Sex drive and LDR during a pandemic

MyFickleHeart

New member
Hey all! So I have some sex questions. I’m a 36 year old woman in 2 relationships. I’ve been with my nesting partner (we’ll call him Mick) for 7 years (open for 6, poly for 3) and my other partner Aus for 2.5 (LDR - separated by the pandemic). Aus and I have a music project and have always had a very passionate relationship. We had been touring and seeing each other about every 3 months pre-pandemic. Just over a year ago Aus and his nesting partner broke up (rough) and so until recently he’s only been having casual encounters and relationships and has had a very high sex drive towards me.

Mick and I had a pretty luke-warm sex life pre-covid and once the pandemic hit our sex life really plummeted. [Side note: I have found that my sex drive often really decreases after 3-5 years with someone. I’m not sure how best to work on it.] I feel guilty because I do feel it’s more me who’s feeling less sexual towards Mick but I love him and I love our home and life. I would add that Mick seems happy and doesn’t seem upset to be having very little sex with me. I’m sure he’d be interested in having more sex but he also doesn’t really make sensual moves on me often. We still cuddle and enjoy a lot of non-sexual intimacy daily. On the flip side, Aus and I still have maintained a very hot sex life - even long distance! He really knows how to turn me on.

About 2 months ago Aus started dating a new girl and their sex life is clearly off the hook. This is becoming a more serious relationship and they spend almost every night together. He’s in NRE and his desire/need towards me has plummeted. I have mentioned it and he said he’s still super attracted to me and into sexy times with me but we’ve gone from regular sexy messages and weekly video chats (mostly initiated by him) to him barely acknowledging when I send him a sexy nude pic! When I try to guide things in the sexy direction he rarely seems to engage.

Obviously I’m hurt and feel rejected... I also know this is a common phase of poly. I really love both these guys but I’m currently getting almost no sex even though I’m dating two people! I know I’m an attractive woman but I have been feeling really insecure.

I do feel like I’m getting some karma here... I let things slip with Mick and I made efforts but my desire still waned. So my question is two fold: how do I rekindle things with Mick (it’s like we’ve fallen out of the habit!) and how do I make sure this doesn’t happen with Aus without being a needy mess!? I feel like this is a slightly tragic situation.
 

SEASONEDpolyAgain

Active member
You sound like someone who used to be on this site. She also used to find these midterm cycles with partners. Turned out she was probably just monogamous. The bad part was that during this time of figuring out she was a mono person trying to do poly with someone she wasn't compatible with, a few people were treated badly. Relationships that could have brought happiness to the people concerned were ended or obstructed. People probably missed out on a lot of good days trying to make what should have been friendships into passionate relationships.

The pandemic is here and it is unlikely that we will be able to use the world as our back yard for the foreseeable future. As difficult as it is, leave Aus to his new relationship. Don't do anything drastic with your relationship with him just wait and see how things end up in the future.

Consider if you and Mick would be better off freeing each other from obligation. You'll be more available for more compatible partners if you have fewer commitments.
 

Magdlyn

Moderator
Staff member
I don't agree with Seasoned.

I believe long term relationships can have ups and downs in the amount of sex. You seem to be implying you leave relationships 3-5 years in, once sex slows down. I was in a 30 year relationship, and my ex husband and I had periods of very frequent sex, followed by long spells of infrequent sex, and then followed by more frequency, back and forth. We did not break up because of lack of sex. On the contrary, we were in a spell of daily sex when we called it quits lol

The changes in our desire for each other coincided with job stress, exhaustion from child rearing, life changes that caused friction between us, or positive changes that increased desire.

It's really a bummer that Aus is choosing his new gf over you for sex now. But nobody said LDRs weren't difficult. He's choosing the bird in hand for now. NRE is compelling, and real life sex is usually better than cyber.

You've got a bird in hand in Mick. Do you tend to get stuck in a rut with longer term partners? Did the excitement of touring only occasionally with Aus make the sex more exciting?

Can you change things up with Mick? It might refresh your sex lives. What could you do differently? Take a trip, either a day trip or a long weekend, or an actual weeklong vacation? Sometimes just a long drive with music playing, and maybe a picnic at some point, can be enough to relax and see each other more as lovers than as roommates.

