"What's wrong with me Dr Jan? Why am I so anxious now that I have the man of my dreams? I feel like an idiot. Two years ago I was in here complaining that I was desperate because I couldn't meet anyone. Now I have been in the relationship seven months and yet I seem to be looking for an escape clause. It just doesn't make sense!"Jenny certainly was agitated and I could understand why. She had first consulted with me two years before, because she was unhappy with single life and complained bitterly about how difficult it was for her to meet a partner. She became so confused about her inability to find her ideal relationship with a man, that she decided she may even be gay and she should pursue that scene to find out if she was really meant to be with a woman.
Jenny had joined a gay social group and even dated and had sex with several women over a year, but decided that she wasn't gay after all and it wasn't fair of her to lead someone on. (After all, she had experienced that herself in several relationships with men in the past, so she didn't want to perpetuate the pattern).
Back on the heterosexual market, Jenny was amazed to find that she met Mr Ideal when she least expected it! She went to a girlfriend's party one night as a last resort because she had nothing to do. The friend had just moved into a new neighbourhood and had invited her new neighbours to the party as insurance against them complaining about the party noise.
To Jenny's amazement, she found herself hitting it off with Craig, from next door.
To her even greater amazement, she found herself going home with Craig and having the best sex ever! She didn't even feel guilty because she had had sex on her first night!
Losing LustCraig and Jenny had been dating ever since, and he wanted to move in together now but Jenny had cold feet.
Jenny explained that Craig seemed really ideal in every way. He was a good listener and was putting up with the bad moods which Jenny was well known for. What had stopped working for Jenny was the sex.
She described it like this: "At first we couldn't keep our hands off each other and everything he did turned me on. But gradually I started to get bored with his routine techniques. He never took his time to make sure that I was feeling satisfied but seemed to take it for granted that if I didn't complain, it had been good for me too."
Well it often wasn't! Jenny continued, "After a few minutes of foreplay, he would assume the missionary position and get himself off. I asked him to consider oral sex because I know from being with women in the past, that oral sex is the best and quickest way for me to orgasm. So he agreed that he would give me oral and went down for a good two minutes and hasn't done it since!"
Jenny's story is very common. Don't think I am having a go at men who are bad lovers though, as the story could just as well have been in reverse roles. Many men complain that their women would have sex swinging from the chandelier when they first got together, but now couldn't seem to care less if they never had sex again.
So what happens to make a couple who seem to initially have so much going for them, to lose their spark? I believe that the answer is in two parts – a left-brain or logical part and a right-brain or emotional part.
The left-brain reason for couples who lose the lust.
The biggest reason for couples losing their initial hots for each other is ignorance about their sexual needs. Typically, the man keeps up his initial speed – horny and hard and fast. He forgets that the woman usually need a lot more physical stimulation and certainly needs to feel an emotional and often intellectual connection. The woman doesn't know how to communicate with him about what's happening and usually waits until she is so frustrated that she tells him when she's angry. He feels that his ego is under attack and withdraws his penis and his desire and the result is no sex-life at all.
The right-brain reason for couples who lose their lust.
This reason is typically only true for one member of the couple, but it sure is enough to stifle the good sex. The irony is, that with someone like Jenny, the perpetrator is not even aware that they are causing the problem, because it is an unconscious emotion. What is it? It's the commitment phobia bug.
Jenny had always been able to have good sex when she started a relationship – be it heterosexual or bisexual. It was only when she began to truly plan a life with Craig that she began to turn off him.
Of course she made this easier for herself by blaming it on his lack of consideration for her needs during sex. Indeed, Craig needed some sexual coaching, but he was willing and able when she asked nicely and repeatedly. He just needed her to be patient, persistent and give him lots of praise for his best attempts.
Because Jenny 'spat the dummy' about sex, Craig felt ripped off and didn't know how to meet her needs. All he knew was that she wasn't happy with him, yet she said that he was the best guy she had ever known in every other area.
What does this mean for couples who want good sex to continue?
Be prepared to learn about male/female sexual needs and preferences and study the fine art of pleasing your partner before you please yourself.
For men, this means truly accepting that women do not usually get off on the 'big bang'.
In fact, probably only about 33% of women can orgasm with intercourse alone, and that means that most need direct stimulation of their clitoris and g-spot with tongue and fingers (and maybe vibrator, lubricant, feather... your imagination is your limitation here).
For women, it means learning that men love quickies and need to be gently encouraged to take their time if you want them to make sex last. Give them heaps of praise and shower them with compliments about their technical expertise as a lover. Give them lots of little noises of pleasure during sex too, so they know they are doing it right for you.
For everyone, it means learning that sex is very important in a relationship, but that real intimacy in a committed relationship takes time, honest and regular communication and will always have its ups and downs, so needs realistic understanding.
We are all different, regarding our sexual preferences, and a truly intimate relationship requires guts and good sex needs good communication!
© Dr Janet Hall
For more help see Dr Jan's book: Sex-life Solutions and her CDs in the Sensational Sex Series.
Dr Janet Hall is a psychologist in private practice who specializes in family and relationship therapy, particularly sex therapy. She is the author of eight books on family issues including "Sex-Wise Teens".
Jan has created and produced many CDs on sexual issues ranging from sex therapy with adjunctive hypnosis, to sexual fantasies and strategies for 'sparking up' your sex-life. A regular in print, radio and television media, Jan presents user-friendly information which can be easily applied in psychological practice.