I need sex what should i do

Sexlessness: what is behind when your partner no longer wants sex - and how you deal with it

When sex in partnerships is cut off less and less or in the end even completely, it is often a great burden. A wide variety of reasons can be the trigger for this problem - not all of them are directly related to sex.

If one partner wants sex and the other doesn't, this presents a relationship with special challenges. The Munich psychologist Alexandra Hartmann has been looking after those affected in her practice for couples counseling for over ten years. The therapist and author of the book "My needs, your needs" describes specific cases to FOCUS Online and explains how a couple can get into such a situation at all.

FOCUS Online: Can a relationship even work without sex?

Alexandra Hartmann: It always depends on how both of you feel about it. Unfortunately, in the vast majority of cases this is only okay for one partner and not for the other. And then of course it becomes difficult. I always say to my clients: If I feel like playing tennis, I can do it with a friend.

FOCUS Online: But it's not always that easy with sex.

Alexandra Hartmann: Exactly. In a monogamous relationship, sexuality is defined in such a way that it should only take place between partners. And because most relationships in our culture are monogamous, it becomes a problem if only one person doesn't want to. But there are also rare cases in which both of them say: "It's okay with us, we're through with the topic, but get along really well - so why not?"

FOCUS Online: Is the monogamous relationship model itself a problem because it increases the pressure to find sexual fulfillment only in the partnership?

"Monogamy is always a challenge"

Alexandra Hartmann: You can see it this way and that. Personally, I don't think we're naturally made for monogamy. Our closest relatives are the monkeys, and they are not monogamous either, although they enter into two-way relationships. They live in a family atmosphere, but genetic tests have shown that not all children are from the "father of the family". So I have my doubts.

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FOCUS Online: Nevertheless, open relationships are often frowned upon.

Alexandra Hartmann: We have chosen monogamy in our culture for certain reasons that also have a lot to do with security. And so it is always a challenge to live this model in a certain way.

FOCUS Online: This means that in certain cases it helps to open up the relationship and allow the partner to have affairs.

Alexandra Hartmann: That is the same problem as with the lack of sex: If both really agree, then you can agree on everything in a relationship. But even there it is the case that the desire usually comes more from one person and the other inevitably joins in because he is afraid of losing his partner completely - and gritting his teeth, so to speak. I have had little experience that this really works.

"Listlessness comes when there is no emotional stimulus"

FOCUS Online: What reasons can be behind the listlessness?

Alexandra Hartmann: There are so many. Therefore, the question as such is difficult to answer. Very often it creeps in after pregnancy and the birth of the baby. I think it often has something to do with the fact that people wean themselves off sex during a certain lull period. And then there are tensions and insecurities that the couples can no longer overcome.

FOCUS Online: Do injuries that have occurred in the relationship also play a role?

Alexandra Hartmann: Yes, if I have moved away from my partner emotionally, internally, that also affects my lust. Even if the issues are perhaps no longer acute, these injuries can be very lasting.

FOCUS Online: What else is there?

Alexandra Hartmann: Illnesses or hormonal changes, for example, can also be reasons. And with many people the listlessness comes when the initial infatuation is simply no longer there and this emotional stimulus is missing.

FOCUS Online: Does that mean that it can also be due to the partner himself? You love him, but you don't find him attractive anymore.

"You fall into the little brother and sister mode"

Alexandra Hartmann: Naturally. As a victim, you are ashamed to say it, you find it embarrassing and think: "These are actually outward appearances, because I love him after all." But I think we all have our aesthetic limits as well.

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FOCUS Online: Much changes over time, especially with long-term couples.

Alexandra Hartmann: Absolutely. At the moment I'm working with a couple where the man has put on weight and the woman says: “I just don't find him attractive anymore.” In addition to the physical and aesthetic, there are other things: You sweat more, you snore. It can all play a role.

FOCUS Online: So if the partner loses ten or twenty pounds ...

Alexandra Hartmann: ... then it will not necessarily be the case. It's not so easy that the desire is automatically there again.

FOCUS Online: Rather?

Alexandra Hartmann: It also plays a role that one has weaned one another and falls into a different relationship mode in which one is very attached to one another. I often call it the "brother and sister mode". This is then a different form of love, just as one loves siblings, children or parents, where the erotic part is missing.

"Sex withdrawal is used less consciously as a punishment"

FOCUS Online: If the reasons are psychological: is it sometimes actually not about sex, but about other topics?

Alexandra Hartmann: When couples get to know each other, they bring many expectations into the relationship. Most of the time, expectations remain unspoken and not all of them are met. And this is how emotional injuries arise: the woman withdraws further and further from her partner and then no longer has any need for closeness - which is then never addressed in many relationships.

FOCUS Online: So you're working to expose the things that happened subliminally.

Alexandra Hartmann: Yes, I then look: is a cure possible? Can you forgive the other? Can we perhaps find a different way of dealing with one another in the future? Often the point is that people have to distance themselves from their high expectations.

FOCUS Online: Could it also be that there can be hidden power struggles behind where control is at stake?

Alexandra Hartmann: Naturally. Sentences like "I don't sleep with you because you are not nice to me" or "because you yell at me" are used very often. Although I am always of the opinion that it is not so much that sex withdrawal is deliberately used as a punishment, but that there is a listlessness behind it that has arisen from the injury. Most of the time it's an unconscious process.

Alexandra Hartmann is a trained psychologist and trained systemic therapist. She has many years of experience in couple counseling and therapy for people in difficult emotional situations and has so far published two books: "Finish well. Search successfully. Love new." was published by Orlanda Verlag in 2015, followed in 2017 by "My Needs, Your Needs" by Klett-Cotta Verlag.

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