Even the most loving, committed couples can have mismatched sex drives. Many people assume that people with different libidos can’t be together and that trying to make it work is a recipe for disaster. But a relationship where one partner has a higher sex drive than the other doesn’t have to crash and burn. In fact, there are plenty of couples with mismatched libidos that have very happy, long-lasting relationships.

When you consider that most peoples’ sex drives will fluctuate throughout their lives, this is something that almost every couple will have to deal with at some point! Here’s how to keep each other satisfied, even with different sex drives.

1. Honest and Sensitive Communication

Every happy relationship is built on honest communication. If you want to have a healthy sex life, talk about your needs with your partner.  It is important to take some risks and allow yourself to be vulnerable.  Some have the mistaken idea that telling your partner what you desire is selfish, but honesty shows that you trust them to listen openly. 

And while you’re at it, help your partner talk about their needs.  Be ready to listen openly and be prepared to hear some things that might be difficult to hear.

This is the first and most important step for dealing with mismatched sex drives. Figure out where your differences lie and keep the conversation going from there

2.  Are Mismatched Sex Drives New?

Are you a couple that used to have equal appetites but one of you have changed?  Since when?  There may be something going on with the partner whose sex drive has changed, plus or minus. 

If one of you is experiencing a lower sex drive, perhaps there are some underlying causes – depression, anxiety, resentment, exhaustion, time demands or a medical issue (seek medical treatment) could be affecting desire levels.

Similarly, if one of you is suddenly experiencing a higher sex drive, there may be something going on – anxiety, a positive life change, mid-life crisis, or any number of causes. 

On the other hand, if differing desire has always been on the table, and one of you just noticed, the difficult work will be negotiating difference.  

Either scenario may be fine, but it is important to understand and manage any fundamental changes in a relationship.  Back to point 1 – Honest and Sensitive Communication.

3.  Accelerators and Brakes

Find out what turns you and your partner on and what hits the brakes.  Emily Nagoski, PHD in her NYT bestseller, Come As You Are, uses the terms accelerators for things that stimulate desire and brakes for those things that stop you dead in your tracks.  She normalizes mismatched sex drives and removes the stigma for those who just take their time getting started. 

Have you really taken the time to really get to know what those brakes and accelerators are for you?  For your partner?  Make a list, notice what works or doesn’t work.  This can be an activity you do on your own or share with your partner.  Perhaps the activity itself will prove to be an accelerator!  

4.  Consider Hormonal Factors

Some forms of hormonal birth control can affect a woman’s sex drive. If you use birth control and suspect that this may be the case, you may want to talk to your doctor about switching to a new form of birth control. A non-hormonal option could be a better fit.

And for men, testosterone levels may be down.  Or performance anxiety up.  

The right choice is a little different for every couple. Make sure to talk to a medical professional, evaluate all of your options, and figure out what works best for you.

5.  Start Outside the Bedroom

Any happily partnered couple will admit that sex starts outside the bedroom! That means sexy, spontaneous surprises and affectionate touching—a kiss on the cheek, an arm around the shoulders, squeezing each other’s hands in public.  A steady gaze.

Or maybe you’re into something different – a shared activity, a relaxing day spent at the beach without chores or electronics, watch a sexy movie, porn or read erotica to each other.  Figure out your and your partner’s accelerators and get on it. 

You need to set the mood before the sun goes down. Enjoy those sensual little moments and see how it improves your relationship overall.

6.  Get Creative

Perhaps you’re both a little bored of going through the same motions that you’ve stuck with since you started dating. It’s so easy to fall into a pattern when you feel set and secure in a relationship and your lives are so busy. 

Maybe you could both benefit from discovering a few new moves that turn you on. This isn’t an excuse to put pressure on a partner with a lower sex drive, but it never hurts to experiment and see if spicing things up could benefit both of you in the bedroom.

7.  Couples Counseling for Mismatched Sex Drives

Feel like you’ve tried everything to satisfy your partner, but you two still aren’t on the same page? Don’t throw in the towel just yet. Talking to a couples counselor can help you understand your partner’s point of view and rekindle your romance.

Sometimes, it helps to have an objective, non-judgmental third party listening and guiding the conversation. Counseling can help you both dig into unresolved issues that might be dampening your connection and chart of course of action to help you move forward.

Are you and your partner trying to make it work with mismatched sex drives? Contact me today at 917-873-0506  Or to read more about couples counseling here to see how you can keep the spark alive in the bedroom.

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