a romantic relationship from a platonic one: I find it a kind of “relationship glue” that helps couples stay together through tough times. This is why it amazes me that so many people underestimate sex when choosing a partner for a long term relationship.

Indiana University Kinsey Institute researcher Dr. Justin Lemiller says, “Research shows that physical attractiveness is often one of the most important traits people seek in a romantic partner, but it really tops the list for either men or women.” Not there.” A research center dedicated to sexuality. Traits such as intelligence, humour, honesty and kindness are often at least as important, if not more.

According to Chicago sex therapist Dr. Elizabeth Perry, some men have internalized an “either/or” view of women: those who are great wives and mothers and those who are sexually adventurous.

“I’ve seen this in male patients who are in the dating world and feel pressured to choose someone they see as ‘wife material’ but have no sexual attraction, rather than one who Expect to find the partner who is better emotionally and emotionally “sexually,” Perry told me.

Can Sexual Attraction Be Decisive to a Relationship?

Good sex can help protect against psychological distress including anxiety and depression, help couples achieve a deeper connection, and improve relationship satisfaction.

“If a relationship is a meal, the sexual part should be considered an integral part like protein, not a superficial part like dessert,” says Eva Dillon, a sex therapist in New York City.

Dillon told me, “In my experience, it is possible for women to create a desire for their partner with considerable effort, but if a man doesn’t feel the desire for his partner early in the relationship, he never will.” Why rely on sexual attraction to come later when you can prioritize it in a partner and reap the benefits sooner?

Still, low levels of sexual attraction are not always a problem for couples, said sexologist Dr. Yvonne Fulbright.

“For some people, a lack of sexual attraction can lead to infidelity or divorce. For others, a lack of sexual attraction only becomes a problem when it aligns with societal expectations surrounding sex and desire,” she said. Told. Fulbright, Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at American University in Washington.

“There is a lot of pressure on couples to be sexually active as well as to be warm. People tend to realize that there is a type and quality of desire that needs to be achieved, and that lack of interest in that relationship is a problem. is seen as. must be resolved.”

Some of my medical colleagues warn against over-emphasizing the importance of immediate sexual attraction.

Dr. Rachel Needle, a sex therapist, says, “We have this misconception that when we first meet we should be physically attracted to someone or there is no connection. This is not true.” “Attraction can increase when you know someone and experience more closeness and connection.”

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What if the spark between you and your partner fades? Or if you want to raise the temperature of a relationship that previously had nothing at all?

Fulbright cautions against giving blanket advice. “Only couples can figure out the best way to manage this challenge in their relationship,” he said.

“Non-marriage may work for some, but not for others. Couples must decide how honest they are with each other, the issue of how big a deal it is to be together and how much weight it weighs.” “The case in light of the other good things going for them,” he added by email.

Don’t think that all is lost if you are in a long term relationship. For some couples, sexual desire can increase over time if they focus on it. “It’s often not until our 30s that we feel comfortable enough to ask for what we want in bed,” Dillon says.

But I refuse to agree with those who think that married couples will stop having sex anyway, so why bother prioritizing sexual attraction.

“Many couples in their 50s are able to explore and expand their sexuality for maturity and the empty nest. For couples in their 60s, 70s and beyond who want to expand their definitions of sex beyond orgasm and intimacy. are able to co-create, sex can continue to be alive and nurturing,” Dillon added via email.

And keep in mind that your sexual health is an indicator of your overall health. So if you’re really experiencing an unexplained drop in sexual interest, consider talking to your doctor. Maybe your testosterone levels have actually dropped.

Whatever the reason for your lack of sexual interest, be honest with your partner. Honesty, it turns out, can (eventually) be exciting.

World Nation News Desk
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