Low desire means there is something wrong with you

Myth-busting Monday:  Low (sexual) desire means there is something wrong with you.


No, absolutely not.


There is not such thing as a normal level of desire, unless it is causing concern or distress for you.  There’s a joke in the sexuality field – that a normal amount of sex is how much your therapist is having.  It all depends on the person who is asking what is normal (and chances are, you are).


In the past, the focus and labeling would be on the person with the “low desire”.  Now, the preferred term is ‘desire discrepancy’.  That is, there is a discrepancy between partner/s and their level of desire.  This change in terminology shifts the focus, and the associated blame and shame, from the person without desire to the discrepancy itself.


There are many reasons why a desire discrepancy can exist, and my intent here is not to go over all of them.  Instead, my suggestion would be to seek the counsel of a trusted provider, such as a sexuality counselor (ahem, **I’m one**) to help address specific, individualized needs.


I do, however, wish to address another perspective shift associated with desire discrepancy – perhaps it isn’t that the lower desiring partner is disinterested in sex, perhaps it is the sex they’ve been having isn’t worth desiring……Let that sink in, because for many, this consideration is so foundational and true it is disorienting.


Maybe the low desire person has been settling for mediocre sex, maybe they don’t know what they want, maybe their wants have been secondary to their partner/s’ and the centering of the other has festered resentment (and maybe this centering relates to privilege, entitlement, even coercion by a partner), maybe they feel like their wants are too unusual/different/kinky that they don’t feel valid or legitimate and it is easier to just fake it until you make it…but they never make it, maybe they feel shamed by their desires and instead stuff them down and tolerate the less than desirous version of sex, maybe they feel selfish asking or receiving what it is they want, maybe the focus is on performance and not the embodiment of the encounter so the people experiencing are not in touch with wants and instead are focused on shoulds and supposed-tos, maybe they are working from their willing-to list instead of their wanting-to list…….


And there are plenty of other maybes…….the point is that maybe the problem is not the person with the lower desire (as indicated with the language change), but instead, there is something in the dynamic and the encounter itself that is at issue.  And that issue may well be foundational: “bad”, mediocre sex isn’t worth desiring and the erotic charge is lost.



What constitutes “bad”  or mediocre sex depends on the person who is doing to the defining – we are all different in our tastes.  Importantly though, it is possible to have pleasure (even the big O) while engaging in activities from a willing-to list, without touching the wanting-to activites.  That is less than desirable sex can be pleasurable or even orgasmic (orgasm is a reflex and doesn’t necessarily equate to pleasure).  Someone that is consistently disregarding their wants for that of their partner/s, but still perhaps experiencing orgasm, may identify the sex they are having as bad, boring, mediocre…., which, as mentioned diffuses the erotic charge and can lead to resentment.  Let that one sink in too.


Big take homes from a short blog:  we need to take responsibility for our desires and to do that, we need to know what we want and be able to communicate those wants, trusting that those wants will be heard.  There’s a lot in there – assumptions about creativity and possibility, assumptions about openness of partners for considering each other’s desires, assumptions that communication can occur and is valued, assumptions that partner/s are interested in pursuing activities from each other’s want-to list.  These assumptions are often challenging and not always met in partnerships.


Where to start: we need to get to know ourselves and allow time and creativity if current practices aren’t working.  Pulling a professional in to assist is another helpful avenue, such as a sexuality counselor or therapist. You can also read more about other contributors to mediocre sex here: http://ignitewell-being.com/piv-sx-is-normal-sx/    And watch for additional offerings and workshops from me in 2022 to further facilitate your self-discovery journey.




The above content is written by Dr. Allison Mitch, PT (DPT), RYT500, sexuality counselor and educator (she/her/they); copyright protected, please cite accordingly.  The picture is from Pexels.


For more offerings that support sexual well-being, please see: http://ignitewell-being.com/events-and-services-summary/   For more information on my offerings or to work with me directly, please email ignitewellbeing.naperville@gmail.com


Please consider supporting me and my work via Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/ignitewellbeing


*Please note that none of the above information is specific medical advice, but is meant as educational information only.  If you have concerns about your health, please contact a trusted healthcare professional*