Wednesday, January 13, 2010



Gay Relationships: Desire Discrepancy

Posted: 12 Jan 2010 11:11 PM PST

In the mythical land of perfect love, two partners are supposed to be hot for one another almost all the time – or at least sexually available to each other. Some guy you just met at a bar might turn you down, but not your lover, right?

For couples nowadays, there can be a lot of pressure to have not just a good sex life, but a great sex life. Books abound with titles like “The Art of Sexual Ecstasy,” “Total Sex” and “Hot Monogamy.” (And those are just some of the books on my bookshelf!) If we’re not engaged in wildly passionate lovemaking, we suspect there is something wrong with us, or wrong with our partner. Or maybe we’re just not right for one another, we think.

The truth is that two lovers having the same level of sex drive is almost as unlikely as winning the lottery. In most couples one partner’s drive is higher than the other’s. Sometimes that difference is significant. When that happens, sexologists and relationship therapists describe the situation as one of desire discrepancy – a difference in how much the two people want sex.

Desire discrepancy isn’t unusual, but it sure can be uncomfortable for the two parties involved. The person with more drive may feel rejected when the lower-drive partner isn’t interested in sex. He’s not interested in me, he thinks. He doesn’t think I’m hot. Maybe he’s having an affair. .

Things aren’t better for the lower-drive guy. He may feel inadequate as a lover or may question his masculinity. What’s wrong with me, he thinks. Or he gets angry at his lover and blames him. All he wants is sex. Why does he have to be such a pain in the ass?

Because fears about our own inadequacies can really push our buttons, the couple with a significant desire discrepancy can get into some pretty bruising arguments – especially if the guys involved are feeling so defensive that they can’t really hear their partner’s point of view.

Desire is controlled by several factors. One is testosterone level, which is present in both men and women. The higher the level of testosterone, the higher the level of sex drive. There is a considerable variation in testosterone level from person to person. Levels often decline with age. Replacement therapy sometimes helps, but it’s controversial and may have other health effects. Talk with your doctor about the benefits and risks before considering the new hormone therapies available.

For most guys, the problem is not so much hormone levels as stress levels. Worry about work, bills or the relationship itself can really take the zing out of sexuality. Too little restful sleep also causes interest in sex to drop.

If there is a difference in sex drive within your relationship, there are several things you can do to help. Find a way to talk about the issue without accusing one another or becoming defensive. Speak up for yourself without pressuring your partner. Don’t accuse him of anything. Be supportive and gentle, and affirm your love for one another and your commitment to the relationship. Talk with one another about what you really want – and make sure that you are able to hear your partner’s point of view. Get professional help if you need it.

Sexual intimacy is a place where we can feel uncomfortably vulnerable at times. Negotiating through difficult spots brings a couple closer together and make sex more fun and more meaningful.

John R. Ballew, M.S. an author and contributor to GAYTWOGETHER, is a licensed professional counselor in private practice in Atlanta. He specializes in issues related to coming out, sexuality, relationships and spirituality. If you have any questions or comments you can submit them directly to GAYTWOGETHER or John R. Ballew, M.S. -

~~ Borrowed, again with gratitude, from Michael GAYTWOGETHER.COM


Gary Kelly said...

I can't even begin to tell you how relieved I am not to have those kind of problems on my agenda.

It's true what they say about banging your head against a brick wall ya know.

J said...

Sounds like it's time to get my injection.

Anonymous said...

Yah, Justin, I am here and do read your posts daily.....but no comments/reactions from me for a while cos what you are posting are reasonable points of view and some fact.
But to me there is nothing radically profound or on the other hand, controversial.
I don't agree 100% with all of it, but what I don't agree with is minor and also is just a matter of my opinion and nothing worth getting all finger-crossed trying to rap out a heated negative or a supportive reply on the keyboard.

Some of it is mildly thought provoking but mostly it is all obvious or common sense stuff really, at least it is to me.

Now, my comments are not to be taken as a criticism of your material or you for that matter, oooo-nooo!
It's just an encouragement to keep doing what you do and don't take (my) silence as disinterest. I'm listening.

Have a great day mate.
Greg in Adelaide

JustinO'Shea said...

Thank you for your constructive comments. And, J. please hold off on the injection. ;-)

I can see Greg's comments. It seems you are saying that older guys who've been "out and around" for a good while and know the ropes and got themselves settled all of this doesn't have much or anything to say.

I'm glad to hear your perspective.
I wonder what guy my age might have to say. [I already heard something from someone a bit younger than I who seemed 'bored'...LOL ]

Kinda hard to call, right? So. . pleaseive me some ideas you'd like to hear/read about.

Thanks, guys.

Stew said...

This has been an issue in my relationship since it's conception 11 years ago. I've grown to accept it somewhat.
I've decided recently to let the law of attraction do it's thing. Instead of me worring that he doesn't want me, I'm just going to put it out there that I want him and see where it goes.
Anyone familar with the secret, or Deepak Chopra or Wayne Dyer will know what I am talking about.
It can be difficult sometimes. But, do we really fall in love because the sex is good or plentiful? Not this bloke.