You could get yourself a sexy new outfit, or get Mick some new clothes. Get a haircut, color your hair. You could buy a new sex toy and have fun trying it out together.

Going for a hike is a common date activity in this pandemic time, too. It's not overrated. Being out in nature is calming and stimulating. Take lots of pictures and cute selfies together.
 

icesong

Moderator
Staff member
Mick and I had a pretty luke-warm sex life pre-covid and once the pandemic hit our sex life really plummeted. [Side note: I have found that my sex drive often really decreases after 3-5 years with someone. I’m not sure how best to work on it.] I feel guilty because I do feel it’s more me who’s feeling less sexual towards Mick but I love him and I love our home and life. I would add that Mick seems happy and doesn’t seem upset to be having very little sex with me. I’m sure he’d be interested in having more sex but he also doesn’t really make sensual moves on me often. We still cuddle and enjoy a lot of non-sexual intimacy daily. On the flip side, Aus and I still have maintained a very hot sex life - even long distance! He really knows how to turn me on.

I do feel like I’m getting some karma here... I let things slip with Mick and I made efforts but my desir still waned. So my question is two fold: how do I rekindle things with Mick (it’s like we’ve fallen out of the habit!) and how do I make sure this doesn’t happen with Aus without being a needy mess!? I feel like this is a slightly tragic situation.

Have you read Esther Perel's Mating in Captivity? she has a LOT to say about why as intimacy in a relationship increases over time, attraction and sexuality often decrease. I found it very helpful.
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Hi MyFickleHeart,

It sounds like Aus is very deep in NRE with the new girl he is dating. I don't think there's a lot you can do about that, you just have to wait for the NRE to die down. In the meantime, can you and Mick go on some dates together? It might help the two of you feel closer, and maybe more interested in sex. It's a difficult situation you're in; I don't envy you.

Sincerely,
Kevin T.
 

Marcus

Well-known member
Obviously I’m hurt and feel rejected... I also know this is a common phase of poly.

It's normal to feel a sense of loss when a relationship shifts in a way that we wish it hadn't. Not getting what we want sucks, and I think you should let yourself experience those feelings without beating yourself up.

I would say decreased or altered sexual interest is a natural transition in any long term romantic engagement. I suspect it's probably linked to some evolutionary quality that we developed as a species, but that's speculation on my part. In any case, it is extremely common and appears to be a trait that most of us have, and isn't going anywhere. That tells me that my effort would be better spent in dealing with this change in an emotionally healthy way, as opposed to manufacturing some trick to try to keep it from happening.

So what I recommend is putting your effort into recognizing the reality that relationships usually change in this way (though I'm sure there are exceptions), and that it is perfectly healthy and normal. This means figuring out a way to keep the "what's wrong with me" poison from spreading.
 

MyFickleHeart

New member
Hey guys! Thank you for your kind advice and comments.

I'll admit I've been feeling overwhelmed by the situation and reading Seasoned's comment was triggering so I almost wanted to delete my thread but I also think this is a situation that doesn't get talked about openly and often enough and I do feel that for me, the sexual side of my relationships has always shifted as things go on (from my side more than my partner's). I do understand that my post may be triggering for some as well because it feels so painful to be rejected and of course I could have been more ethical myself (ah but I'm moving forward a better human)! It feels hard to know if I "am poly" I mean - how do you know that? I definitely feel in love with both my partners and really want this to work. I have transitioned to poly from monogamy and I have doubts that I would ever want to go back because poly makes more sense to me.

In any case your words of comfort are deeply appreciated as I am trying to own my feelings and actions and move through this with as much grace and compassion as I can. There have been some hard lessons here but so much good learning and I am all in for the growth.

I am currently feeling so much grief but I do feel very supported and grateful for the things I have. I have an anxious attachment style and ADD and I'm only just now learning these things about myself at 36. SO helpful to understand and grow tools and compassion for myself.

