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The More I Trust a Partner, the Less I’m Aroused

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From the U.S.: I’m trying to determine the name of what I have so I can research it. Whenever I become romantically involved with a person, the more I trust them, open up to them, feel nurtured by them, and generally as I become emotionally close to them, the less aroused I become by them. I eventually lose any instinct to segue to sexual activity and instead prefer emotional comfort and intimacy. This does not exclude a desire for sexual activity altogether, because I still seek it while losing my ability to see the trusted partner as a viable option.

This is not simply a matter of variety or boredom either. I have had partners who I never became emotionally close to and my libido nor fidelity was compromised. There have also been situations in which the person I have grown emotionally close to has rapidly become more sexually desirable for me after emotional distance has been created.

This issue has been a destructive force to my relationships and has excluded the potential for a healthy relationship that allows me to feel love and attraction in the same person at the same time. It’s as if my mind automatically excludes one or the other. I need help understanding this, please?

The More I Trust a Partner, the Less I’m Aroused

Answered by on -


You are not alone in this dilemma. Not knowing you, I can’t give you a definitive answer but I can tell you this: Usually the root is in the past. In some families and cultures, women are divided into only two groups: “Pure” or “whores”. Pure women are to be worshiped and loved but are not sexual. Whores are sexual but aren’t women to love. Nothing could be further from the truth, of course. Loving and lovable women do like sex. Women who enjoy sex aren’t shameful.

If that idea is anywhere in your history, it is still being played out in your present life. If your issue stems from some other life experience, it can still be changed. Going for some therapy can help people reconsider early lessons and make new adult decisions about their beliefs, values and behavior.

I hope you will see a counselor to free you of the problem. You deserve to have a loving relationship with a woman that includes the closeness and pleasure of sexual intimacy.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

The More I Trust a Partner, the Less I’m Aroused

Therapists live, online right now, from BetterHelp:

Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Dr. Marie is licensed as both a psychologist and marriage and family counselor. She specializes in couples and family therapy and parent education. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2018). The More I Trust a Partner, the Less I’m Aroused. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 1, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018 (Originally: 16 May 2016)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.