J said...

Hey, Justin--If it worked for Mark McGuire...

JustinO'Shea said...

OH. . . .OK, J, now I get it. . hahahaa. . . cool, go for it, man,but as with the Viagra adv, check with your MD first. . . . .hahahahahaaa. . . J/K. . honestly.

Sometimes I think society has made loving sexual/conjugal love so complicated. . . when it is the most natural thing in the world. . .

Remember in your anthopology classes when they talk about the two strongest and mist basic human drives. . .self-preservation and self-reproduction. . .the continuation of the species. AND both are interdependent. "Love and marriage. . .go together like a horse and carriage. . ya cant have one - ya cant have none - without the other. . "

Student theatre did that old Broadway Show called. . . . .. .
like...called. . . . .whatever the title. . . we had some interesting parodies of that song over beer one night. . . .tsk. . .tsk. . .such blatant creativity. . .LOL

just in

J said...

Was that "hearse and carriage", or did I misread your copy?

Anonymous said...

J said:
"hearse and carriage" it!!!

Jus said:
"I can see Greg's comments. It seems you are saying that older guys who've been "out and around" for a good while and know the ropes and got themselves settled all of this doesn't have much or anything to say."

Well,perhaps, I can't speak for others but I guess that I am saying it applies to me, well read Juatin.

But as I said, I still find it interesting, so don't stop, who knows who else out there it can perhaps be a revelation for, but are not saying anything.

As for future content, I'm not sure I can give you any pointers as to what you can write/post that is valuable for me in particular, I think I said just keep doing what you are doing....after all, it has to work for you too...and would be surprised if it is not working for others.

I look to your posts with anticipation and interest....some have made me feel VERY happy and alive, so just because I said I didn't feel compelled or motivated to reply to those last few posts it that does not mean they are worthless...oooo noooo!

Keep it up mate.

Greg in Adelaide

JustinO'Shea said...

Halloo all y'all:

Greg. . .looking for a job as a Motivational Counselor? Huh? Huh? Huh?
You'd be very good!

In fact, as i think about it, you're already doing that. In your profession you deal in this area of compassion and motivational assists, given the grief and wide range of concomitant emotions you meet.

Thanks you for taking/making the time. Mucho appreciated !


Gary Kelly said...

It's not easy to make a comment about relationships and sex and marriage, etc, but here goes.

When you leave a busy city sidewalk to step aside into a coffee shop and sit by the window with your cappuccino and watch the passing parade, you get a totally different perspective. Everyone else is scurrying backwards and forwards, worried about missing an appointment or catching a bus or whatever, and you're just sitting there, totally relaxed - only a few feet away from the mayhem - using your spoon to play with the cappuccino froth and wondering what all the fuss is about. :)

Coop said...

Justin sez: "I'm glad to hear your perspective.
I wonder what guy my age might have to say. [I already heard something from someone a bit younger than I who seemed 'bored'...LOL ]"

Y' mean me?? Some buffoon filled out the papers on the date of my birth and wasn't paying attention. So, on paper, I'm closer to 30 than Jus tin. LOL! Greg is right. These articles share some common sense stuff. I may have learned something new from "Desire Discrepancy" but dot dot dot

The only sex drive I have to worry about right now is Coop's, so there's that to consider.
And what a chore he is...

Stew is right. We don't fall in Love because the sex is good or plentiful.

JustinO'Shea said...

THANKS, Coop, for your 16 cents! yeehaaaww,, ,MIBAD? yep

Besides you, me, ShazBoh, and Pilgrim, I wonder if there any guys our age who read this blog. Hard to tell.

Learning is a process. I think those who have passed beyond 'the curve'forget that.
Some of us just ain't there yet. . . and others don't care. . .and say so. LOL


Gary Kelly said...

"Beyond the curve" is a good way of putting it, Justino. You find curves on most roads, and those good people at the roads and traffic authority place signs ahead of the curves to warn approaching motorists of the danger.

That's kinda like what I do. :)

Anonymous said...

Yep, "beyond the curve" is good, and funny....and to some extent accurate.

I don't see or think of myself as beyond the curve, but when I do get a reality jolt, I realise that I aint marketable any least to those guys that I'm attracted to. Ah well, it comes to all of us I guess.

I suppose it is the 'next big thing'...working out how to handle the fact that you aren't attractive to, or in the same market as, those that you love mixing with socially as friends I guess.

I am very lucky, I have a heap of younger friends, good friends and my life is happy. Many of them 'know' I'm gay, others guess. It makes no difference that I can see, married, straight and whoknows, they are all great friends. They know I love them, some of them I can actually say it to. Straight people are okay too, as you know.

I've said enough for now.
Greg in Adelaide