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Prescriptions for Sexual Frustration

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

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"If I'm sitting around waiting to feel like I want to have sex, or to desire to have sex, it ain't gonna happen," Love says. "I have to make a conscious decision to become aroused, to do whatever it is that arouses me.

"All you need is the desire to desire to be a great sex partner. But we're not used to being intentional about it."

So how often does the average couple have sex? What is normal?

"I will never answer the question," Lou Paget, a sex educator whose books include The Great Lover Playbook and Hot Mamas, tells WebMD. "And you know why I don't? Because I know someone's going to get beaten up with that number."

As frustrating as it is to not have sex as often as you'd like, what's worse is not being able to do what you like. Maybe you have a fantasy your partner isn't willing to help you fulfill, or a certain sex act is off limits.

It could be something relatively tame, like having sex with the lights on instead of in the dark, or something as crazy as ... you name it.

Violet Blue says she routinely hears about three things that would really make someone's day, but their partner says, "no way": anal sex, swallowing after fellatio, and arranging a threesome.

Typically she hears this from men, but that doesn't mean women are all shrinking violets. "Men tend to be more vocal about wanting to try a particular sex act or a particular fantasy," she says, but "women are always proving me wrong. They always blow my mind with how shocking they are about sex."

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 he or 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.

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