Even when you're relatively happy in your relationship, it can sometimes feel like something is missing... and that something is often sex. If your partner is great, but you're just not having the kind of sex you desire, then it's understandable if you feel a bit unfulfilled. But knowing the signs you're sexually frustrated in your relationship, and how to combat it, can put you both on the path to pleasure.
"In a relational sense, sexual frustration often occurs when one partner’s sex drive is significantly higher, more robust than their partner’s," explains Michael Moran, LCSW, an AASECT Certified Sex Therapist and the founder and director of The Center for Relational Fulfillment.
"The warning signs are many," he tells Romper. These include "vacillating between trying everything you can to court your partner and getting (or manipulating) them to respond to your advances" to "giving up and sulking in anger and pretense that you don't care" to "coercing them into trying new things" and then blaming them or labeling them "sexually defective" if those new things don't arouse them. Ultimately, he says, sexual frustration in a relationship can cause a person to rely on porn or other types of fantasy... and if the problem goes unaddressed, "infidelity can occur to manage the sexual disconnect/frustration/anger at feeling continually rejected."
The "antidote" to all of this, he says, is to sit down with your partner, "sharing from a deeply vulnerable place how difficult this is for you, that you’re genuinely concerned for the welfare of the relationship, and that your sexual advances are not just about getting off but about connecting with them in a deeply meaningful way." Hopefully, this will lead to an "open-hearted dialogue" about what's going on with the two of you, and what to do about it.
It's true that maintaining a healthy sex level in any relationship can prove challenging. But it doesn't have to be impossible. Even if a few of these signs of sexual frustration ring true, there are plenty of steps you can take toward creating a more fulfilling, satisfying sex life. Read on to identify the warning signs that you need to work on making your relationship more sexually satisfying (and how to do it).
1. Your Daydreams Get More Erotic
The Issue: There's nothing wrong with indulging in a fantasy or two. But if your fantasy sex life is vastly more fulfilling than the real deal, it may be time to consider a change. What are you missing in your relationship?
The Fix: Recreate those fantasies in your own bedroom (provided your partner is down). Maybe you indulge in some dress-up or role play. Put your lively imagination to use in real life.
2. You Disagree About Frequency of Sex
The Issue: You want sex several times a week, but your partner is more of a bimonthly kind of person. How do you cope with having a higher libido? It can lead to considerable frustration.
The Fix: This can be a serious road block. It's crucial to respect your partner's sexual preferences, and not take the difference in libido personally, as noted in the website for Psychology Today. In some cases, the libidinal differences can be addressed. For other couples, however, incompatible libidos can mean the end of a relationship. It's a personal call.
3. You Turn To Escapism
The Issue: Is reading steamy fan fiction more enticing than spending time with your real-life partner? Sure, everyone needs a break from reality now and then. But are you devoting a serious amount of time and mental energy into fictional romance to avoid some deficit in the relationship?
The Fix: Speak up. Spend some time talking about your needs in the relationship with your partner. If there's something specific in an erotic novel you'd like to try, by all means run it by your SO.
4. You're Horny All The Time
The Issue: This is likely the most obvious sign, to be honest. If you're always in the mood, more or less, chances are it's time for some changes in the relationship. There are needs to address. (Your needs, to be clear.)
The Fix: Book your partner for sex. Sure, it may sound dull, but scheduling sex can do wonders for many couples, as noted by Alternet. The person with a higher libido has a better chance of getting needs met more often, provided the other partner is game. Put it in your calendar.
5. You Take Matters Into Your Own Hands
The Issue: A little personal time is great for everyone, whether you're in a relationship or not. But if masturbation is significantly more pleasurable than partnered sex, it's time for some changes in the bedroom. You deserve to have great sex in your relationship, too.
The Fix: Show your partner how it's done. It's fine to masturbate in front of your partner, according to the website for Glamour. Plus, your SO will get a better sense of your likes and dislikes.
6. You Indulge In Nervous Habits
The Issue: Everyone has a nervous habit. Are you chewing through cups of ice, or gnawing on your nails all the time, though? Consider the source of that frustration.
The Fix: Set aside some time to really reconnect with your SO in the bedroom. Enjoy sex with no distractions or time pressures. Chances are, you won't feel so on edge afterward.
7. You Start Looking Around
The Issue: Do strangers on the train, random neighbors, and people in line at the coffee shop start to look very tempting? If you're drooling over every person you see — and this is a bit out of character — take note. Something may be missing in your relationship.
The Fix: Consider getting more adventurous with your SO. Indulge in the classic stranger role play to bring in some new excitement, as noted in HuffPo. It can be liberating. Bonus: that sexy stranger at the bar already knows what you like in bed.
8. You Have A Short Fuse
The Issue: You're usually a chill person. But now, everything annoys you. Waiting in line, getting stuck in traffic, and slow internet connections have you ready to scream.
The Fix: Have sex. Repeat if necessary. Feel better now?
9. You Feel Unsatisfied After Sex
The Issue: Does sex leave you wanting more? This can be especially frustrating. It warrants a chat with your SO.
The Fix: Hey, talking about your likes and dislikes in bed can be one of the more sizzling aspects of a relationship. Discussing sexual activities you already like, as well as some new ones to try out, can do wonders for a relationship, according to the American Sexual Health Association. Chances are, you might learn a new thing or two about your partner.
Michael Moran, LCSW, AASECT Certified Sex Therapist and the founder and director of The Center for Relational Fulfillment
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