9 Tips For Couples Whose Sex Drives Are Mismatched

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So… you’ve met someone incredible. You share the same sense of humor, the same values, and the same plans for the future.

The only thing that’s out of balance is your sex drives.

It can be deflating to find out that you and your partner aren’t on the same page when it comes to sex.

While it’s normal to feel like this is a bit of an obstacle in your relationship, it needn’t be the end of it.

There are ways to work around having different sex drives in your relationship – here are our 9 top tips on how to move forward together.

1. Communicate honestly.

Whether you’re the one who isn’t in the mood very often or the one who could happily have sex on the hour, every hour, be honest with your partner.

If you’re at the stage where you’re having regular enough sex for your sex drives to become apparent, you’re at the stage where you can talk about it.

Remember, whichever end of the libido scale you’re at, there should be no shame involved. Different people have different needs or preferences.

If either of you is finding it hard to talk about, why not write it down? You can write a note to each other or journal it and talk through it when you feel ready.

There’s no rush with this kind of thing – if you care about them enough to find a great, balanced sex life that works for you both, you care enough to wait it out and be patient.

2. Find alternatives you’re both comfortable with.

This is a pretty obvious one, but for the person who has a higher sex drive, there are alternative ways of getting your kicks.

They might not feel as good as sex, but there are options out there – masturbation, sex toys, dirty talk, etc.

Find ways to engage with each other that aren’t always having sex. This takes the pressure off and allows you both to enjoy things at a level you’re happy with.

You can still be with your partner while they’re masturbating, for example, so you don’t need to feel left out and can feel close to them, even if you’re not in the mood to have sex.

3. Don’t let guilt/shame come into it.

Sex is such a weird, taboo subject – even in this modern age!

If your partner tries to make you feel embarrassed for wanting to have sex a lot, or guilty for not being in the mood when they are, they’re not the right person for you. It’s that easy.

People’s sex drives are influenced by so many things, often beyond our control, and you shouldn’t be made to feel bad about how high or low it is.

If you’re with someone and have a mismatched sex drive, this might be something you both need to accept. It might not change, and, if sex is more important to one of you than the other, you may also need to accept that it could be an issue going forwards.

This doesn’t mean you should suddenly start suggesting sex all the time, or that you should never feel comfortable suggesting it, but it does need to be taken into account.

You’ll need to find a way to make things work for both of you – without getting guilt or shame involved.

4. Don’t take it personally.

If your partner is the one with the lower sex drive, remember that it is unlikely to have anything to do with you.

There is a range of things that influence how often we’re interested in having sex, and our attraction to our partner is rarely one – at least, not in the long-term! Maybe after an argument when we’re angry with them, sure, but not consistently.

It might feel almost impossible at times, but this isn’t a rejection of you at all, and you should try to see it as something separate to how they truly feel about you.

They might express their feelings for you in other ways that help you feel secure and loved, and that is enough in itself.

5. Try new things.

Some people’s sex drives just won’t change, but some people haven’t had great sex before, and therefore don’t really have positive associations with it.

The more you can comfortably experiment with different things as a couple, the more you may realize how much you enjoy having sex with each other.

Try new things, switch up positions, and gently encourage your partner to be more experimental when they are in the mood.

Remember that people with low sex drives may have felt a lot of pressure from previous relationships and might not be comfortable sharing what they enjoy, what they want to try, and what works for them just yet.

This is something to build up to and is one of the best bits about being in a relationship – you’re always learning about them!

Do your best to make them feel comfortable, always be respectful, and let them take the lead.

Of course, you also need to be prepared to accept that this might not change things.

6. Stick to the old reliables – and compliments!

Contrary to our advice above, sometimes new things just don’t hit the spot – literally.

If you’re the one who has a lower sex drive, be honest about what works and what doesn’t work. Sex is about both of you feeling good, after all.

If it’s easier and takes a level of stress out, stick to what you know. Let your partner know what feels good and make sure they know how great it makes you feel.

You shouldn’t feel guilty about having a lower sex drive – ever – but it’s still a good idea to make sure your partner feels confident and comfortable having sex with you.

They may sometimes feel a bit rejected if they initiate sex and you turn it down (again, not your fault!), so do your best to remind them how good they are in bed and give them a confidence boost from time to time.

7. Take sex out of the equation.

When you’re with someone and are both very conscious of the mismatched sex drives, sex can become a huge issue. It can almost hang over you, and it can feel as though it’s the be all and end all.

The person with the higher sex drive might take every small action as a come-on because they’re so keen for their partner to initiate sex; the person with the lower sex drive might associate any kind of physical interaction as a build-up to sex and therefore start feeling uncomfortable even with a well-intentioned, non-sexual hug.

Try taking sex out of the equation. Enjoy being intimate with each other in ways that aren’t a prelude to sex.

This will help rebuild your bond that may have been getting a bit rocky with all the pressure of different libidos.

It will help you reconnect and get more comfortable being around each other and re-establish your boundaries with each other.

8. Consider the circumstances.

Our sex drives change a lot, which can sometimes be a result of our circumstances.

It’s important to note that someone not wanting to have sex for a few weeks when they’re incredibly stressed does not mean they will never come near you again.

Equally, if one of you is taking new medication that happens to have a side effect of an increased libido, it doesn’t mean they’re going to be horny forever!

It’s easy to make a big deal of something that might not actually be an ongoing issue at all – once it’s in your head, you can convince yourself of pretty much anything, after all.

Try to keep things relative and approach it all sensibly before jumping to conclusions.

9. Seek professional help.

You shouldn’t take medication or change your lifestyle drastically for another person, just to be clear.

If you want a higher sex drive, or maybe have experience a dip in your normally-high sex drive due to age, injury, or medication you’ve taken, consider speaking to your doctor about it.

There are lots of options available so, as long as you’re making the choice for yourself, you’re sure to find something that works for you. 

As we’ve mentioned – sex isn’t the be all and end all, but it is important to a lot of people. If you genuinely care about the person you’re with, you’ll be comfortable and patient enough to talk about it with your partner.

Never try to make someone feel guilty or ashamed about their sex drive – and remember that it’s not necessarily indicative of how they feel about you, so try to not take it personally.

There are ways to find a healthy balance, and the best is through honest communication. You’re bound to learn a lot more about each other along your journey, and have lots of fun exploring new things together.

Still not sure what to do about yours and your partner’s unbalanced sex drives? Want to talk it through either alone or as a couple? Chat online to a relationship expert from Relationship Hero who can help you figure things out. Simply click here to chat.

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About Author

Lucy is a travel and wellness writer currently based in Gili Air, a tiny Indonesian island. After over a year of traveling, she’s settled in paradise and spends her days wandering around barefoot, practicing yoga and exploring new ways to work on her wellbeing.