Leandie Buys Realtionship Therapist & Clinical Sexologist

Desire Discrepancy

Desire Discrepancy results when one person in a couple wants to have sex more often than the other person.

A person who has a low sex drive will often experience desire discrepancy in their relationships. Desire Discrepancy can cause tension and resentment within the relationship, and it is vital that the couple seeks help from a therapist. Desire Discrepancy affects the whole relationship, not just the intimacy, and you and your partner will have to work hard to rebuild all these aspects.

Desire Discrepancy often leads to the Pursuer/Distancer Cycle forming within a relationship.

The Pursuer/Distancer Cycle

Dr Rosie King, a well-known Australian sexologist warns against the following:

When a couple experiences Desire Discrepancy, a vicious cycle begins.

The partner with the higher sex drive becomes the sexual pursuer. Pursuit may take the form of frequent initiation – in the hopes of ‘getting lucky’. The pursuer may complain about the lack of sex, sulk or initiate more frequent arguments in the relationship.

The partner with the lower sex drive becomes the sexual distancer. They try to avoid sexual contact. This partner may go to bed early, be reluctant to hug and kiss (in case it leads to sex) and they may refuse to undress in front of their partner.

Unfortunately, the behaviour of the distancer provokes the pursuer to chase even more.

The result of this cycle is that the couple begins to withdraw from each other emotionally and physically. The distancer becomes hyper-alert to contact and affection because they see it as a sexual invitation. They talk less and become less affectionate. The intimacy of the relationship decreases. Partners develop bad feelings towards each other and may even end up sleeping in separate beds.

The solution

If your relationship has reached the stage where communication has broken down, and the relationship is no longer fulfilling, loving and a positive influence on your life, you and your partner need the intervention of a relationship counsellor. To save your relationship, you need perspective, information and reassurance from an outside source.

A counsellor will have the tools, knowledge and understanding to help you repair your relationship.

Relationship counselling has proven to be extremely effective in rebuilding relationships affected by Desire Discrepancy.