Why do some women lose their interest in sex?
Singaporean married couples are not particularly known for their sex lives. And we are all too familiar with why they lose interest in sex – long and tiring work schedules coupled with insane stress levels. Not quite the recipe for a firing libido is it?
Statistics further affirm this. About a third of Singaporeans surveyed cited that they have sex less than once a month. This is less than once every week or fortnight, which most people think is ideal.
But it seems that things may be a tad bit more complicated. Surveys show that men and women in Singapore do actually want more sex. The problem seems to be more of a lack of communication than low libidos.
We asked a few mums about how their sex life is doing and this is what they said:
“Just the other day, I told my girlfriend that I find excuses not to have anything at all in bed!”
“When he asks for sex I tell him he has hands.”
“I think I pushed my libido right out of me along with the baby.”
“Actually these days I feel just using the vibrator is more than enough. Settles yourself.”
“If he wants sex he’s got to have a hand in the chores. If he’s going to just watch me taking care of the kids and cleaning the house, why does he even deserve sex? He’s got to earn it.”
So you see, using vibrators and wanting the man to earn their right to sex means two things:
- Mums still have their sex drive.
- Mums are holding back sex for some reason or the other.
We asked Anita Barot, Lotus Psychotherapy, Holland Peak, 1 Fullerton Road, #0201, One Fullerton, what she thinks about this. Anita is a family therapist with over 10 years of experience counselling individuals, couples and families. She received her Masters of Counselling at California Institute of Integral Studies.
Insights from Anita
Men and women are wired differently. For women, sex is not usually just about release. Women want their emotional needs to be met. It is of paramount importance to them.
They need to feel convinced that their partner values them.
What is the implication of this for the husband and wife?
For the wife
Don’t be entirely convinced that you have lost your libido. It is largely possible that you have lost interest in sex because you have built some kind of resentment and negativity towards your partner. You feel that they don’t care, or that they don’t care enough.
How do you just watch me doing everything and not feel that you have a part to play in running this household? Do you not live here too?
Just because I stay at home, it doesn’t mean that I’m any less tired than you. Has it ever occurred to you that I’ve been dealing with screaming kids all day and I’m incredibly tired?
I spend half my day doing my job and the other half of the day multi-tasking as your wife, the kids’ mom and the maid of the house. Don’t you see that I need my rest?
These are actual quotes from Singaporean mums. You could have similar thoughts when you feel that your husband isn’t doing enough at home. And these thoughts cause you to lose interest in sex. It’s more than the physical exhaustion really.
As Anita says, sex isn’t something that you give someone because he asks for it. Sex is supposed to feel more intimate. It makes couples feel connected. At least, it’s supposed to be that way.
If you don’t actually feel like you want to have sex, you can’t just do it to make someone happy.
For the Husband
If you figure out what you partner’s needs are, and you meet those needs, then they feel more connected and both of you end up feeling happier. And when people are happier, they naturally want to have more sex.
But when you ignore your partner’s needs, and you focus on what you think or assume she needs, then it’s going down a slippery slope.
You don’t meet her needs and she starts becoming grumpy and negative around you. This becomes a vicious cycle and it doesn’t take long for you to get mad at her. You might not even look forward to coming back home, knowing you’re going to open the door to a grumpy face.
For both the husband and wife
If this vicious cycle goes on, both of you start to not feel valued anymore. When people don’t feel seen, heard or understood, they start to act out. Both of you no longer want to be around each other.
You start finding comfort in turning on the tv and just relaxing.
Both parties start feeling resigned and miserable. The sense of dread that nothing that you do is working starts taking over.
This is where things really start going downhill. You end up losing yourselves in the relationship. You feel very unhappy and you communicate less. Conversations become superficial and operate like a checklist of who’s coming home for dinner and what you need to buy on the way home.
When you completely lose yourselves, there’s just no communication. This is a danger sign. Conflict is better than the ‘peace’ of not communicating.
Eventually, you find outlets that make you happy in the beginning and then lead to other things.
You see, according to Aristotle’s theory, human beings are social animals and therefore naturally seek the companionship of others as part of their well-being.
They need to build and maintain intimate or close social relationships.
So if there’s no communication at home, it can start with an innocuous text to a friend of the opposite gender. The frequency and duration of texting increases and eventually we know where it leads.
When a couple isn’t even communicating, they inevitably lose interest in sex. They don’t have sex for a month, then two, then three and eventually never. It shouldn’t get to that point.
Head on to the next page to find out Anita’s solutions to this problem.
Solution #1: Change of approach, objective listening
In the case of a loss of interest in sex because the man isn’t involved enough in running the home, the solution is quite simple. Talk to your husband and make him understand how his lack of involvement makes you feel. The difference could be in how you get your message across.
