When a couple’s sex drive doesn’t sync

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When a couple’s sex drive doesn’t sync

You and your partner may consider your relationship a match made in heaven.  You may enjoy the same music, food, entertainment, and even agree where to go on vacation.  But, then there are couples who have one very important aspect of their lives together that is not quite in sync – their sex drives.  One of you likes and wants to make love practically every day while the other would be fine if it happened once a month.

Mismatches in sexual drives are not uncommon among many couples.  A common complaint often shared in marriage counseling is the fact one partner has a very high sex drive while the other partner could care less.  Just because a loving couple may disagree on the frequency of sex, it does not necessarily mean the relationship is in trouble.  But it could mean things have changed over the years.  Close relationships go through many ups and down.  The good news is there are ways to correct that so each partner is felt heard with ultimately their needs met.

It is not unusual for some people to have a high sex drive.  There is nothing wrong with that but when that high sex drive collides with someone who would rather get a good night’s sleep than to engage in sexual activity, the person wanting frequent sex may take their partner’s rejection personally and feel frustrated and angry.  The partner with a low sex drive may also feel guilty about saying “no” and disappointing their partner or they may feel annoyed and pressured to have sex when they really don’t want to.

How can this dilemma be resolved and help keep both partners happy and fulfilled?

Check for a medical problem

First, check to see why one partner’s libido has diminished.  It is not unusual for lack of desire to be linked to a medical issue such as the following:

·      Medication use – Certain medications can have side effects one of which can be a reduced sex drive.  Antidepressants, anti-hypertensive, and pain relievers can cause a dip in sex activity.

·      Hormonal changes – It happens to everyone – hormonal changes over time.  Since sexual desire is driven by hormones and hormone production, even slight changes can affect your interest in how often you are interested or not. Testosterone levels in men begin to wane with age resulting in a nosedive in sexual desire.  For women, as estrogen levels plummet around menopause, their libido may also take a free fall.

·      Hypoactive sexual desire disorder This condition affects up to one-third of all women who will develop a deficiency or absence of sexual fantasies and desire for sexual activity that usually causes marked distress on their intimate relationships.

Check for a relationship problem

When no medical problem can be found that is causing a lack of interest in sex, then the next step is to address the relationship between the partners.  When emotions are running high such as feelings of anger, jealousy, or lack of communication, agreeing on frequency of sex is less likely to happen.  This is where a trained marriage counselor or sex therapist can be of invaluable help to couples suffering from a mismatch in their sexual desires for one another. 

Keep in mind, some people are simply more sexual than others and some are simply not.  It doesn’t mean that their differences can’t be worked out but it does take sincere understanding on how to compromise to keep both partners happy.  Here are some strategies than can help:

·      Be mindful and know of what your partner’s needs are – Highly sexualized people should be empathetic towards their partner who is not as sexual as them.  The love is often still there for one another but the less sexual partner may need more non-sexual intimacy in order to become in the mood. Think of activities that work on building your relationship and add in more romance.  Take long walks holding hands, cook a great meal together, or have regular date nights.

·      Talk about your differences – Maybe a sexual frequency mismatch is ignored.  But very likely when one partner is feeling the frustration, the other partner is too.  This is when discussing openly and honestly of the difference needs to be addressed.  Take turns talking about why each of you are not on the same page sexually. Discuss and find ways to bring you closer together by agreeing to each make changes in your approach towards your sex life.

·      Find other ways to be sexual – Intimacy can be defined in many ways besides as sexual intercourse.  Cuddling while watching TV, giving each other a massage, holding hands, or kissing can be loving ways to show intimacy to help each partner feels their needs met.

By working together and keeping communication and respect towards each other at the forefront, there can be ways to keep your relationship strong and passionate even when your sex drives may be different.