You seem to be implying you leave relationships 3-5 years in, once sex slows down. I was in a 30 year relationship, and my ex husband and I had periods of very frequent sex, followed by long spells of infrequent sex, and then followed by more frequency, back and forth. We did not break up because of lack of sex. On the contrary, we were in a spell of daily sex when we called it quits lol
Thanks Magdyln - yes! Pre-poly I was a serial monogamist and had what I consider a string of successful relationships but the NRE would fade and the sex would get lack-lustre and I would find myself looking at others after living together for a while (which is normal but in monogamy is taboo). I always was so obsessed with my music career that my relationships often felt secondary. I'd have multiple original projects too and that required a lot of the same skills as poly. I'd go away on tour and be very focused on the present moment - I didn't miss my partners while away, I was living my dream! I was grateful for Mick to be taken care of and having fun with others, it worked well! When Daine came along things finally felt complete and poly made a lot of sense. I could tour with him and have crazy romantic music adventures, come home to Mick and get grounded and enjoy our stable, safe home. I'm learning to be more honest/vulnerable with myself and others now and my current relationships have the deepest connections I have felt yet. Lately it feels hard to remain open and honest because I'm always sad and he seems fine.
It's really a bummer that Aus is choosing his new gf over you for sex now. But nobody said LDRs weren't difficult. He's choosing the bird in hand for now. NRE is compelling, and real life sex is usually better than cyber.

You've got a bird in hand in Mick. Do you tend to get stuck in a rut with longer term partners? Did the excitement of touring only occasionally with Aus make the sex more exciting?
Yes it is heart-wrenching but of course I understand what's happening with Aus. I can't really blame him - I'm sure I'd feel similarly. NRE is powerful stuff. I do get stuck in ruts and yes to all! This arrangement was working really well because it kept both my relationships more exciting. Gave Mick and I space to appreciate each other and Aus is someone I can pursue my career dream with and such a good match for me in the way we like to operate and our life goals. I have never been with someone so compatible in that sense and I have been seeking exactly this but I wouldn't want to be with him full-time (the breaks keep it fresh and the LDR part works well as long as it's 6 months or less)! Mick is definitely an amazing nesting partner and I have been more grateful than ever for his companionship. Thanks for your suggestions I will try those things!

Have you read Esther Perel's Mating in Captivity? she has a LOT to say about why as intimacy in a relationship increases over time, attraction and sexuality often decrease. I found it very helpful.
Thanks Ice Song I will take a look at that!

It sounds like Aus is very deep in NRE with the new girl he is dating. I don't think there's a lot you can do about that, you just have to wait for the NRE to die down. In the meantime, can you and Mick go on some dates together? It might help the two of you feel closer, and maybe more interested in sex. It's a difficult situation you're in; I don't envy you.
Thank you Kevin! Yes one thing that has really helped Mick and I is to set regular weekly date night (I have that with each partner and it has really been helpful). I would say our relationship is in a good place besides a dwindling sexual connection. We are very loving with each other and compatible - we have a great shared life, very placid and grounded. Perfect for living together. I have also had other things affecting my mood and my drive. Aus is a kind of escape, my day to day life with Mick feels more "real". I feel I'm living half a life, I can't play live music or engage in my passions, I have discovered I have entered peri-menopause and am infertile, it is not a very sexy time! When things are going well with Aus, it cheers me up and makes me a better partner all around! The question is, how long will this NRE last and will there be anything left in the end?

It's normal to feel a sense of loss when a relationship shifts in a way that we wish it hadn't. Not getting what we want sucks, and I think you should let yourself experience those feelings without beating yourself up
Thank you for saying that Marcus, so well said. I have been trying!
So what I recommend is putting your effort into recognizing the reality that relationships usually change in this way (though I'm sure there are exceptions), and that it is perfectly healthy and normal. This means figuring out a way to keep the "what's wrong with me" poison from spreading.
Thank you. Yes I have been feeling so much turmoil around it and I know I need to find a way to let go and move on and live my life for me. I need to let Aus be free to live his life as he chooses.

I did bring up the situation again with Aus as after a few more attempts at initiating sexy times with him he was clearly changing the subject and uninterested. This time he got a bit cold with me and sounded like he would be ok with the sexual side of our relationship was no longer a focus until we could see each other in person again. He said the online sex and messaging just wasn't his preference - he's better in person. That was very devastating news for me as I actually really love it and get a lot out of it! I also feel that he was really enjoying it until his NRE.

