Not feeling it, here's what to do for a low libido. Picture: Flickr

Not feeling it? I feel for you. 

There’s a tremendous burden that goes along with feeling as if you’re always disappointing your partner and a different, but just as awful, kind of burden that comes with agreeing to do something more often than you want to. 

Both dynamics negatively impact your relationship, and they also deplete your happiness and sense of self-worth. The first step in making change in our lives is acknowledging that a change needs to be made. 

Talk to your partner, not about what you wish were true (that your libidos matched), but what is true: They don’t, and likely never will.

There are others who struggle to feel desire — and who feel pressured by their partners, and themselves. 

It’s important to acknowledge the many reasons, both psychic and physical, that people don’t feel desire. 

You’re under no obligation to become more erotically enthusiastic for your partner. Your only obligation is to be honest with him, and to live with the consequences of that honesty. 

Your partner may not want to be romantically involved with someone who only rarely feels a genuine desire for sex, who has to feign interest the rest of the time, and resents doing so. To put that more affirmatively: You may want to find a partner whose desires are more predicated on nonsexual forms of intimacy.

There are essentially four choices couples may face with this conundrum. They are:

Compromise by agreeing to do what they might not otherwise do except to please a partner (i.e. having sex more or less often than they’d prefer). This works best when the compromise feels more like a collaboration than a demand.

Change the rules of the relationship. A couple might choose to open a monogamous relationship, for example, so the partner with the higher libido can have his or her sexual needs met from others while maintaining a loving partnership with his or her primary, but less sexually active, partner.

End the relationship — or at least the romantic/sexual aspect of it — because No. 1 and No. 2 above are unappealing.

Do nothing and feel miserable and resentful about it.

I realise this may sound bleak. That’s not the intention. 

Being pressured to feel more sexual desire doesn’t just come from a partner. It comes from the culture at large, which uses a hyped and fraudulent version of sexuality to peddle all manner of products. If you don’t want to “just do it” when it comes to sex, then don’t. 

But if you also love your partner and want to build a stronger relationship with him or her, you’re going to have to confront the incompatibility of your desires.

The best way to do this is to start from a place of acceptance, then to figure out whether there are ways to compromise, to express your feelings and to meet each other’s needs without judgment or shame. That’s what true intimacy, of whatever form, is about.

The New York Times