One thing that affects sexual confidence for couples is that a surprising amount of people have only had sex with one person: their present or former partner.
I sometimes get couples coming to me who have had a long relationship, but somewhere along the way, one of them loses interest in sex. Or, somehow, the sex has become perfunctory, or repetitive, or unsatisfying.
The nightmare couple, for me, comes in two versions.
The first is where the partner who has lost interest and isn’t interested in enquiring why, or doing anything about it. They are there reluctantly, to humour or placate the other partner. I am probably their second stop, after Relate, which won’t have worked either.
The second, but less frequent nightmare couple is where one partner wants us to change their partner, without countenancing any change for themselves. So, someone might want me to magically make their partner desire them. Good luck with that.
I can’t work with either of these type of couples. They would be much better seeing me separately. That way, they can reclaim their sense of themselves as a feeling, sexual being, distinct from the relationship. Often, the pressure of the relationship, and the weight of familiarity leaves people feeling a bit disembodied.
The couples I can work with are people who are brave enough to look at their own behaviour, their way of relating, their expectations and their assumptions. Sometimes, I might think it better to refer them to a therapist I know and trust, for example, where one person doesn’t want to have sex because they’re resentful about something else in the relationship.
But very often there isn’t that. It’s just that the fire, mysteriously, seems to have gone out.
Familiarity is often the enemy of desire. What I mean by that is that couples often get into a way of having sex, and that way gradually becomes more and more impoverished, until it stops working altogether. It isn’t helped by us thinking that Sex is all about having an orgasm, rather than being an opportunity to connect, feel and experience, within which orgasms may happen.
So one of the ways I can help is by shaking things up a little. Identify who initiates, and change that. Experiment with different modes of sexuality. If one is always the do-er, change that. If one never asks for what they want, change that. Introduce more options to experiment with. And always, focus on embodiment, connection and communication.
We can get very fixed around sexuality. Imagine you had to start and end every conversation with a joke, wouldn’t you get tired of that? Wouldn’t you see that there were loads of great conversations going unspoken?
If you want to work with me , I’ll usually meet up with you in a public place or online for a coffee and chat, so we can both see if we’re a good fit. If we are, then I’ll design with you a bespoke programme of sessions to take you in the direction most satisfying for you.
If you feel a bit stuck, and you both want to do something about it, please get in touch.