i'm going to speak to you about a complaint which i hearregularly in my practice, and which is said equallyby men and by women, and can be summed up with: "i love my partner. i love my partner.
in principle i like to make love, but i don't have anysexual desire anymore". generally, the person asks meto help them to find their sexual desire again, of course.
so it's a siutation that perhapssome of you recognise, where one personis the problem, is at fault. moreover, that person receivescriticism from the other, so they feel guilty. guilty of malfunction. guilty of not succeedingin finding their desire again. and guilty of makingthe one they love suffer. and guilty of puttingtheir relationship in danger. and for the other,it's also very difficult,
because firstly they feelsexually frustrated, and they also feel rejected. because even if one makes a distinction between being rejectedand being refused, it doesn't prevent the factthat in reality, the person feelsgenerally rejected and unloved. and then through being refused,they don't know how to approach the other person anymore. they begin to doubt,
to doubt their ability to seduce, to doubt themselves, and even to doubt the legitimacyof their own desire. and for certain women, this low level of need can be experienced as something extremely humiliating. so it's a very difficult situation that obviously each person thenputs avoidance tactics in place. such as not going to bedat the same time,
having a lot of super important thingsto do on the computer until 1 o'clock in the morning. going to sleep suddenly at a quarter past nine. having back pain, a headache,all kinds of things that will allow them to avoidthese moments of intimacy where the question will be asked: "are we going to make love, or not?" "will the desire be there, or not?" "and if it is there, will it stay?will it last until the end?"
additionally, sometimes, it's as though the desire should be a kind of guarantee which should bring the proof that you're a real woman, or a real man, that there really is love there, that you are a real couple, completely forgettingthat you can have a desire for someone that you don't love
and with whom you haveno intention of being in a realtionship! anyway... desire is nevertheless seenas the cause of a bunch of issues which cause the personwaiting for it to arrive to experience anxiety, or apprehension, which generally turns into arguments, which in the end causes a lackof sexuality in the couple. this is usually felt as a failure, and a failure all the more cruel
because society, the media,the age all tell us that if you want to succeed in life,you have to have a great sex life. so when i see a couple arrive,stuck in this vicious circle, and that could be a homosexualor a heterosexual couple, it's the same, i first explain to them that this quest, the tracking of desire,prevents the occurence of any desire. it's just not possible. there is no need to havea particular pathology. any stable personwho is put in the situation
of having to have sexual desire, following the couple's ideal,once/twice/three times/four times a week, regularly, spontaneously, definitively, if not, their sex life is a failure, they're no longer a manor no longer a woman, and in addition they are puttingtheir relationship in danger, cannot have sexual desire. the more you try to makethis desire return, the more it will disappear.
so we need to look atthe problem in another way. we need to stop expecting this desire. we even need to acceptdoing without it, and for that, well, you have to decide to make love. when i say "make love", that means having sexual intercourse together, having sexual pleasure together. and so you will decide especiallywhen you will make love.
and as you will have decidedthis together, you will have committed to it,one person to the other, it will be necessary,with or without desire, that you make love. then, generally,the first reaction i get is: "no no no, that's not at all possible!" "it's not possible.i don't want it to be compulsory!" "what i want isfor the other person to desire me, that the other person want me,that's what i want.
i don't want it to be compulsory!" it's very hard to let go of that. however, if you wantto get out of that vicious circle, you'll have to let go of that position. because that position of"i want.... that you want it" well, it seals the vicious circle. and if you want to find pleasuretogether, in sexuality, then you will haveto give up this position. and then the second reactionthat i often get, is:
"no no no, that's not possible either, because you can't schedule those things, it's not possible, that'll be artificial, it has to be natural and spontaneous,i don't want to schedule that." well that is a belief... which is false, and which does a lot of damage. when you have a rendez-vouswith your mistress or your lover, on wednesday from 2 - 6pm,it's scheduled! (laughter)
you know that you're going to make love, and usually, that doesn't pose a problem. when your boyfriend,who lives in marseilles, comes for a weekend in paris, you know that you'll make love the first night,and probably the next day, too. the fact that it's anticipatedisn't a handicap. it can even be a good thing. if i know that in two weeksi'm going skiing for two weeks, i'll dream about it, i'll think about it,
and i'll even try onmy ski shoes in my kitchen. and in two weeks,i'll have fun on the slopes, which is not the same thing. in fact, what it's really about...is regaining the right to think about your sexuality, instead of delegating it to desire alone, and to think about your sexuality,not as a problem to fix, but as a plan that you construct together. we make loads of plans as a couple.
we plan to go to the theatre,to go to a ted talk, to go to a restaurant,to go on holidays, and we don't expectthat it will be hunger or fatigue that makes us take action. we talk about it, we discuss, we decide, we make bookings, and then off we go. and so we're doing the same thing here. and if, for example,you decide to make love, not on thursday evening,because there's a ted talk,
(laughter)but tuesday... well, firstly there will beplenty of advantages to this. it means that on monday evening,you're not going to make love. so on monday evening,you can be close to each other, you can go to bed at the same time, and you'll be able to have a cuddlewithout being worried that it will cause an erection that you won't know what to do with, or without the fear of having an erection
that you're not surewill last until the end, without telling yourself,"i absolutely must have an erection". you'll be able to be calm,you'll be able to be together, because our romantic rendez-vouswith our partner is on tuesday. and then on tuesday morning,maybe you won't be able to pick the first underwearthat comes to hand, perhaps you'll put a bit of thoughtinto choosing a bra... and for the men, perhapsthey'll shave a bit closer, put on some cologne which smells nice,because that evening,
there's a romantic rendez-vouswith his partner. and, it's a sure thing,it's without the risk of rejection, because you agreed together and you decided togetherthat on tuesday night you would have sexual pleasure together. so, if the man doesn't have any desire,well it doesn't matter. it doesn't matter if he doesn't have an erection. it doesn't matter. there are other ways to givepleasure to his partner.
and the woman,if she doesn't have the desire, if she doesn't get moist quick enough,it doesn't matter. there are loads of great creams, very enjoyable to apply,that smell good... the aim is to have pleasure together, and then once it's finished, they'll discuss, they'll decidewhen they feel like doing it again. so the construction togetherof this plan will lead to loads of interesting conversationsfor the couple,
because they will have to agree, so they'll have to listen to each other, they'll have to understand the other, they'll have to say things, so if there is one who says, "i want to do it again tomorrow," and the other says, "for me, next week is enough," well, they'll have to agree together,
to put some rules,some conditions in place. for example, "what do we do if we have a fight 2 hours before?" "can we have a wild card?" "how long does that give? 24/48 hours?" all kinds of things will be thought aboutand talked about by the couple. i wanted to talk to youabout my method for approaching this subject,because i think that, as soon as you live as a couple,
after more than three or six months, you're at risk of possibly fallinginto this vicious circle, because, since you can make love any time, you don't know when is the right moment. it's as though our braindidn't have the time to prepare for it. and for that matter, as we'rein a society, in a world that makes us believe thatit's desire that should be master, the driving force behind everything, we forget that we're allowed to think,
allowed to think about our sexuality, and above all, to think about it together, and to choose the rhythm that suits us,the moment that suits us, the way of doing it which suits us. before i conclude,i need to let you know of a risk, which is that, obviously,as a result of having pleasure, the risk is that the desire comes back, and then if the desire returns,it's really important to maintain that permission
lack of sexuality,
to talk and to thinkabout your sexuality together, even if the desire is there. thank you. (applause)