One of the more common questions that I get from both men and women is:

My partner doesn’t want sex as often as I do (or, my partner doesn’t want to have any sex at all)… what should I do?

In this example a woman wrote to me on the verge of breaking up with her man over the lack of physical intimacy:

Alex,

Thank you for all the information you put out.

I have read everything you said and I agree with you however I’m I’m a relationship where my partner won’t have sex with me. He refuses any thing I attempt. I’m in shape. It’s abnormal because its been 10 months. We’re in our mid 30s I assume the only thing I can do is leave. He states it’s stress but our lives are not stressful we don’t live together. It’s like a friendship. Do you have any advice or anything you recommend

My reply below will likely be valuable to many couples struggling with almost any persistent issue in their relationship that is simply a deal breaker for one of them…

It’s a difficult situation you find yourself in, and often there are no easy answers…

The great news is that difficult situations are usually amazing growth opportunities, and in this case that growth could come from an amazing emotional breakthrough in your current relationship, OR the profound learning and wisdom available in completing a relationship and moving on as a new and wiser person into your next relationship.

Since you are already considering leaving, you have this powerful opportunity to practice one of the most fundamental of all relationship skills:

How to have a powerful conversation.

First, you must create a safe context for a conversation like this. It’s not an after dinner blurt. Begin by carving out a time and place so that you can both arrive to the conversation prepared to give it your best.

Here’s a general idea of how you might set that up: “I have an important matter to discuss with you that is very close to my heart, that I am feeling very vulnerable about, and that relates to the love that we share. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it is none-the-less scary for me. Can we create a safe space for a conversation where we both bring our best intentions to support each other, and set aside 3 hours on Saturday…”

Resist being bullied into having the conversation immediately by appealing to his compassion and by requesting his help and protection, not by digging in your heels and stone-walling. You should be ready to have the conversation if necessary, but at this stage, if he forces it, he is already emotionally triggered and you are already at a deficit.

Then, when you show up for the conversation, make your best effort to stay calm, not get triggered, and most of all, BE POWERFULLY COMPASSIONATE AROUND HIS FEARS and insecurities that might trigger his anger, denial, etc… and go digging for the truth.

He might have a porn addiction, he might have a mistress, he might be secretly gay, or very likely, he might be nervous around you noticing his inability to get hard for a number of reasons and has been too humiliated to work on it together so he’s just been hiding from it. He also might just not be attracted to you and is afraid of hurting you.

Who knows? The truth might be far, far from anything you expected, and it might very well be something that he holds shame around, something he never imagined a loving partner would be willing to help him through.

Be open to what is true (even if it hurts), be willing to share what is true (even if it hurts).

Be strong enough to be open about things that hurt you, without throwing blame at him for that hurt.

On the other side might be a relationship worth fighting for.

Or, you might discover a man that you realize isn’t right for you, either because he can’t meet your level of maturity in this conversation, or because he actually doesn’t want the same things that you want out of life.

If the relationship is worth fighting for, work relentlessly to keep that blame-free dedication to what is true, and you will find possibilities for depth and intimacy that you never would have had the opportunity to experience if the sex had been just “good” all along.

You’ll look back on this issue you once had around his lack of sexual desire with profound thanks… because it was the very trigger that forced you to sink or swim in greater intimacy and connection. In the end, you’ll realize that the power and value of transcending this together is far greater than any “easy” path.

If you realize the relationship is not worth fighting for, take a breath, allow yourself to feel the profound sadness and the mourning that comes with completing a relationship. You don’t need to push those feelings down.

Then also allow yourself to feel the “rightness” of it. Allow yourself to feel the excitement of new opportunity, as you re-enter the world of possibility with new men, as a new and better version of yourself.

If you are sad for a long time and have feelings of doubt about the decision you made to leave, be gentle with yourself and know that this is a natural part of the mourning process. Don’t feel guilty about feeling fun/excited at the same time you feel sad and scared.

It’s totally cool to be human, even when it hurts.

THE IMPORTANT THING IS…

Don’t look at this road-map for powerful communication, think, “oh, crap, that sounds hard,” and skip the conversation and just break up with him. Do the work even if you think it’s probably going to turn out badly.

First because it’s hard to imagine how great a man he may become and that you’ll may get to relate with if it turns out that there is something worth fighting for together.

And secondly, because the experience and growth of successfully completing a relationship in this way will transform you into a more powerful, compassion, and attractive lover who is far more capable of attracting the kind of powerful, compassionate, and attractive man you’ve always dreamed of.

Sending you love and light,

Alex