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Prescriptions for Sexual Frustration

You want it more, she wants it less — or vice versa. Sexual frustration affects almost every couple. So how do you get past it?

Sexual communication continued...

For those in long-term relationships, it's frustrating when something that was a favorite dish when the romance was new is suddenly taken off the menu. But it's not uncommon for people to extend themselves beyond what they would normally do when they're infatuated and eager to please. When they're not in such an accommodating mood anymore, they retract. That's understandable, but it can seem like false advertising.

"The reason the person signed up was because you were behaving like that," Paget says. Of course, you're not obliged to do anything that makes you uncomfortable, but understand if your partner is peeved.

Work towards a compromise if you can. "You can move in graduated steps," Love says. Start with something that's close to what she wants to do, get comfortable with that, and then try something closer still. If you're on the receiving end of the favor, don't insist on having everything exactly your way. Perhaps you want oral sex, for example, but your partner will only do it when you're fresh out of the shower. That is what Weston calls "the price of admission." Sometimes you have to accept it.

Singles are not exempt from frustration and anxiety about their quirks and kinks. You may not be locked into sexual negotiation with one partner forever, but then again, new partners don't know what you want, and you may have some explaining to do. "You have to learn to be creative with your sexual communication," Violet Blue says. All too often, when people get together, they share everything about themselves — their tastes, pet peeves, histories, and habits — except for what pertains to sex.

"They think they know what the other person is thinking and wants to do," Paget says. "Invariably they're not accurate."

Setting the scene

You catch her eye. She comes to you, and you tumble into a passionate embrace. Sultry notes from a tenor saxophone rise in the background. You tear at each other's clothes. The air quivers with the heat of your lovemaking.

That may be the scene, but we often forget how it was set. "All the things that people use as an example of spontaneous sex," Paget says, "those things were all planned." Phone calls were made, dates and times agreed upon, email checked, work wrapped up, teeth brushed, privacy secured. Most people rarely find themselves swept into a totally unexpected sexual encounter, and they may become frustrated because they don't do enough planning, expecting that kind of spontaneity.

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