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Sex is a pretty important part of most couples' relationships — and conflicts about it can get very tricky, especially if the needs and desires of one partner have changed significantly. 

Are you facing any of the following intimacy-related scenarios in your marriage or relationship?

  • Your partner's libido is significantly higher than yours. 
  • Your partner's libido is significantly lower than yours, or your partner has lost all interest in sex. 
  • Your partner would like to try out new things that you're just not into — for example, anal sex, kinky sex, a threesome, or swinging. 
  • You would like to try out new things that your partner does not seem to be open to. 
Conversations about your sex life might not have led anywhere, and you may even end up dealing with serious disagreements that place a great strain on your relationship. 

What Factors Play A Role In Disagreements About Sex?

Sex is a rather primal urge, and a healthy sex life often proves to be a vital component of a relationship both partners are happy with. Disagreements about the topic can trigger feelings of low self-esteem, jealousy, shame, and inadequacy. In addition, the partner with the lower libido or the partner who is not interested in exploring different kinds of sex may feel both pressured to do something they do not want to do to preserve the relationship, and disgusted by their partner's changing or recently expressed preferences.

Attitudes towards sex are shaped by cultural circumstances, as well. This goes both ways — someone may feel it is their duty to make their partner happy even if they themselves suffer for it, or they may be weary of trying new things they may actually really enjoy because they have come to see those things as taboo. 

What Can You Do To Resolve Conflicts About Sex?

Open and honest communication on the part of both partners always goes a long way. Whether you would like more sex than you're having, your partner wants more sex than you do, or you are in disagreement over the kinds of sex you would like to have — make a commitment to truly listen to each other, without judgment to whatever extent possible.

Remember to empathize and place yourself in your partner's shoes. Don't pressure your partner into having sex they don't want, and don't shame your other half for wanting more or different kinds of sex. 

Try to connect with each other emotionally in ways that do not involve sex, as well. You're more likely to be able to resolve conflicts about intimacy if your relationship is otherwise in a good place. People who have been together for a long time may have lost some of that initial passion. Sometimes, you can rekindle that by making more time for each other again. Go on a weekend trip, try a new hobby, make time to have serious conversations about your hopes and dreams again. 

Should connecting with each other and talking openly not get you anywhere, (sex) therapy is an option. Couples counseling can help you understand the roots of your partner's sexual desires or lack thereof, and enable you to come to a solution you are both content with, whether that solution is renewed passion or a divorce. 

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