Try requesting instead of attacking. Don’t package your argument such that it seems as an attack on him or a stream of complaints that highlight his flaws. Men hate to feel inadequate. If you play the wrong card and bruise his ego, it makes things even worse.
Speak your mind and focus on talking about how you feel due to his actions, or lack of in this case. Don’t digress into finger pointing and putting him down.
On the husband’s part, you should listen objectively and make a conscious effort to understand where your wife is coming from. Don’t dismiss everything she says as nagging. Trust me when I say women do not enjoy nagging. There’s a reason she keeps saying the same thing.
Solution #2: Make sex a priority
For couples that lose interest in sex because the daily grind leaves them with no time and energy, the trick is to make it happen. Consciously.
Anita suggests making the space for it to happen. Yes there are kids and all the stresses, but set a day, set a time, have all the arrangements in place and go on a date night.
By date night, in this situation, we certainly do not mean sitting on your couch and watching a movie.
Either the husband or wife can suggest not cooking for the night and heading out to one of your favourite restaurants for dinner.
And please, we are not talking about date night with a bunch of friends. It’s just about the two of you and making things more fun again.
Solution #3: Disconnect to connect
If you haven’t already heard this enough, you have to disconnect to connect. People in this generation don’t seem to understand how gadgets are tearing their relationships apart.
There is no way you can emotionally connect with someone fully when your attention is split and you absolutely have to scroll through that Facebook feed every 2 minutes!
If the couple has lost interest in sex somewhere along the way, the only way to bring it back is to get to know each other all over again. Take a walk together, find out about each other’s day, and take the time to learn whom somebody is.
When conversations take place more frequently, venture into deeper conversations. Remember those dreams and aspirations that you talked about six years ago, before you got married? Remember who you defined yourself to be? Revisit these things, look at how you have both changed and grown in the marriage.
Change is the only constant. People change. People grow. In doing so, you don’t want to end up growing apart from each other. You want to grow together.
When you grow together, you feel more connected and in tune with each other. When you feel in tune, you feel more turned on. When you’re connected and engaged, you will just cuddle whenever you get a chance.
The lost interest in sex will return. Slowly but surely.
Solution #4: Bring back the excitement!
Another reason that couples lose interest in sex is that they feel like it’s just checking something off the to-do list. Even worse, if you are scheduling sex to try for a baby.
Sex should be the last thing that ever falls into a predictable routine after marriage! When it becomes a routine, it feels like you are doing a chore. And nobody wants to do things that feel like a chore, stresses Anita.
Take turns. Tell each other about a fantasy you have, or something new you want to try in the bedroom. Be open to each other’s suggestions. Be creative and adventurous.
Here’s a tip. It’s not the most exciting thing in the world to think of yourselves as parents. So when you get into the bedroom, why not try role-playing? Or try recreating those sexcapades you had prior to getting married?
There are a multitude of possibilities that await you really, if you would just try. And if you suspect that your baby will scream in the middle of it all, why not run off for a staycation and get your folks to look after the kids for a night?
Don’t dismiss the possibilities without even trying!
What does the Anita have to say to you?
I think that the relationship can really change if you invest in it. Start looking at some patterns that you have.
When you start looking at things differently, you might realise that you have not been so open to somebody. Start hearing what the other person says and make an effort to actually be more interested in what they are saying.
That small change can make somebody feel valued, and value you more as well.
We need to be more mindful of our partners. While it is true that we are all tired and stressed out, we need to recognise that if we invest a lot more in our relationship now, then things will be better later on.
For the men – try to be a bit more aware of what your wife is doing. Instead of just eating the food that she makes, recognise how much effort went into making that food. And tell her that you recognise that effort, because that makes all the difference.
Being together for many years makes people take each other for granted. But you don’t realise how turned off somebody feels because they are so tired from the whole situation.
For the women – try requesting, tell your man what you would like him to do instead of pinpointing what he doesn’t do. And when he does make an effort, recognise it instead of running it down. Men often complain that no matter what they do, it never gets valued so they just stop doing anything after a while.
Remember, it’s never about the chores. Your wife isn’t withholding sex because you didn’t do your share of chores. It’s the message that you sent to her by not thinking about her needs.
We hope this puts things into perspective for you. Mums, understanding yourselves and the reason you react the way you do might help you to communicate this to your hubbies, or to change your approach.
And dads, please don’t assume that women nag because it’s their innate quality to. They aren’t making a mountain out of a molehill. Chores seem trivial. But if they start making your wife lose interest in sex, then there’s definitely a much bigger underlying problem that you need to address, pronto!
Republished with permission from: theAsianParent Singapore
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