Libido Limbo - How Low Can You Go?

Hey, let’s do the limbo rock
Limbo lower now
Limbo lower now
How low can you go
Lyrics Limbo Rock

It is always nice to open a blog with the wisdom of the great philosopher, Chubby Checker. I have always loved to watch limbo dancers. It is fascinating to see the individual differences in abilities to wriggle the body under the suspended bar without knocking it over. One of my favorite limbo performers was able to slide under a flaming bar set atop two longneck beer bottles. It is a feat I could not even imagine myself doing. Following that limbo would be an exercise in frustration.

In addition to its irresistible alliterative value, the limbo provides a nice metaphor for libido. There are tremendous individual differences among individuals when it comes to limbo, some very high and some very low. Sexual desire can be described in a similar manner.

The importance of sex in a relationship varies from couple to couple. There can never be a standard formula for determining how much sexual activity a couple should engage in. In fact, the absolute amount of sexual activity is typically less important to a couple than is finding a mutually agreeable level. Some couples are content with little to no sexual activity. Others have very robust sex lives. Problems arise when partners differ significantly in their personal needs for sexual activity. It is the breadth of this divergence that becomes a factor worthy of reflection.

It is imperative that couples remember that sexual activity must never arise from coercion, even of a subtle nature. No matter how great the divergence in libidinal imperative, any sexual encounter must be predicated on a standard greater than mutual consent. Consent can arise from coercion. Sexual activity should never occur “because my partner has needs”, “it’s my duty”, or “he/she will leave me if we don’t have sex.” Sexual activity must always be the product of mutual assent. Assent arises from communication between partners.

As anyone who lives with PD can attest, libido can be something of a wild card at any given time. There will very likely be periods of libidinal mismatch for the partners. Still, the couple must talk frankly about the relationship and the bonds that keep it together. They must also discuss whether there is a mutually desirable level of sexual activity. Adhering as best they can to the standard of assent, each partner should talk openly about needs, about how these might be met and even whether they can be met.

Divergence of sexual needs is a common cause for stress in any relationship. These periods of divergence mark times when assent is most under assault, when a partner with low libido may feel compelled to engage in sexual activity for the sake of the relationship. This is subtle coercion.

Communication is the glue that binds relationships together during times when divergence is greatest. It may well be that the gulf between each partner’s sexual needs cannot be bridged. The relationship may need to change in fundamental ways or it may need to end altogether. However, if the communication remains in place, each partner retains personal dignity and autonomy. Most importantly, neither loses the power of assent.

Libido Limbo. How low can you go?

As low (or high) as you and your partner assent to.

Dr. Paul

NOTE: Dr. Paul Short is neither an agent nor employee of ADPA or any of its affiliate organizations. The views expressed in this blog are the opinions of Dr. Short and do not represent the opinions or endorsement of APDA. The information contained on this site is for your general information only and is not intended as, or a substitution for, medical advice. You should also be aware that the information on this site may not reflect the most current medical developments, nor is it provided in the course of a physician - patient relationship. You should always consult your physician or other qualified healthcare provider or expert with any questions or concerns you may have regarding a health or medical condition. You should never disregard professional medical advice, or delay in seeking it, because of something you have read on this site.


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