What Can Couples Do When Their Sex Drives Don’t Match?

Couple with low sexual desire

June 29, 2021

Couple with low sexual desireHow often do you and your partner have sex?

A couple’s sex life can be an important indicator of how healthy their relationship is. So if you or your partner are struggling with low desire or libido, it could be stemming from unrelated factors that you don’t even know about.

Keep reading our helpful guide on how you can strengthen your sexual desire in your long-term relationship.

Understanding Sexual Desire

Sexual desire is a lot more complex than just being attracted to your partner. There are three types of sexual desire that influence your sex life. Understanding the different types of desire and which ones you and your partner  is have in any given moment is important to your long-term relationship.

Spontaneous Sexual Desire

Spontaneous sexual desire is exactly what it sounds like; you’re minding your business and a thought pops into your head that turns you on. If this doesn’t sound familiar to you, that’s okay. This is because spontaneous sexual desire only occurs in 75% of men and 15% of women.

That means that 25% of men and 85% of women don’t get turned on without some type of stimulation. For many couples, one person will initiate sex most of the time. Then they’ll worry that their partner isn’t interested in them anymore. Typically, it’s just because their partner doesn’t experience spontaneous sexual desire.

Responsive Sexual Desire

Responsive sexual desire is when you’re turned on in response to some sort of stimulation. If you’re not in the mood but your partner kisses you and turns you on, that’s responsive sexual desire. People who get responsive sexual desire typically rely on their partner to initiate anything sexual.

The great thing about responsive desire, is that there are many ways to trigger it.

Next, let’s consider what the majority of people have: contextual sexual desire.

Contextual Sexual Desire

Contextual sexual desire is when your libido is affected by the other circumstances in your life. Some examples of contexts that might turn you off include:

  • if there’s someone in the next room who might hear you
  • if you’re bloated from eating a greasy dinner
  • you’re overly stressed about something and can’t find the time to relax.

The three types of sexual desire are discussed in much more depth in Emily Nagoski’s book, Come As You Are. If you’re interested in reading this, you can purchase the book from the author’s favorite bookstore here.

How To Solve the Problem

Sex is one of the main reasons why couples fight, so when you and your partner don’t have sexual compatibility it can cause a lot of added issues and stress to your relationship. Fortunately, there are ways to help improve and strengthen your sexual desire.

Work On Your Communication

As with any aspect of a relationship, communication is very important when dealing with sexual compatibility. Now that you’ve learned about the three types of sexual desire, you can try to figure out which category you and your partner fall into. Try talking to your significant other to see which category they would put themselves into. Then you know that you’re both on the same page.

Working on communication with your partner can help strengthen your relationship in other ways too. Couples who are in unhealthy relationships are unlikely to have a healthy sex life. If you’re struggling in both of these areas, the next best step is couples therapy.

Try Something New in the Bedroom

Trying something new in the bedroom is probably the most exciting thing on this list. While it can be fun it isn’t always effective at fixing things long-term, but it’s certainly worth a try.

Some people find that sex starts to get boring in long-term relationships, and that’s okay. Once you’ve spent a long time with someone, their naked presence doesn’t become as arousing. So, you might need to spice things up a little.

Some of the most popular things that couples will try to introduce are roleplay, the use of toys, and even bondage. If you’re looking for some more specific ways of spicing up your sex life, you can read our article.

Go to Couples Therapy or Sex Therapy

Couples therapy too often has a negative sound to it, but it’s actually a great idea for anyone in a serious relationship. Couples therapy is a neutral zone where both partners can open up and express their thoughts, with a therapist there to help mediate. Read our blog to get a better general idea as to how couples therapy works.

While couples therapy can improve your relationship which will lead to a healthier sex life, therapists can also focus more on you and your partner’s sexual compatibility and how to fix it. This is the best option for couples who are struggling to communicate and want to make things work.

Sex therapy is similar to couples therapy but it is specifically focused on your sex life, rather than your overall relationship. Sex therapy is also great for people who are struggling with their sexuality or who have suffered sexual trauma in the past.

If you have a healthy long-term relationship but you or your partner are struggling with sex-related things, then sex therapy is the better option for you.

Learn More About Our Services

While there are a few other options that can help you and your significant other strengthen your sexual desire, couples therapy, and sex therapy are the most effective methods. It doesn’t hurt to learn more about the services that we offer and talk about them with your partner.

Reach out to us on our website and see if we seem like a good fit for you and your loved one.


Like this article? Try one of these next!

The Stages of Sexual Trauma: Everything You Need to Know

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