MSP Sex Question & Answer: Alcohol and Sexual Interest

Question:
How can I tell if my drinking results from her lack of interest in me; or her lack of interest in me results from my drinking?

Answer:
I wouldn’t recommend the Magic 8 Ball for this type of question. Instead, I would recommend some combination of quiet thinking alone, open and gentle communication with your partner and/or couples counseling (www.aamft.org to find a family/couples/marital counselor; www.aasect.org to find a sex therapist or counselor).

Regardless of the precipitating factor – which came first – it seems like you have identified two issues that you would like to explore in more depth: your drinking and your partner’s lack of interest in you. Does it matter which came first if both feel problematic to you now?

Sometimes people find that when they drink quite a bit, it gets them out of any real intimacy or communication with other people. True, you  may feel more uninhibited and say things that you perhaps wouldn’t otherwise say, but that – at least to me – is not the kind of intimacy I am talking about. Intimacy and open communication involve both talking and listening, and being able to understand (and yes, remember the next day) what you and your partner are discussing.

A note on communication: If you approach your partner to discuss your relationship, her interest in you, and your sex life, I would suggest being sober, gentle, honest (while still being kind), and communicating with conscious intention – in other words, being aware of what you want when you speak. Sometimes, when we pay attention to how we speak to another person, we might find that our intention is really to hurt that person, to make them feel insecure, to make them laugh, to make them happy, to cause them feel unloved, to  make them feel jealous or to make them feel accepted. If you can learn to be aware of your intentions, you may find that it helps to direct your communication, to apologize for words that don’t come out right the first time, and to start the conversation again with intentions to work through problems or hurt feelings.

About Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick is a sex researcher at Indiana University, sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, columnist, and author of five books about sex and love. Learn more about her work at www.sexualhealth.indiana.edu.