Sociologist and sex educator Barbara Rothmüller with a column about which couple dynamics you should end early in your partnership.
During an argument, Martin criticizes his wife Julia. After 13 years of marriage, she is sexually “as attractive as a wooden plank”. It’s not the first time he’s belittled her. No matter how hard Julia tries, she can’t please him during sex. She feels increasingly insecure, worthless and small. Maybe he’s right and she really is unattractive? Martin successfully convinced her that his sexual frustration was her responsibility. With a little distance you have to call what Manfred does psychological violence. Julia’s low level of sexual desire is just one way he puts pressure on her.
Even if things don’t always escalate like in this marriage, the desire for sex can become a subject of conflict in romantic relationships. People with a lot of sex drive make their less lustful partners feel bad. Usually, the person with a high libido is automatically considered “good”. The person with little desire does not. She should change. This can’t go well.
People are rarely bothered by not wanting to have sex until they get into a relationship where the new partner often wants sex. So the problem is not the lack of desire, but that the partners are not a good sexual match. The solution? Everyone involved is responsible for their sexual desire. The couple must discover together how to live their sexuality in a way that makes them both feel good. And they better clarify their boundaries sooner rather than later. Because if there is a negative relationship dynamic for a long time, psychological violence can spread like wildfire.
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Dr. Barbara Rothmüller, sociologist and sex educator