Archive for David Schnarch

In your relationship are you the high desire person (HDP) or the low desire person (LDP)?

According to David Schnarch in his thought provoking book INTIMACY AND DESIRE ‘Sexual desire problems are part of the normal healthy processes of marriage’ its how we go about them that is the difficulty. According to his approach there is always a low desire partner and there is always a high desire partner and there is one of each in every relationship.

If we look at our own relationship there is a LDP and a HDP on virtually every issue and decision we make. Whether it’s deciding to move in together, visiting family or having sex.  One partner wants to do something (the HDP) that the other doesn’t (the LDP).  Even if you want to do the same thing, one of you will want it more. Depending on the issues, positions change.  You may be the HDP for sex and intimacy but the LDP for having children.

The LDP and HDP are relative positions in a relationship. Being the LDP person doesn’t mean you have no desire.  You could want sex every day and still be the LDP person if you are in a relationship with someone who wants sex twice a day.  Accepting LDP and HPD as positions in a relationship helps make us less defensive about our levels of sexual desire.  It gives both partners a more equal standing for dealing with each other.

Another rule of sexual desire that David Schnarch adheres to is that the LDP in a relationship always controls sex. Understanding this is one of the “people growing processes” The HDP usually initiates sex.  The LDP decides whether to respond.  This determines if and when sex happens.  This gives LDP control of sex whether it is wanted or not.

How you feel about yourself, your partner and your relationship is essential for personal growth. Stop blaming, be less defensive and be more curious. If you can tolerate the anxiety of hearing and saying difficult things and sooth your own emotions you are on course for a more integrated meaningful sexual relationship.

Dawn Kaffel