What To Do If You & Your Partner Have Different Sexual Appetites
PeopleImages/Getty Images

What To Do If You & Your Partner Have Different Sexual Appetites

Quiet as it’s kept, mismatched libidos are more common than you realize.


What would you do if you had a higher sex drive than your partner? Leave, cheat, suck it up or try to work it out? I received an email from a woman with this very dilemma. She wanted to know how to move forward with what she described as a “sexless marriage.” She and her husband of eight years were not sexually compatible, to say the least, she had a very high sex drive and wanted sex as often as possible while he, on the other hand, was satisfied with sex once or twice a month. In his defense, she stated that this is how he’s always been. She has always been the one who wanted sex more frequently in their relationship.

Even though this was the norm for their marriage, she was writing me because she was now frustrated, horny, and desperately looking for a solution that didn’t involve leaving her husband. Quiet as it’s kept, mismatched libidos are common for most couples, however rarely do I hear this complaint from women. Oftentimes it’s usually the male partner who’s dissatisfied with the lack of sex, but as we know women are just as sexual as men. And regardless of gender, libido fluctuates for varied reasons. Therefore, finding a partner who will always match yours is few and far between. So, do you throw out the baby with the bath water? No. You figure out the why and become one step closer to fixing the problem.

Throughout our lives our desire for sex changes, which can be caused by aging, stress levels, family life, work, etc. According to one study, desire and frequency issues (both low sexual desire and desire discrepancy) are the most reported sexual concerns (34%) among women. A more recent study delivered similar results, with 40% of participants reporting low sexual desire. Scientifically speaking, there are only two desire styles—-spontaneous and responsive.

Spontaneous desire is when you experience desire first then arousal. This is the kind of desire that is usually portrayed in movies and porn. Spontaneous desire is experienced more by men than women, about 15% of women and 75% of men to be exact. Responsive desire is quite the opposite. With responsive desire, your mind and body need to be aroused before you desire to have sex. About 30% of women and 5% of men have responsive desire. That's a pretty big discrepancy, right? If couples understood these statistics and learned the factors behind their desire or lack thereof, this would alleviate a lot of problems.

Once you understand how your partner is wired sexually, it should be easier to meet in the middle and find common ground that can meet the needs of both parties. If you or your partner are experiencing mismatched libidos, here are some tips you can use to get things back on track.

1.Talk about what is affecting each other’s sex drive.

Vladimir Vladimirov/Getty Images

Talk! Talk! Talk! While sex can be a sensitive subject, talking about it is essential. Respectfully communicating about each other’s feelings, insecurities, desires, and the reason for the low desire can lead to a better understanding of the issue. It could be anything from feeling burnout at work to a lack of emotional intimacy at home.

2.Switch things up in the bedroom.

Nothing kills the libido quicker than boredom. Just like how you get bored from eating the same food all the time, it’s also normal to feel bored from performing the same sexual routine day in and day out. In the case where things are dull, it's time to start venturing out and exploring. Together with your partner, make a list of things you would like to experiment with within the bedroom. Maybe you've never tried sex in front of the mirror or a new sex toy. List all the things that both of you find exciting. And then try those things in the bedroom.

3.Be affectionate, and not only in the bedroom.

LumiNola/Getty Images

Sex is not the only way to be affectionate. Hugs, kisses, and holding hands are all great ways to keep close and connected, and they don’t always have to lead to sex. Making pleasure and satisfaction a part of their whole day can help people build a desire for sexual pleasure. Driving a partner to work, preparing their food, having a thoughtful conversation, and giving them compliments are just some of the things couples can do to set the mood.

4.Take care of your own needs.

You are responsible for your own needs, so masturbate if you need to. In some instances, masturbation can be a great compromise for one partner who really wants to experience sexual pleasure and the other one who might not be in the mood. You or your partner can opt to masturbate or you can also lend a helping hand to your partner’s masturbation routine so that it now becomes a shared experience between you both.

5.Work with a professional.

urbazon/Getty Images

It can be scary navigating intimacy concerns with your partner. Whether you are new to the relationship or are in a committed, long-term partnership, working with a professional can be a source of comfort. Sex therapists, sexologists, and intimacy experts are trained to help you talk about difficult topics and guide you on how to reach your goals together. There may also be instances where the best option for the relationship may not be one you have been open to before. Consider working with an expert if you want support navigating mismatched libidos.

Let’s make things inbox official! Sign up for the xoNecole newsletter for daily love, wellness, career, and exclusive content delivered straight to your inbox.

Featured image by PeopleImages/Getty Images

Here's The Real-Life Story Behind Netflix's 'From Scratch'

If you’ve recently heard the loud sobbing of women across social media, you can thank Netflix’s new romantic drama From Scratch for that. The series, based loosely on the memoir of the same name, which was written by Tembi Locke, centers on the story of a Black woman named Amy (Zoe Saldaña) who leaves behind her life and budding law career to move to Italy to study art. While there, she meets a local professional chef named Lino, and the two begin a romance that brings together two different cultures.

Keep reading...Show less
The daily empowerment fix you need.
Make things inbox official.

Hair porosity is a puzzle constantly making its rounds on every social media platform from YouTube to TikTok. And it's for a good reason. Knowing your hair type is essential. Most hair gurus will tell you your hair porosity is a key component in the products you use and how you layer them.

Keep reading...Show less
Real-Life Teachers Share Their 'Abbott Elementary' Experiences

There’s an embarrassment of riches that comes with being a fan of ABC’s hit comedy Abbott Elementary. The show, which stars Quinta Brunson as Janine Teagues, Sheryl Lee Ralph as Barbara Howard, Tyler James Williams as Gregory Eddie, and Janelle James as Principal Ava Coleman, is about a group of mostly Black educators at a predominately Black elementary school in Philadelphia and has captured audiences for its tender, hilarious, and lighthearted depiction of what it's like to be a Black teacher to young Black students.

Keep reading...Show less
10 Travel Destinations For A Perfect Winter Escape

Is the snow getting you down? Traveling during the holiday season could be the perfect winter escape that you've been looking for. According to a report by Business Wire, 53% of Americans are preparing to travel between December and February. Traveling during this time of year might be the reset your body needs before taking on the new year. From popular destinations to underrated locations, there is no shortage of places to visit and experience during this time of the year.

Keep reading...Show less
How To Answer Tough (But Common) Job Interview Questions

Landing a job interview is already a feat in itself, but actually getting through it feeling like you've won is a whole other issue. Whether it's a dream job that you want in order to take your career to the next level or that promotion at your current job, it's likely you'll be thrown a few curve balls by way of tough questions. They're often common and a tad basic, but they can bring about feelings of uncertainty, anxiety, or confusion.

Keep reading...Show less
Exclusive Interviews
Latest Posts