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Mismatched sex drives and what you can do about it

By Lea Rose Emery

If you find yourself asking, “Is my sex drive normal?” there’s a good chance that you and your partner are just on different pages.

There’s no need to panic.

Firstly, because you need to remember that there’s no such thing as a ‘normal’ sex drive. None. Your sex drive is totally OK, whether you feel completely asexual or want to go at it five times a day.

You gotta do you and you should never feel bad about it. 

Secondly, though it can be difficult having mismatched sex drives, it’s not the end of the world— really. And I know it can feel weird, especially if you’re a woman in a hetero relationship with a high sex drive. I’ve totally been in the position when I’ve wanted sex far more than my boyfriend at the time did. It can make you feel like there’s something wrong with you because the media always portrays women as being less interested in sex. But that’s total BS. If you have a higher (or lower) drive than your partner, there’s nothing wrong with you. You just need to figure out how to meet in the middle. And it can totally be done.

Here’s what you need to do if you and your partner just aren’t lining up. 

Talk It Out 

OK, so you need to direct it head-on. Not having enough sex isn’t something we like to talk about, so we can avoid the whole thing— but then it gets worse and worse until you’re in a real drought.

So bring it up. You need to talk about how it makes you feel if your partner wants far less sex than you do— undesirable, unloved, embarrassed— or if they want more sex than you do— you might feel stressed, pressured, anxious. Be specific and explain that it’s about more than just the sex... because it always is. 

Talking about it directly makes you see the impact that the mismatch is actually having on both of you, rather than pretending everything is fine. We don’t like to see that, we like to act as though it’s not a problem, so you need to be really direct.  It’ll make you more likely to want to compromise. 

Find A Realistic Compromise 

Look, if your partner is feeling overloaded at work and has no sex drive and you want to have sex every day, that’s just not realistic right now. And that’s totally OK. You need to find a realistic compromise.

One when where your sex drives meet in the middle— but also where you both feel less hurt and vulnerable about the situation. 

For example, if the person with the lower sex drive makes an effort to initiate sex occasionally, that will make the person with the higher sex drive feel more desirable and less like they’re pestering. If part of a low sex drive comes from stress and anxiety, you may need to take a break from your life and go away for the weekend to get your sex life back on track. Be realistic about what will work for you. 

Explore New Ways To Get In The Mood 

If you’re lucky, it may not actually be a case of mismatched sex drives so much as one of you has gotten into a rut. And ruts can be really easy to deal with because often it just takes something new and different to break out of one.

There are toys out there specifically to help get you in the mood. A new toy, some role play, even actually embarking on a sexy date night are all options for giving you a little boost out of a sex rut.

Just try something that you’ve never tried before to give yourself a little jolt out of your comfort zone. It’s easier than you think. And once you get out of a rut, you can have some positive sexual momentum that can just keep going. 

Embrace Masturbation 

Just go for it, girl. Or let them go for it. We need to stop looking at masturbation as a sign of a relationship meltdown. If you’re secretive and weird about it, then it becomes something to be secretive and weird about. But instead, if you and your partner have been honest about the fact that one of you has a higher sex drive, then you need to be open to the idea of that person going solo occasionally (or more than occasionally) to make up the difference. There’s nothing wrong with that— and it helps your relationship run more smoothly. 

Having mismatched sex drives can be tricky. Sometimes it’s just a rut that you can snap out of, but sometimes you have to come up with more long-term solutions.

Don’t panic.

Sex is such an important part of a relationship and it’s not something that you should have to sacrifice— but in most cases, there will be room for compromise. It’s sometimes awkward to talk about, it can be uncomfortable, and you may not like working through it, but it’s far too important not to. Because for so many people, sex is an important source of intimacy and bonding in a relationship. So don’t let that slide. 

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