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October 2021

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Managing Mismatched Sex Drives
Featured Article

Managing Mismatched Sex Drives

Are you and your partner not on the same page desire-wise? You’re not alone; it’s a frequent problem in relationships. The good news? There are numerous solutions. Read on for some essential tips.

We’ve all heard the stereotype that men reach their sexual peak in their 20s, while women hit theirs closer to 40. It’s more accurate to say that sexual desire is fluid and prone to fluctuation throughout your lifespan (but don’t let that get in the way of your hot MILF role play). The changing nature of libido means that the likelihood of always being on the same page as your partner, especially in a longer-term relationship, is not super high. But don’t despair: there are ways to address uneven levels of desire. 

Mismatched sex drives are probably the most common issue I see among couples in my coaching practice. I like to ask both partners to think about how many times a week or month they would ideally prefer to have sex, and compare it to how often they have recently been having (or not having) sex. Whether you want to have sex three times a day, three times a week, three times a month or three times a year, it’s all great and normal and good, as long as you’re happy! There is absolutely nothing wrong with being the lower desire partner or the higher desire partner, and often folks will have experience being both at different times in their lives. What causes conflict is when the amount of sex that one partner wants to be having is wildly different from what the other wants. (There is also no reason to compare yourself to what you think other couples are doing. If you and your partner are both happy with the amount of sex you’re having, pay no attention to what other folks might think is too much or too little. Don’t create problems where they don’t exist!) 

Sometimes a mismatch in sexual desire is the result of a drastic change in one partner’s libido. If the cause is something you can directly point to, like pregnancy, illness, grief or a high-stress work project, the best solution might be to simply acknowledge that it’s happening and that it’s temporary. There are going to be times in your life where sex might not be a priority, but if you communicate with your partner and find other ways to connect—sharing massages, cuddling, even just carving out time to talk—it will be easier to get back in the habit when things stabilize. If the change is drastic and unexplained, visit the doctor to make sure that something else isn’t going on. It can feel uncomfortable talking to a doctor about your sex life, but it’s possible that a small change, such as tweaking a prescription or experimenting with hormone replacement, could make a big difference. 

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