The LoveLife Blog: guidance on mindful, bodyful, soulful loving!

#176: Sex Therapy & Couples Retreats- What to do if You have a Reluctant Partner

Jacqueline Hellyer - Saturday, September 24, 2016


So often people contact me to say that they want to come in for therapy and coaching sessions, or that they want to attend one of my workshops….but their partner doesn’t.

“How can I persuade him/her to come along?” they plead.

It’s a tricky one. You love your partner and you want to improve your sexual connection and through that your life together. You are willing to open up to in private sessions, or expose yourself to some degree in a group situation (not literally, my workshops are decidedly clothes on!), yet your partner is reluctant.

There are a number of reasons why your partner might be reluctant:

-S/He thinks you’ve got the problem not them;
-S/He assumes anything to do with sex will be sordid and so doesn’t want to be involved;
-S/He doesn’t think sex is important so can’t see why you’d want to change or improve anything;
-S/He is unwilling to go to sex therapy because they are too embarrassed to talk about sex in front of another person, even a professional psychosexual therapist;
-S/He is unwilling to attend a workshop or retreat because they think it’ll be embarrassing.

Mostly I believe it comes down to fear, in which case gentle persuasion over time can be helpful. You can start therapy on your own, and once you start reporting back to your partner that it’s ok, that I’m easy to talk to and that the sessions are positive and uplifting, then your partner may agree to come along.

If it’s not fear, it can be that they are simply not into you. They may mask that by saying that sex isn’t important or that you’ve got the problem not them, but essentially they are saying they don’t think your relationship is important enough to prioritise and work on. So you can put up with that and do nothing, go along as you have been with nothing changing (or at least, nothing improving - it can always get worse), or you can make a stand and insist that it is important. If he or she still won’t be involved, well, what can I say, it’s up to you to decide whether their level of commitment to the relationship is enough for you.

Whew, that was a bit heavy! It’s a shame, because the retreats are beautiful and uplifting, and the private sessions are engaging and growth-enhancing. Of course, my particular style of psychosexual therapy or my workshops may not be for everyone, but once you’ve found someone good to work with, well, the sky’s the limit. Improving your sexual relating improves your relationship, which improves your life. Sex and intimacy is so fundamental to it all.

So if your partner is reluctant, come along on your own. The change in you may well inspire them to join in. And if it doesn’t, well, at least you will have grown to the point of being able to make a decision about what is right for you.


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