Episode 73: What’s Suppressing Your Desire?

by | Last updated: Apr 24, 2024 | Podcast

Many of my clients come to me saying, “I no longer feel desire for my partner… even though I want to! Intimacy used to feel so different. What’s wrong?”

And well, it’s probably not what you think.

In this episode, I invite you to discover how the thrill of novelty and the excitement of the unknown are essential to your long-term marriage, plus how you can realistically bring these elements back to life, starting today.

Because maybe it’s less about what’s “wrong” with your relationship… and more about what you can do differently.

Listen to the Full Episode:

What You’ll Learn In This Episode:

0:59 – You might think THIS is the problem (it’s not!)
2:49 – Here’s the real problem – and it happens to all of us
6:01 – Imagine what it looks like to re-incorporate spontaneity into your marriage
9:25 – But here’s the worst time of day to begin…
11:16 – Here’s what I do to keep desire alive with my husband
12:29 – Why non-sexual touch is vital to revamping desire

Featured On What’s Suppressing Your Desire?

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Struggling to decide whether to stay or go in your marriage and you’re serious about finding that answer?

Book a Truth & Clarity Session with a member of my team. We’ll discuss where you are in your marriage and explore if there’s a fit for you and I to work together so you can make - and execute - the RIGHT decision for YOU and your marriage.

Welcome to the Loving Truth Podcast, where it's all about finding clarity, confidence, and peace in the face of marriage challenges. And now your host relationship expert and certified master life coach, Sharon Pope. This is Sharon Pope and this is the Loving Truth. We're gonna talk about desire today and what's suppressing your desire. You know, it's not uncommon for a client to talk to me about how they've sort of lost that love and feeling with their partner and they just don't desire sex as much as they used to.

It's just not as important as it used to be to them. But there's also a part of them that sort of, sometimes they mourn the loss of that, that part of themselves that gets to be expressed in that manner. And so I wanna talk about the biggest reason why desire gets suppressed in couples. Now you might think, well, it's because of my spouse,

because of what they're doing or not doing, right? If, if they would invite me to be sexual in a better way, I might be in the mood more frequently. Or if it wasn't always the same thing, like, first we do this, then we do that, then we do this other thing and then we're done, right? Like,

like if it's not, if it's the same book you've read a hundred times, of course you're gonna be bored. That can be part of it. That can certainly play a role, but it's not, that's not the primary one that depresses desire or suppresses desire. You might think, well, it's age right? That, you know, as we get older and our hormones change,

sex becomes not as easy and not as accessible as maybe it once was. And maybe that's why our desire gets suppressed. Certainly as your testosterone lowers, which it does for both men and women, then that's gonna play a role in your desire and how often you want sex and how important it is to you. So it plays a role, but it's still not the biggest reason.

You might think it's stress. And I'm gonna tell you, stress for sure plays a role and everyone has stress. Like if you are living on this planet today, you have stress to some degree. Now, it might be light stress, it might be heavy duty stress, but life can be pretty stressful. So that too plays a role, but it is not the biggest factor.

You wanna know what the biggest factor is? It's familiarity. Familiarity suppresses desire. Isn't that good to know? Like nothing has gone wrong in our relationships. It's a natural chemical response in the body that when something becomes all too familiar, it's suppresses our desire for it. And so when you've been married 20 years, 30 years, living in close proximity to one another,

literally sleeping for, call it eight hours a night, six inches away from someone watching each other pee for 30 years, you become pretty familiar with your partner. And familiarity suppresses desire, and it impacts almost every single couple out there. So let's talk about how to ignite that desire. And this is one of those things that when I get to the end of it,

you're gonna be like, how come no one told us that before we got married? Like that would've been really valuable information to know so that we could realize that nothing has gone wrong and we could pay more attention to this early on. That is true. I wish we knew before we got into marriage, but lo and behold, we didn't. So at least you know now.

So let's get started. What ignites desire? Think about it. Things that ignite desire are new experiences, new people. This is why affairs like someone who hasn't been interested in sex in years, we'll go out and have an affair and they're like, oh my gosh, I thought that that part of me was just dead now. And I realized it's not.

And we think it's that person when really it's that circumstance because that person is new and the circumstances are all new. And by the way, it's a little dangerous. It's a little risky, isn't it? Right? So the, the context in which affairs happens really matters as it relates to why you feel crazy, levels of desire as it relates to an affair,

but you don't feel that in your marriage. So new experiences, new people, anything new is going to dial up your internal barometer of desire. What else? Things that are adventurous, things that feel maybe even a little bit risky or a little dangerous. Inserting variety and surprise and spontaneity, right? We become so overscheduled and we are so stressed and we are so tired that that sometimes spontaneity in a marriage really falls by the wayside even after just five or 10 years.

But certainly after 20 or 30 years together, spontaneity, we've actually got a plan spontaneity inside of our marriages after that long, because it's not gonna just naturally happen. What's gonna naturally happen is we're gonna fall into our same old patterns, right? We're gonna come home from work, we're gonna have dinner, we're gonna clean up after dinner, he's gonna watch tv.

I'm gonna go upstairs and read a book, right? That's what we do every night. That's what it looks like. Well, imagine if just one night you were like, let's not do that. Let's, why don't you and I, why don't we pour a glass of wine and go sit out back and just talk, as opposed to watching TV or reading a book and putting our attention somewhere else and not even being in the same room together,

right? So anything that you want to insert where it's new and it's more variety, you're gonna have to think about it and you're gonna have to plan it. But it's not like it's that hard, right? You could have the same thing to eat for dinner. You could have a hamburger every single night of your life. You could, but you choose to change it up because you want that variety.

