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Sexual Desire Poisons - Not Just Turnoffs

Updated: Oct 4, 2022

Despite being in a society where sex is everywhere, it's rare to have an open, vulnerable conversation about it – even between partners in a committed relationship. Certain feelings we have can easily turn into sexual poisons when we're unable to communicate about them, and this can become a very vicious cycle.

Usually when we think of sexual roadblocks or turn-offs, we might think of certain positions, bad breath, etc. These certainly are valid, but aren't sexual poisons like we'll get into today.

Sexual Desire Poisons


This one is usually pretty easy to spot – there's tension, a cold nature to the relationship, and a lot of negative interactions. Sex is either not a factor at all, or when one tries to initiate, the other shuts it down quickly. The vicious cycle of anger is that it can easily make for an adversarial environment, with both partners digging their heels in because they feel the other is treating them unfairly. Anger can create a relationship devoid of any desire for the other.

Distance from each other

Distance can seem like anger on the surface, but is much different. While anger is explosive and intense, distance is more apathetic and numb – couples who have recently had children, and those who have been together for a long time can be more susceptible to this.

Oftentimes there's not a lot of resentment (and if there is, it's not intense) or an adversarial relationship; instead, there's a roommate-like and/or unnatural nature to the relationship, and an anxiety around sex. Because the couple isn't emotionally engaged and connected, it makes sex seem anything but easy – there's self-doubt, the fear of it going poorly, being rejected, or simply not having much desire because of the disconnect.

Anxiety / Pressure

A specific kind of anxiety is actually quite common in couples: Performance Anxiety. It's very often seen in men and revolves around not being able to get or maintain an erection – not being able to "perform." Since each sexual encounter is seen as a test, if he doesn't "perform" there will be consequences – embarrassment, negative feedback from his partner, or isolation to name a few.

This can become a vicious cycle by the anxious partner losing their erection and soon after leaving the room and isolating themselves because of the embarrassment. Sex can become a taboo topic because there's so much unsaid, and it starts to be associated with more negative feelings (insecurity, frustration, etc).

Another form of anxiety or pressure that's often experienced by women is body dysmorphia – this is essentially having a lot of insecurity and shame around your body, how it looks or functions, regardless of what other people or your partner thinks of you.

This can also become a vicious cycle because if I'm insecure about my body, which you might not realize, and you express a lot of frustration that I'm not having sex with you as often, I'm going to feel so pressured that it'll make me to want to be intimate even less.

How to Remedy These Poisons

The foundation to solving these is to simply acknowledge them and become aware that they're there. Being able to face them will give you a much better chance of figuring them out – avoiding them is understandable but often just keeps us stuck, or will often make things worse.

After acknowledging they're there, you need to talk to each other. For anger, come to each other to talk through what's bothering you – try to remind yourself of why you love the other person, and why you want things to work out with them. Talking to each other as teammates instead of enemies will help immensely in resolving those resentment; remember that it's the two of you against the problem, not you against each other.

When there's distance, open up to each other about the closeness or connection you would like. What things could you/the other person do that would make you feel a little more connected, cared for, excited, interested? Tend to your relationship and the other person more. When there's more connection, engagement, and fun, you're giving your sexual desire a much healthier soil to grow out of.

Performance Anxiety can be a tough one – for this, try to create a sexual environment that's more about pleasure than performance. Let it be okay if they lose an erection, or aren't able to get one – you can still have a pleasurable time even if there's not traditional intercourse. Make pleasure and having a good time with each other the focus, not performing in one way.

Body dysmorphia can also be very difficult because our society is dominated by messages of how you should look or how you should be. To take steps forward, try to recognize any dynamics that are making this worse – are there certain comments being made by one partner about the other's body, do they feel pressure to have sex even if they're not comfortable.

Also talk about what the individual struggling with body dysmorphia needs – do they need reassurance, to do their own individual work, what would help? Communicate with and understand each other (because you probably have different perspectives, neither right or wrong) so that you can come up with some sort of a plan forward

Sexual problems have the tendency to be very emotionally charged. If it's extremely difficult to talk about these issues, it could be beneficial to reach out to a therapist that specializes in Sex Therapy who can facilitate more positive and effective conversations.

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