Sex drive: What to do when you and your partner have unmatched libidos

Mismatched sexual drive is a common problem people in relationships face, but there are ways to work around that.

Sex drive: What to do when you and your partner have unmatched libidos
© Getty/ RapidEye
Sex drive: What to do when you and your partner have unmatched libidos

Difference in sexual libidos is a common issue that leads to the collapse of many relationships. People’s sexual appetite fluctuates during the course of their lives, leaving their partners feeling rejected and frustrated. Read on to learn about the ways to successfully navigate mismatched sex drives in your relationship.

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Mismatched sex drive

Commonly known as libido, sex desire is the motivation or the desire to engage in sexual activities. There is no normal sex drive; people vary in their desire for or interest in sex, and this could change over time.

Contrary to stereotypes, many women in heterosexual relationships complain about their partners’ low libido. Many factors can influence a person’s sex drive including:

  • Conditions that may affect people’s hormones, like pregnancy and menopause. Also, men tend to produce less testosterone as they age, reducing their sex drive
  • Depression can reduce people’s desire for sex. Interestingly, certain medications such as antidepressants can also be a factor.
  • Level of attraction, self-esteem and confidence are some individual elements that can impact one’s libido.
  • Also, communication and couple’s perceived compatibility can influence sex drive, as well as monotony and over-familiarity with a partner.
Women, as well as men, complain about differences in sexual drive in their relationships. Getty/ Ray Massey

How to manage mismatched sex drive

When left unaddressed, sex drive discrepancy can lead to higher-libido partners developing low self-esteem and resentment towards their partner. On the other hand, the partner with the low desire for sex may feel guilty, pressures and inadequate. There are techniques that couples can adapt to manage this dynamic in their relationships, such as:

  • Getting comfortable talking about sex: Sex can be a particularly sensitive subject, especially if there’s no synchrony in desire for it. But communicating about it helps couples to understand what the other person feels, their needs and insecurities.
  • Making Compromises: This does not necessarily mean that the person with low libido should go out of their way to have sex when they don’t feel like it. A 2020 study shows that couples who meet each other halfway, tend to have healthy sexual relationships. By redefining what sex means to them, they can engage in other sexual acts such as mutual masturbation, oral sex, sexual toys, and manual stimulation.
Sceduling sex builds anticipation. Getty/ Ekaterina79
  • Scheduled sex: It may not sound romantic, but setting aside time to have sex has helped many couples rebuild their relationship around sex. Scheduling sex builds mental, physical and emotional anticipation, while allowing the pair to establish when they have the most energy for it.
  • Setting the tone: There is more to sex than the activities itself. Foreplay should not be limited to kissing and touching, but should include everything else that happens before sex. Being supportive, helpful, giving compliments and having thoughtful conversations with a partner throughout the day, sets the mood for sex.

Read more:

How menopause affects your sex drive

Sex drive: How to get yourself in the mood for sex, according to the experts

Five common causes of a low libido

Tried and tested natural aphrodisiacs that will amp up your sex drive Tried and tested natural aphrodisiacs that will amp up your sex drive