For most romantic partners, sex is a crucial component of a relationship. When you and your partner’s sexual interests and libidos match up, sparks can fly. Unfortunately, not everyone will share the same level of sexual desire as their partner. In fact, mismatched libidos may be more common than not.
Disparities between your libido and your partner’s can be hard on your relationship. One partner may feel frustrated by a lack of sexual activity, while the other feels pressured or even self-conscious about their lowered libido. Libido can fluctuate, as well, meaning your once-solid sexual chemistry may have shifted over the years, creating newfound challenges.
If you’re in a situation like this, don’t despair. There are many ways to examine your and your partner’s sexual desires and find solutions or common ground to make you both happy. Here are some things to consider.
Identify the ‘what’ and ‘why’
If differences in sexual desire are causing problems between you and your partner, take time to consider the “what” of the situation: How different are your and your partner’s libidos? It may help to use a number on a scale from one to 10 of how sexual of a person you each think you are to determine how large the gap is.
After you figure out the “what,” consider the “why.” Have you experienced a recent shift in sexual desire? If so, do you believe it’s linked to anything?
Libido can fluctuate greatly in women, particularly as they near menopause. Significant stress, busy schedules and lifestyle factors can all play a role in libido reductions, as well. If you can pinpoint one or more of these factors as a contributor in your changing sex life, you will be better equipped to find solutions. Mitigating these problems, such as reducing stress or making healthier choices, may help you rebalance your libido and match your partner’s needs once more.
Differences can be natural, too
Sometimes, though, there is no real “why” behind your change or difference in libido. You and your partner may just have naturally different levels of sexual desire, and that’s perfectly normal, too.
Unfortunately, if this is the case, there won’t be a fast or easy solution to even them out. You may need to try other methods to help both of you cope with the disparity and reach a sexual middle ground you can both be happy with.
How to work through it…together
In order to manage your and your partner’s differing libidos, you’ll likely want to try a number of strategies to help meet each other’s needs and find solutions that work for both of you. The following ideas may help, regardless of whether your libido is naturally different or whether you’ve experienced a drop in libido due to life changes.
- Communicate: One of the most important things you can do during this period is have open and honest communication with your partner. Discuss your sexual needs, your feelings and your desires and try to find solutions on your own to meet in the middle. Too often, couples run into trouble regarding sex because they don’t feel like they can be honest.
- Mitigate the libido dampeners: When you examined the “what” and “why” of your sex drive, did you find any specific things that might be hampering your sexual desire? If so, work with your partner to find solutions to those things. If you’ve been under a lot of stress, find things to do together that relieve that stress, like couple’s yoga or giving each other massages. If your health or pain is an issue, explore avenues that may provide you relief or improve your health to help your libido return to normal.
- Libido supplements: If you or your partner has experienced a drop in libido due to menopause, stress or other changes, libido supplements may be a simple solution. Herbal supplements help improve lubrication and arousal, as well as sexual pleasure, for a more satisfying experience for both parties.
- Focus on intimacy: Some couples find solutions to their differing libidos when they take a step back and focus on intimate touches and interactions that don’t involve sexual acts, like cuddling. Figure out what both you and your partner really like and what helps you both feel aroused, then focus on doing those things more in your day-to-day life. A heightened focus on intimacy may help drive the libido of the less-aroused partner and make you feel more connected to each other.
- Sex counseling: If things in the bedroom are really challenging, it might benefit you and your partner to meet with a counselor whose practice focuses on sex therapy. Speaking through your challenges with a sex therapist may introduce you to even more methods of alleviating sexual frustration and meeting each other in the middle.
Many couples think that one partner having a different libido than the other will ultimately end in the relationship’s destruction, but this doesn’t have to be the case. With hard work from both parties, a little self-examination and potentially the help of a professional, you and your partner can find a solution that allows you to continue feeling happy and fulfilled, sexually and otherwise.