Two fears bring this about:
1. Fear of losing your partner's acceptance. No one wants to be rejected by a valued and needed partner. When your partner's acceptance means more to you than your own integrity, you only reveal your eroticism in ways that will receive acceptance. Your spouse becomes "too important" for sexual experimentation. You cannot create sexual novelty or expand your repertoire for fear of disapproval. The resulting boredom contributes to low desire.
It is a lot easier to introduce sexual novelty and undisclosed aspect of your eroticism in a one night stand or an affair than in your marriage. It is a greater challenge to your sense of self when you are with your spouse. That is why sexual boredom (and affairs) are so prevalent.
We demand stability in marriage---and when we get it, we complain that things are always the same. This is not quite the benefit we anticipate when we yearn for being important to each other.
2. Fear of losing your partner altogether. The longer and better your relationship with your partner, the more you stand to lose if you want something important your partner doesn't want ---or if he or she dies. When your partner's importance exceeds your differentiation (your ability to self sooth), your partner becomes too important to want.
The end result in not wanting to want. It is a matter of time and personal development. Poorly differentiated people cannot tolerate nor maintain true interdependence. The realistic dependencies, contingencies, and vulnerabilities of long term emotionally committed relationships frighten many people.
Are you among those who might dare want your partner?
If you want to keep desire and intimacy alive in your marriage, your continued differentiation must keep pace with your partner's increasing importance. When your partner become more important to you than your relationship with yourself, you have four choices:
- Withdraw emotionally.
- Engulf your partner.
- Allow your partner to engulf you.
- Raise your level of differentiation.
Resolving sexual boredom depends on your willingness to tolerate pain for growth, a fact of differentiation.
Low sexual desire cannot be cured with provocative lingerie or sex toys (if such items increase your interest, that is fine). Low sexual desire is no fun, but it does have a purpose. It is part of marriage's intricate people growing machine. It invites you to stretch yourself and your relationship. Whether you accept the invitation to change from within---or just "dress-up" is your choice.
Passionate Marriage - David Schnarch, Ph.D.