As a couples therapist for two decades, I have worked with many couples who have different libidos which can lead to issues in the relationship. When one partner has more interest in sex than the other, it’s easy for the person with the higher sex drive to feel rejected and take things personally. They often feel undesired or unattractive to their partner. The partner who avoids sex tends to feel pressure, anxiety and guilt.
As many as 43 percent of women and 31 percent of men have experienced sexual dysfunction, and one of the most common problems is low libido, or a low sex drive. But, contrary to popular belief, it’s not always that men have the higher sex drive. Plenty of women desire sex more frequently than their male partners. Same sex couples also struggle with this very issue.
You want to understand the root cause of your low libido and share these reasons with your partner. Maybe you are feeling distracted by family problems and stress, suffering from depression or anxiety, or even trauma in your past. Maybe you are taking birth control pills or having hormonal issues. Or perhaps genetically, you just have different libidos.
It’s hard to find someone who has a perfectly matched libido. The good news is there are steps you can take to work with your partner to make sure your different sex drives don’t alienate or create distance in your relationship.
Here are 3 ways to cope when you and your partner have different libidos:
Don’t Blame Your Partner:
Frustration often mounts when your physical needs are not met. All too often, instead of working together as a team to discover what lies at the heart of intimacy issues, familiar and destructive emotions such as blame and guilt plague a relationship. It is easier to point the finger at your partner than to question how you may also be contributing to the problem. When you start blaming each other, communication becomes even harder.
Honesty and Communication:
Talking about physical intimacy is like talking about any other relationship problem. It’s difficult! Make time to talk to your partner about this sensitive issue in a respectful manner. Try to be less reactive and feel heard. Together you can process feelings and bring about positive results. Problems in your relationship will intensify if you don’t talk openly about sex because the topic is so emotionally charged.
Open and honest communication creates the foundation for you and your partner to deal with problems as a team. You want to talk about what is getting in the way of your interest in sex. Communicate what you may need more of from your partner such as; romance, flirting, dates, etc. Discuss your needs and find compromise.
Schedule Intimacy Dates:
Life can be exhausting, especially if you have children, a demanding career, and the myriad of other responsibilities that come with being an adult. These stressors can add to and also lure you away from an active, fulfilling sex life. Make Intimacy Dates a part of your weekly schedule. There is nothing unromantic or forced about making a date to reconnect with each other. Intimacy dates are organic experiences to foster physical and emotional intimacy between you and your partner. If your time with your loved one involves little more than talking and touching and you leave feeling closer than you did before your date, consider your time together a success.
I encourage you to follow these tips and take action as the rewards can help give you lasting satisfaction and sustained passion in your relationship.
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If you are interested in counseling, we see clients in our midtown office.