Love & Libido: How Matching Your Sex Drive Can Save Your Relationship
Sex Drive in Relationships
If relationships are all about compromise, don’t rule out the possibility that the same can be done here – whether it’s to meet a partner’s high or low sex drive halfway, or simply to indulge their fantasy.
Knowing what you want and getting it are two very different things, and nowhere is that more true than the bedroom! But sometimes you need only ask, or talk over the psychological and physical limitations blocking you, to find a consensus with your partner. Sex – and your sex drive – simply can’t be taboo; it’s far too important to the success of your relationship.
Livin’ Libido Loca: How to Handle Sex Drive Disparity
One of the biggest challenges in a relationship is handling different attitudes to, and needs for, sex. The key to maintaining a healthy relationship is finding a level of physical intimacy you’re both comfortable with.
If your libido is higher than your partner’s, try not to take it personally! Some people are ‘sex camels’ – having sex once a week, a month, a year even, might be all they need to keep them going. Rest assured, you’re in good company. Roy Baumeister’s seminal report on sex drive disparity between men and women concludes that ‘pretty much every study and every measure fit the pattern that men want sex more than women'1. That said, his 2001 report cites one study that suggests that 60% of husbands, and as many as 32% of wives, want more frequent sex2. Desiring more sex is a problem not limited by gender, age or sexual orientation.
If your libido is lower than your partner’s, don’t feel guilty about it. Libido is a largely biological phenomenon, and you should never apologize for your own internal chemistry. On the (long) list of things that can negatively impact libido are such factors as stress, aging, depression, anxiety, past trauma and, for women, menopause and even birth control pills3. You can however change how pro-active you are in addressing the sex question in your relationship; if you can make the time for intimacy, then who knows where it could lead?
Medically, a persistently low libido is referred to by doctors as Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder; it’s thought to affect up to 12% of women and 5% of men4, and is most typically associated with married women beyond the first couple of years after their nuptials. Most often, too, HSSD is diagnosed in people who have otherwise healthy relationships, but can’t seem to respond to sexual contact or advance.
Things to try:
- This isn’t your issue alone – first of all, chat with your partner about the difficulty you have – just being aware of the problem helps them understand you and your body better, and having such a load off your mind will help you enormously.
- Schedule in time for sex in your weekly routine – call them date nights if you like a euphemism, but make sure you have time to enjoy each other’s company, alone, in an environment where intimacy could happen. If it helps, keep a sex diary to keep tabs on when, where and how you have sex – seeing it in black and white can help you better grasp the reality of your situation.
- A recent EliteSingles study found an interest in health & fitness boosted sex drive in women a staggering +7.5%, and an impressive +5% for men. Taking care of your body can give you a much-needed ego boost and help fight how negative factors like stress and anxiety affect your libido with endorphins.
- If the above steps don’t help, try seeking professional assistance; you can talk to your doctor about the physical causes of a low libido – it could be something easily fixable – or consider contacting a sex therapist who can offer you and your partner more personalized tips and advice.