So this is the same thing. It's like you could choose one night to have a hamburger. You could choose to grill a steak another night, or cook lobster tail or make fresh pasta, right? Like you could choose any of those things. So those are the things that ignite desire, what suppresses it? Monotony, habitual behavior, routine, predictability,

and of course familiarity, right? So those are the things that we can very easily fall into after many years of marriage together. The other stuff we gotta think about, and we've gotta, I don't wanna say work at it because that sounds like just another thing we have to do, but we've gotta pay attention to it. So familiarity is going to be present no matter what we do.

When you're going to be married to someone for the rest of your life, familiarity is going to be there. So what do we do about it? I want you to look for opportunities to insert new experiences, just like I talked about. Instead of sitting on the couch watching TV or you going upstairs and reading a book and him going to his office and working like in whatever you're doing as a routine,

don't do it one night, one night a week, don't do it. And you might even surprise your partner, right? With whatever it is that you wanna do. That's different. Now, what could that be? That could be travel, right? That that can be something like just sitting out back sharing a cup of tea or having a glass of wine and talking to one another and connecting versus numbing out in front of the tv.

But it can also be something big like travel. Like let's go to a new country. Let's experience a new city that's all new. And that can be really exciting. That can insert something that's not so familiar into your coupled experience. Instead of having dinner at the kitchen table, go have a picnic, go to a park. I don't care. Put,

put a blanket out back in your backyard. Let the dog run around, or kids or grandkids or whatever, run around whatever. Like do something different. Maybe instead of watching tv, you go to the movies, right? You might take a class, you might take an art class together, or you might take a cooking class together. Anything new is going to help you amp up the desire in this regard.

You might wanna create these new points of connection where to make sure that we as a couple are connecting each night or each morning, like it doesn't have to be at night. Actually, I think night is actually the worst time because we're so tired and we're not all there. We're a little in a fog or just exhausted at the end of many days.

And so if we leave our marriage to be the last thing on our list, it's sort of like giving it scraps and expecting it to thrive and it hardly ever does. So any kind of new point of connection that can literally be, we're gonna turn off the TV 15 minutes before we wanna go to sleep so that we can just have a little pillow talk,

right? Or share something about our day. You might, there's plenty of those card games that you can get where you ask each other questions. You could do something like that where every night you just pull a card and you each answer a question that, so that you get to know your partner differently. Like you can do whatever you want, but just think about what that could be.

These are just thought starters to get you thinking about it. I want you to think about how you can add some surprise into your relationship. Now, this can be as simple as sending a text in the middle of the day to just say, I just wanted you to know I love you. I just wanted you to know I'm thinking about you. I hope you're having a great day today,

babe. Look forward to seeing you tonight. Like just something simple that would take like 20 seconds and it's free and we still don't do it. Or play with how you dress. Even like you could surprise your partner in dressing a little bit differently than you normally do. Or wearing a different cologne or something like that. You might surprise your partner with a gift I was at.

I had to go get some blood work done two days ago, and I was in a drug store and I had the thought, I'm gonna get my husband a card. I'm gonna get him a card. 'cause I used to give him cards and notes all the time, and I kind of got out of that habit of it. And he loves to get those cards.

And we, we literally, I keep every card he's ever given me and every card I've ever given him, we have 'em in these boxes. So they're special to us. And I just, I had the thought and I didn't overthink it. I didn't go, well, it's not our anniversary, it's not Valentine's Day. There's no reason to get him a card.

Like I didn't overthink it. I just was like, yeah, I should get him a card. And I found a cute card and I took it to the register and I wrote him a sweet note and I had it set out for him before he even got up that day. And so it was a nice surprise and a nice way to start his day.

It cost me $2 and 99 cents. Okay? Like not a big deal. So little gifts, little things that are thoughtful gestures. I also know that that's kind of my husband's love language. So that's why I just, when that thought comes to me, I just follow it. So you can also add more physical touch, specifically non-sexual physical touch. If you two are only touching when you're having sex,

then at some point you're gonna reach for your partner and they're gonna kind of recoil because they're not in the mood for sex for whatever reason. They might just be in the middle of making dinner and got grandkids running around or something like that. But make sure that there's opportunity for the two of you to touch, right? It can be like putting a hand on top of your partner's hand or on your partner's arm as they're driving,

or as you're sitting there sharing a glass of wine together or as you're talking, or over dinner or something like that. So insert more non-sexual physical touch. And then of course, the other ways that you can insert variety is the way in which you invite your partner to be intimate with you, the foreplay you use, the positions you use in bed.

Of course, the more that you can create some variety in the experience of sex with your partner, the more fulfilling it's gonna be for both of you. And that doesn't mean that every new thing you try is gonna feel good or is gonna work out well, but maybe those things you can even laugh about together. And then you can be proud of yourselves that you were trying something new and not just falling back on the same old,

same old and thinking that that's gonna sustain you. So if we don't actively insert variety into our marriage, then desire is going to get suppressed. And that my friends might cause us to question the marriage in its entirety. Now, sometimes marriages need to be questioned and a loss of desire and not wanting to have sex with your partner is a really good warning sign that,

yeah, the marriage is in trouble and there's something to pay attention to here. And sometimes it's just plain old familiarity that has suppressed our desire, and it doesn't mean that the marriage is broken. So I hope that that gives you something new to think about as it relates to your desire inside of your marriage. Until next time, please take good care.

If you're listening to this podcast because you're struggling to decide whether to stay or go in your marriage and you're serious about finding that answer, it's time to book a Truth and Clarity session with a member of my team. On the call, we'll discuss where you are in your marriage and explore if there's a fit for you and I to work together so you can make and execute the right decision for you and your marriage.

Go to clarity for my marriage.com to fill out an application now that's clarity for my marriage.com.

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