SWOON: I Would Do Anything For Love But I Won't Do That: Low Desire Partners in Relationships

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Every Monday, join Julie Jeske and Gina Senarighi, sex therapists, pleasure specialists, and relationship coaches, as they break down what everyone needs to know about sex, relationships, intimacy, love and desire.

Whether you want fresh and honest information about sex and relationships or tools to create more fulfilling intimacy and pleasure, this podcast is going to help you connect meaningfully with yourself and your lovers.


This week:

I WOULD DO ANYTHING FOR LOVE BUT I WON’T DO THAT: Low Desire Partners in Relationships

A lot has been said about low desire partners in relationships. It’s one of the most challenging and misunderstood dynamics in intimate partnership. So knowing how to sort the junk form quality information is critical.

Let Gina and Julie help you understand why low desire occurs even in healthy loving relationships, and what you can do to address it.

This Episode Covers

  • They ways “lower desire” can affect an individual and a relationship

  • Many of the factors that can influence how much desire someone experiences

  • The difference between spontaneous desire and responsive desire 

  • Information about the Human Sexual Response Cycle and a new way to look at arousal and desire

  • How “practicing willingness” instead of “waiting for desire” can change your sexual experience

  • Practical tools you can use in your relationship or with yourself to explore willingness, pleasure and desire

Memorable Quotes From This Episode:

On low desire - 

“It's easy to go to that place of 'I have low desire and something is wrong with me', rather than 'my life is super full and complicated right now and I'm not able to access my desire because so much is going on.'” 

“Our whole culture reinforces this - if one of us has lower desire that means I'm broken, you're broken or we're broken – that's just not really true, there are so many factors that affect our desire”

On spontaneous desire - 

“Spontaneous desire is how most of the people I talk to expect desire to show up – it's typically what we experience in the beginning of relationships or see in the movies.”

On responsive desire -

“One of the questions I'll often ask folks is, “If you do have a sexual experience together – what happens afterwards?” The person who identifies as having lower desire will often say, 'That was so much fun, remind me how much I love that!'”

“Responsive desire is when our bodies or brains are feeling something that feels good, desire kicks in in response to that.”

On exploring willingness - 

“Sometimes if you can really show up and not be stressed about what it is supposed to look like or what is going to happen next and just engage and tune into your body and your pleasure and the present moment it will potentially lead to something else because the arousal has kicked in, your body is starting to warm up, your brain is starting to warm up, you're feeling really connected and then that desire kicks and you want more – not all the time, but often, that's what happens for folks.”

“It's important for us to know our “nos” so we can truly know our “yeses”.”

Resources Shared in This Episode

 Nothing is Wrong with your Sex Drive

Basson Model

Action Steps

Make Out!

First define what counts as making out so you and your partner have similar expectations.

Set a timer and make out for 5 minutes every night – if kissing for 5 minutes is a struggle, find a way to connect for the remainder of the 5 minutes.

This exercise helps cultivate a willingness to show up and be affectionate.

You can also have a solo practice for exploring willingness.

Touch yourself in a way that doesn't focus on orgasm. If you typically focus on your genitals what's it like to focus on other parts of your body? Can you experience new pathways of pleasure that don't involved the parts of your body you typically focus on?

If you have a vagina and would like more ideas about how you might explore your body, OMGYes is a good resource.


Every Monday, join Julie Jeske and Gina Senarighi, sex therapists, pleasure specialists, and relationship coaches, as they break down what everyone needs to know about sex, relationships, intimacy, love and desire. 

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