Sexual Styles that Don't Match

Are you a once-a-week person, while your partner is wanting it three times a day? Does the difference in your sex drives cause problems in your relationship? A good sexual relationship is one that is gratifying to both partners ... and Dr. Phil has some advice to get you there:

  • If your sexual relationship is not living up to your needs, stop complaining and start asking for what you want. This means you first need to look within to identify your needs. When you communicate, be specific.

  • Do you really know what your partner wants? Find out. Maybe you and your partner are not as far apart as you think. Talk about things when you are both calm and rational. Don't blame each other; talk openly.

  • Relationships are about negotiation and compromise — and it never stops. Carve out time. Negotiate a plan that works for both of you. Behave your way to success. If you agreed to a plan and it's no longer working for you, sit down together and negotiate a new plan. Partners rarely have the same level of sex drive at the same time. Negotiate for some middle ground that you can both be happy with.

  • Don't base a relationship on sex. You need love, compassion and caring — and then sex can be a reflection of that. Don't think of it in either/or terms: You can cuddle when it's time for that, have an active sex life as well, and have tremendous love and respect for each other throughout.

  • Different people have a different language of love. For example, a lot of guys think, "I mowed the yard. Doesn't that say I love you?" Are you speaking a language that your partner understands?

  • Look at your emotional needs because they affect your sexual relationship as well.

  • What sexual baggage did you bring to the relationship? For example, if sex defined previous relationships that failed, you may be reluctant to get too sexually active in a new relationship. Look at your history and learn from it.

  • Don't use sex for the wrong reasons, and burden it or load it up with too much meaning. For example, it shouldn't be a way to validate your partner. It should be an extension of the caring, feeling and respect you have for the other person.

  • What kind of excuses are you making? If it's that your daughter is going to walk in, "put a cowbell on her," says Dr. Phil. It's OK to lock the door and tell your kids not to disturb Mom and Dad.

  • Remember that quality, not quantity, is the most important factor.

  • The choices you make have consequences. For example, if you choose to work, go to school and have a family, you may have very little left to invest in a sexual relationship. Change your behavior and decisions if you want different consequences. Try delegating responsibility if you're too exhausted or over-worked for sex.

  • The quality of a relationship depends on how well it meets the needs of those involved. Consider your partner's needs as legitimate, and look at how you can meet those needs. Don't label your partner as being wrong or having something wrong with him/her because that dismisses the issue.

  • Ask yourself or your partner: Are you really too tired? Or are you just tired of him/her?

  • Are you getting him/her in the mood? If your version of foreplay is "Honey, brace yourself," you may want to try doing things differently. You may need to work a little harder to motivate, inspire, seduce or attract your partner. If your wife is exhausted from a busy day of chasing kids around, try to do some things that will decompress her. Run a bath and let her relax while you put the kids to bed.  Even the smallest gesture can seem romantic to your partner.

  • Talk to your doctor for more information about whether biochemical and hormonal factors can be contributing to a low or high sex drive.

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