Desire Discrepancy Conversation
My guest is Dr. Corey Allan. He is a professional counselor and host of the podcast Sexy Marriage Radio, which centers on helping couples experience amazing sex within their relationships. He hosts the podcast with his wife, Pam, and they share some pretty stellar information on the topic every week.
Corey also has a private practice in McKinney, Texas and holds a Ph.D. in Family Therapy. And in this episode, Corey talks about desire discrepancy in particular. More specifically, he talks about productive ways for partners to navigate the high seas of fluctuating desires and the frustrations that can occur. One of the most important concepts that he shares (among so many others) is the importance of accepting desire discrepancy as natural, and not as right or wrong.
But this is a complicated subject. And through this episode, we dissect the many nuances of a common phenomenon. Be sure to listen and learn because this affects so many of us. Enjoy!
Framing Desire Discrepancy in a Positive Way
As Corey states, close to two thirds of all relationships experience some sort of desire discrepancy within the dynamic of the relationship. So this is a common phenomenon that doesn’t mean there’s something inherently wrong within the relationship at all.
Corey likes to frame it in a higher-lower spectrum rather than a right or wrong metric. This relieves some of the pressure and reframes this frequent aspect of relationships in a much more positive light.
He points out that sometimes it’s actually the lower desire partner who brings the necessary perspective to the relationship by shedding light on areas that perhaps need more improvement: this could be manifested in more mindful, present sex and other areas to explore for more meaningful sex for both parties. Often the lower desire partner has a good reason for not wanting sex all that much, and attending to those reasons can shift the whole relationship dynamic in a positive way.
The Harms of Pathologizing Desire
As we discussed during the episode, a common thing that happens within couple dynamics is the ‘pathologizing’ of each other’s differing desires.
The lower desire person will often ask what’s wrong with the higher desire individual, and vice versa, leading to a harmful interplay between each. It’s natural to get defensive, and it’s easy to assume that someone is to blame in the relationship; but mostly, desire discrepancy is a natural byproduct of being in a sexual relationship with anyone.
More on this within the episode.
Don’t Take Rejection Personally
Corey highlights the productive and constructive ways to initiate sex with a lower-desire partner. This means if you are high desire, you should not pout or whine at rejection. In addition, don’t complain that you do all the initiation–that just comes with the high-desire territory. Corey reminds you to play the long game and frame your initiation in a positive way. How you respond to your lower desire partner’s reaction is important!
Corey’s Definition for Great Sex
Corey says that the best sex is when a partner is seeking what they want, and at the same time, trying to give their partner what they want. He calls it a “fluid dance”, which could also be described as a healthy interplay between the wide spectrum of sexual interests that two people can naturally develop in their relationship.
He says that both partners have to show up to achieve this. Frequency has less to do with it. It has to do more with the quality of the sex itself. He says that if you can have good, quality sex, the number doesn’t really matter. In other words, there’s no quota to fulfill, but instead, there’s a standard of quality to achieve between both partners.
The Importance of Communication for Lower-Desire Partners
It can take courage for a lower-desire partner to speak up about their needs, or to break off an initiation, but it is extremely crucial for a healthy relationship and sexual dynamic. If the lower-desire partner can communicate their needs and be in a comfortable enough place to assert their comfort level with sex, then a lot of good can come from that. It is the responsibility of the higher-desire partner to create a space that is conducive for this type of communication to occur.
And for much more within this episode that wasn’t touched on here, be sure to check the rest of this episode out. There’s definitely a lot to chew on and digest!
Corey’s podcast: https://smrnation.com/series/sexymarriageradio/