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  • Joseanne Spiteri

Not Tonight Honey- The Sexual Cycle that Keeps You Stuck

Updated: Dec 28, 2020

One thing that I often see in my practice is sexual desire discrepancy. In terms of sexual issues, this is the most common thing I see. In fact, over 80% of couples are going to find themselves in a dynamic where one wants more and one wants less.

The dynamic unfortunately leads to a pattern whereby one is always the initiator and feels constantly rejected and the other is the distancer in order to avoid sexual conflict.

Let me outline what often ends up happening in this type of dynamic:

Jack- Tries to connect with this partner through sex. He wants more sex in order to meet his needs for connection with her and is asking his partner Jill for sex.

Jill- The requests for sex puts pressure on her to give him what he needs. But she does not feel in the mood as she once used to at the beginning of the relationship and declines his requests. Her job is stressful. She is just so tired. There is no time. He does not try to connect with her emotionally and it's hard for her to want to be with him sexually. She tells him she is not interested, and wants to wait until she is really in the mood. She sometimes thinks to herself and says to him “all you want is sex”.

Jack- Jack perceives Jill’s disinterest as a rejection. He starts to wonder if she still finds him attractive. Why does she not want me? He simply wants something natural and healthy and does not understand why she does not want the same thing. He tries to find different ways of requesting sex/intimacy that he’s hoping will give him better results. But nothing seems to be working. She still refuses him. He starts to get frustrated and gets resentful. His requests become more demanding or passive aggressive due to his frustration.

Jill- She hears his frustration and may start to feel a little guilty. She wants to be there for him sexually, but his increasing demands only increase the pressure. This kills the mood even more. Her interest in sex is waning. She starts to think that her husband does not think she is a good sexual partner or wife. She starts to give in to his demands in order to please him. But she is not really enjoying this.

Jack-He is getting sex, but he knows she is giving in and is not really into it. He thinks to himself “She’s not really in the mood and just wants to get it over with”. His resentment grows. Why doesn’t she want to connect with me anymore?

Jill- She senses his resentment and is angry that he is STILL not happy even though she is having sex with him. She wonders if she can ever truly make him happy. She either continues to acquiesce out of a sense of obligation, or starts to avoid sex altogether. Why continue to give in to him when he is still not happy?


Jack- He might eventually give up trying as it is just too painful to keep getting rejected.

And there you have it. Does this sounds familiar? Do you recognize this in your relationship? Do you see yourself in Jack’s moves or perhaps you are more aligned to Jill’s perspective? For the purpose of this article, Jack is the pursuer and Jill is the distancer. It is important to know, however, that it could just as easily be the woman in the relationship that is pursuing and the man that is distancing. There is also often a pursuer and a distancer in gay and lesbian relationships.

You may have been trapped in this cycle for a very long time. So what can you do make it better? There is hope!

Tune into Part 2 (coming soon) to learn how to it could be different in your relationship.