Is Your Relationship Doomed if Your Sex Drives Aren’t Compatible?

battle of libidos
1/6 Shutterstock/Alyssa Zolna

Lots of relationships that make it past the can't-stop-won't-stop having sex phase run into scheduling issues when the dust settles. And often one person's libido is in overdrive while the other's is more...meh.

But that's okay! You're not actually doomed. “It’s completely natural,” says Tammy Nelson, Ph.D., author of Getting the Sex You Want. “We don’t sleep the same amount; we don’t like the same foods; why should we want the same amount of sex?” Touché.

That being said, having different levels of desire can definitely cause some issues with your bond. "The lower-desiring partner feels fairly content, while the higher-desiring partner might feel resentful,” says sex and relationship therapist Chris Donaghue, Ph.D.

So how do you deal? "Like other issues of incompatible interests and passions, a couple can deal with different sex drives by showing love, commitment, and passion," says Donaghue. In other words, you've gotta do a little work.

These five sexpert-approved strategies will help you communicate your needs better and realign your libidos.

battle of libidos
2/6 Alyssa Zolna
Talk About Good Sex

If you know you need more foreplay, extra lube, or maybe even a sex toy to get fully excited, speak up. “Share your fantasies and be open to trying something new,” says Nelson. She suggests hitting up a local sex boutique and getting some inspiration from different outfits, videos, toys, and sex aids. "Get out of your comfort zone!” says Donaghue.

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3/6 Alyssa Zolna
Experiment

Sometimes a lack of interest in sex is actually due to boredom with the type of sex you’ve been having, says Donaghue. So switch things up with new positions, locations, and times of day, he says. Afternoon delight, anyone? We tend to have sexual habits, like a certain way of giving a blow job or doing foreplay, but by breaking these routines you keep things interesting and exciting.

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Do It All Night Long

The longer you go without sex, the harder it gets to have it again. But we're not saying you need to be banging 24/7. “Sex is anything pleasurable that bonds a couple, including mutual masturbation, mutual sex toy play, massaging, fantasizing, and even talking about sex,” says Donaghue. It's a good idea to have the higher-desiring partner take the lead, but each partner must prioritize sex and be willing to participate, he says.

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5/6 Alyssa Zolna
Turn Each Other On

Don’t let one 24-hour period go by without doing something flirtatious, affectionate, erotic or romantic, says Donaghue. Leave romantic notes, sext message, hold hands while driving. "All of these hints of sex and romance have bigger impacts on keeping couples close, connected, and on the same level sexually," he says.

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Touch Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself

As we said, you’re going to be more in the mood for getting busy when you’ve been doing it more. “Craving sex is your body’s natural response to consistent arousal,” says Donaghue. So making time for masturbation reminds us to prioritize it. When work and family leave us drained, stressed, or isolated, sex brings fun and pleasure back into our lives.

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