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256: Desire versus Willingness

Foreplay Radio -- Couples and Sex Therapy

Sports & Recreation

Can willingness replace desire? Are you wanting or just willing to have sex? Sometimes willingness can mean being vulnerable and communicating with your partner about your needs, anxieties, desires, and what you are comfortable with. Simply opening a safe space for conversation can make a world of difference. Both partners want to be heard and responded to simultaneously and that's hard to do when emotions are so prominent. Who is initiating vulnerability and bringing it up? If a withdrawer takes the risk to initiate a conversation or explain their anxieties, the pursuer needs to keep focus on the withdrawer. The way that the pursuer chooses to responds makes a big difference in the outcome. It's not a time to compare your pain, or feelings of rejection, because that will only increase the pressure and their sense of failure. Instead, listen to them, address their hesitations, and make them feel safe. For pursuers, it can be so frustrating when the withdrawer doesn't want to talk, so it's important to voice your appreciation for their vulnerability. Withdrawers, be open to taking a leap! Never force yourself to do something your body doesn't want to- but maybe use willingness as starting point, not desire. Be willing to make love in hopes that your body starts to respond. Take time for pleasure, the goal is to connect and be present with the person you love. Pursuers, this requires patience. Start with the understanding that it may not lead to sex or orgasm and be open to connecting in other ways. This takes off so much pressure for the withdrawer! A strong relationship needs both partners to be willing to be vulnerable emotionally, physically, and sexually. The goal is good enough or resilient sex. This requires lots of flexibility and adaptability!


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