I tried to be loving but clear that I do not think I can continue our relationship if I do not feel desired by him anymore. It's confusing because he says he does love me deeply, finds me attractive and wants all of our dreams "more than anything, without a doubt". He says he knows that when he sees me in person he will still want me sexually just like before and things will re-ignite. I agree I'm sure this would do wonders if we only could! He wants the same future with me but not the same present. He said he really wants to work on it but he didn't know if he could do anything about it and didn't want to make promises he couldn't keep. His ADD makes it really hard to remain focused on us and he's frustrated at feeling like he's always letting me down.

I do know that my behaviour has been a bit desperate and I can't make him want me more by hyper-focusing on us and making him feel guilty. I just feel tortured. It feels like a slow motion car-crash. I want all of these things with him so badly and even though I know all the things I SHOULD do I really don't know how to be honest and vulnerable and true to myself while also giving him space to work things out for himself. We have held on and fought for this for a year creating an album together and working though so many things together. Sometimes I can just focus on myself and my life with Mick and it feels really great - like things could fine! But man, being in lockdown in this situation makes me feel like a bug under a magnifying glass some days.

As I've thought further, I am surprised to learn that stopping the sex may not be a boundary as I had initially thought. Part of me just wants to hang in for it because I love him and if I could have this life it would be the ultimate dream. Both of these guys have said they want to spend their lives with me and are committed to this. On the other hand, actions speak louder than words and Mick is without a doubt dependable, but I am not feeling heart-safe in my relationship with Aus at the moment. I don't think he's lying but he doesn't seem to be able to focus on me or our music and things seem to be changing constantly. He was so all-in and with me and I could definitely depend on him before this pandemic/new relationship... he was the best! Even if we're apart for a few months it's no problem, it always felt like he was putting an effort in and we pulled off some incredible things against the odds. Now I feel more and more left behind.

Sorry for the long spiraly message... I guess I just need to get it out and vent and it feels really good to have other poly people who are so compassionate to talk to. I know I'll move through this and kind of need to just surrender but your input has been helpful. <3
 

Magdlyn

Moderator
Staff member
There is absolutely no need to apologize for venting. Sometimes that is the best thing this board can provide. It can really help to get it all out "on paper," so to speak, instead of having it just tumbling around in your head in circles. It can really help you to get clarity and eventually decide how to act.
 

breathemusic

Active member
If part of it really is that AUS is really struggling to maintain the sexual connection with so much distance, if you can stand to mostly give that up, then I would suggest trying that. I don't mean give up the love and strong feelings, but maybe try to drop the sexting/sexy part and focus on just the general connection. If you do that, then do you STILL feel like he's neglecting time, music, communication, etc.? If that's the case, then it's another conversation and it really can't be blamed on him just not being into virtual distance sexy stuff.
 

MyFickleHeart

New member
Thanks for hearing me! Appreciate your compassionate replies.

Yeah to hear Aus talk he is very committed and has no doubts about us. Mick and I are engaged (more of a symbolic thing, not sure if we'll ever legally marry) and Aus and I have talked about it as well... yesterday he said he bought me a ring! It's the real deal - very beautiful. I'm not a material girl but it did make me feel cared for that he would make that gesture and helped alleviate some of my turmoil. He just really struggles with time management and I know he's trying. He's also just able to be so... FINE and compartmentalize and that's something I find challenging.

A big part of what connects us is that vulnerability that comes from total openness and talking about everything! Right now I feel like talking to him is so full of triggers - which isn't sexy for either of us. I think he just really fills his life as a way to deal (or not deal) with things and right now to a degree talking to me and working on our music brings up some frustration because he can't really get the gratification from it he's used to. Trying to just live more in the present moment right now and focus on myself and keeping my energy flowing into the things that build me up and nourish my life right now. I still feel very hurt that he has almost completely ceased being sexy with me but I'm gonna hang in and try to address my insecurities and keep working on things with Mick and hope that with some time, things will shift to a more balanced place.
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
The Covid crisis certainly complicates things, especially with an LDR like with Aus. I think it was President Biden who said that vaccines would be available to everyone by the end of May ... something to that effect. I am hopeful that things will start returning to normal by the end of this year. And that you and Aus will be able to get together again in person.
 

MyFickleHeart

New member
Thanks kdt! Yeah here in Canada Trudeau has said everyone should be able to have had their vaccination by end of September so I'm crossing my fingers that means we'll be looking at international travel again by around that time. We will see!
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
I'm crossing my fingers too.
 
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