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Relationship

I see lockdown as a chance for more BDSM – but my girlfriend doesn't


My girlfriend and I have great sex. From day one of our relationship she has embraced my desire for BDSM. She lets me tie her up – to chairs, the bed, the sofa. However, in recent months, I feel her desire has dwindled. I’m a very sexual person; I fantasise about her on a regular basis and want to try new things. My worry is that she doesn’t feel as sexually driven as me. We’re working from home due to coronavirus, and for me that’s great; in my head, we have all the time in the world to have sex. But she seems uninterested. We do still have sex every now and then, but I worry that we’re worlds apart when it comes to desire.

Don’t judge your sex life according to how you are experiencing it during this difficult time. Many of the current realities are causing temporary sexual changes in people, such as lowered desire or even a total absence of it. The fear and the many losses everyone is dealing with – such as loss of freedom, loss of social life, loss of safety, loss of privacy, loss of jobs and even loss of loved ones – contribute to anxiety, depression and other psychological issues that in turn negatively affect your sexual response cycle. In addition, working at home has affected you and your girlfriend in different ways; while you see it as offering sexual opportunities, she sees it as an unwelcome distraction from completing her work. Don’t take it personally, and don’t catastrophise. Simply recognise that this is a time to listen more acutely to each other’s evolving needs, to be patient and understanding and work as partners to adapt to the new lifestyle. This may mean talking gently with her to establish a comfortable time for sex when she is not stressed by the challenge of working at home.

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Pamela Stephenson Connolly is a US-based psychotherapist who specialises in treating sexual disorders.

If you would like advice from Pamela on sexual matters, send us a brief description of your concerns to private.lives@theguardian.com (please don’t send attachments). Submissions are subject to our terms and conditions: see gu.com/letters-terms.

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