May 8, 2020

5 things Couples Therapy Can Help With—Part 4: Sexual Disconnection

Couple having arguments and sexual problems in bed


Did you miss a blog in this series? Click here to read Part 1Part 2, and Part 3.

Two things tend to happen in our sex lives when we are emotionally disconnected:

  1. we become sexually disconnected
  2. our sex life is the only place we are connected

​That being said, it is more common to feel sexually disconnected when there is an emotional disconnection.

A common problem couples face in this situation is called sexual desire discrepancy. This is often due to how people try to regain connection.

For some individuals, when they feel disconnected from their partner and are longing to reconnect, their sex drive increases. This is often because they like to use sex as a way to reconnect with their partner. They want to use sex as the kindling to start the fire of emotional connection burning again.

Loving Couple on the Bed

For other individuals, when they are feeling disconnected and wanting to regain closeness, their sex drive actually decreases until the connection is repaired. These individuals do not find sex to be helpful in reconnecting to their partner. Instead, they see great sex as an activity that happens after a strong emotional connection. Here, sex is the massive bonfire and only comes after the emotional connection has been building for a while.

Neither approach is right or wrong—they are just differences in preference and how someone connects to others.

​The hard part comes in when one partner wants sex to reconnect, and the other partner wants to reconnect before sex. The conversation between couples often ends up being about whether or not to have sex instead of the desire to reconnect. This often makes both partners feel pushed away from each other, not valued or wanted, and can create more distance. The key point to remember is that both partners are longing to be reconnected and close again. Couples therapy can help change this pattern, help you understand each other, and help you change the conversation from sex to the underlying mutual desire for connection.

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    About Author

    Elizabeth Polinsky is a Certified Emotionally Focused Couple Therapist (EFT) providing EFT marriage counseling in the states of Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Arkansas, and Nevada. She also provides EFT training and supervision to therapists looking to become certified in EFT Couple Therapy. As a military spouse, she has a special passion for working with military and veteran couples, and is also the host of The Communicate & Connect Podcast for Military Relationships.


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