A couple can have differences in their level of libido, expectations, and preferences, but in my opinion, that doesn’t mean they have sexual incompatibility. As a sex therapist, I have found that when there is interest, willingness, and connection between two people, a healthy sexual relationship among them is a matter of learning about the other, communicating needs, working together on discovering what’s missing, being creative in designing their “compatibility.” Working together in developing erotic menus (which are as open as flexible as they need to be) almost invariably ignite their sexual desire and improve their sexual life.
The first step is to keep in mind that neither partner is wrong for how frequent or infrequent they desire sex. Placing an expectation in relationships that because two people stimulate each other mentally and emotionally that they also are ‘supposed’ to want the same things sexually can negatively impact the wellness of the relationship. Seek a couple’s counselor who specializes in sexuality to aid in identifying and revising cognitive distortions including– “My partner ‘must’ want sex every time I do or I am not attractive enough.” A professional is a great resource to help couples come to a compromise on what a happy and healthy sex life looks like for their UNIQUE relationship. Don’t be afraid to explore your sexuality together so you can create your own love language. A little direction goes a long way, so keep in mind the benefits of positive reinforcement when your partner is pleasing you in a way you want to encourage for the future. A satisfying sex life most greatly begins and ends with compromise. This may include one partner having sex even when they are not in the mood or the other using masturbation as means of increasing their sexual hunger. Engaging in a new sexual activity together may spark that previously experienced pass, or some simple distance may also do the trick.
RACHEL HERCMAN, LCSW
‘Love conquers all’ sounds sweet and simple, but the truth is that even couples who love each other very much can struggle with having a vibrant sex life. In the beginning, it’s new and novel, but sex in a long-term relationship is a different ballgame. Sex drive is influenced by medical, psychological, emotional, and interpersonal factors, so it’s helpful to get a comprehensive evaluation to rule out possible causes and explore treatment options.
CARRIE WHITTAKER, LMHC, LPC, PhD(abd)
Communication is everything. Sex is a difficult subject for many couples to talk about. Feeling sexually inadequate can create a deep sense of insecurity and shame, both personally and in the relationship. Couples must communicate openly about what sex means to each partner and resolve their fears of what it means to be sexually out of sync. Recognize that each relationship holds different needs for intimacy and there is no “norm.” Be open about insecurities and build each other up instead of focusing on what isn’t working.
SOPHIE KAY, M.A., Ed.M.
Let’s face it. You and your partner may not always match up in the sex department, however, there are ways to address the imbalance without thinking about abandoning ship. Here’s how:
- Talk about it. Asking for sexual needs and desires to get met is more effective than complaining about the sexual aspect of your relationship.
- Spend time on it. Carve out time each week to make a concerted effort to spend quality time with your partner.
- If you and your partner’s libidos don’t always sync up, then how to cope with different libidos? Work, work, work on itpromise is imperative in order to maintain a healthy relationship. There are intimacy exercises that you can do that won’t necessarily lead to sexual intercourse but can be satisfying for mismatched sex drives.