Home > abandonment, Outer Child > I Love You, but You Don’t Turn Me On

I Love You, but You Don’t Turn Me On

Someone wrote to my Forum at http://www.abandonment.net about his partner of 20 years never being turned on by him. He claimed that she had been hot with other lovers outside of the marriage, but with him there was “No Lubrication” (title of his post).” They are in therapy and he asked if there is hope.

I told him, yes there is hope.

My biggest concern would be the couple and therapist failing to identify the real cause.

One possibility: Many people have trouble feeling sexual passion toward a “secure attachment.” They only get turned on when their lover is one of three things: 1) New, 2) Forbidden, or 3) Hard-to-get.

If your relationship has been calm, stable, and caring for a long time, this can be the problem! The sexual dynamic can peter out (if you know what I mean).

The antidote involves a whole new growth process, beginning with recognizing the real cause.

This paradox (the more secure the relationship, the lower the sexual passion) is extremely common. One partner or the other, after being able to take the other for granted, becomes sexually indifferent. So many husbands feel passionless toward their wives because they are “sure” of them. They benefit in all sorts of ways from the safety and longevity of the relationship – and have all sorts of positive feelings toward their wives, but the even-keel of the relationship reduces the sexual heat.

Likewise, so many wives lose sexual interest toward their husbands once they become “comfortable shoes.” This is why so many people in long term relationships have attractions to people outside the marriage – or why they “get headaches” at bedtime – or why the divorce rate is so high.

Partners can easily take each other for granted. The security and safety they give each other becomes like the air they breathe but can’t see. Recognizing this as the problem sets a whole new process within the relationship in motion – if the couple is motivated.

Usually it is only one side of the couple that begins to feel turned off. The other side usually craves more sexual attention – precisely because the rejection served as an aphrodisiac – intensifying the sexual desires for the “unavailable” spouse.

So what is the antidote? The couple must work together, all pressure must be removed, but a great deal of the onus is on the partner who has lost sexual interest. He or she must set about to integrate her sexuality with her attachment feelings. In other words, s/he must learn to experience sex not as a hot conquest of a hard-to-get lover, but as a more sober expression of deeper feelings like caring, trust, and respect.

As obvious as this sounds, this is not an easy accomplishment for a lot of people whose sexuality has become linked with “pursuit.” Without the 1) Newness, 2) Forbidden-ness, or 3) Hard-to-get-ness, there is no aphrodisiac, their libido remains low.

It is nearly universal for insecurity to act as an aphrodisiac. When you sense your lover pulling away, your sexual energy toward him intensifies, motivating you to seduce him back into your bed. The key is to retrain your sexuality to respond even when this emotional tension is not present.

It involves a kind of Tantric approach to sexuality. You are no longer waiting for your passions to be spontaneously aroused by a hard-to-get lover. Since your partner is not hard-to-get, you must tap into your own creative energy. It takes time and patience – and a new way of looking at a new level of sex – a type of sexual caring, sharing bond that can grow and develop between two people

  1. David Harrison
    May 2, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    Dear Susan,
    Thank you for these insightful resources.
    You articulate the elements to overcome self-sabotage and underlying abandonment wounds in a manner that we need to hear.
    David Harrison
    PhD researcher

  1. April 27, 2011 at 1:55 pm

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