The problem with mismatched libidos: how to talk about it
Learning how to improve sex in a marriage is tough. When you’ve been in a relationship for so long, the sex will inevitably get boring. And this is normal.
For something so basic and natural, sex can be a complicated business.
If having sex with your spouse were easy, then we wouldn’t have data proving that sexual dissatisfaction is a prominent cause of marital unhappiness and divorce.
Digging deeper, research shows the number one sex-related complaint among spouses is mismatched sex drives.
Out of sync libidos is not a problem of having the “right” amount of sex, because in reality, there is no right amount. It’s a problem hinged on a difference in desire. One partner needs significantly more sex than the other can give.
If unaddressed, incompatible libidos can lead to infidelity and separation.
So what can be done when your sex drives aren’t in harmony?
Unfortunately, there is no cookie-cutter answer for this issue. Sexuality is an endlessly complex and deeply personal component of any relationship. There is no one-size-fits-all prescription. Finding sexual balance will take time, a lot of communication, and possibly, a trip to a medical professional.
Before you involve a doctor, make sure you have a good grasp on the problem. Below are crucial questions you need to ask and answer with your partner. You will be light-years closer to finding a solution to this problem once you start this conversation.
What are the stakes?
Be frank with your partner—how is the out-of-synch sex life affecting you, and what will happen if it goes unaddressed?
Fundamentally, you and your spouse are on opposite ends of the issue. You can’t expect your partner to understand the frustrations of your perpetually low or high libido when all they’re experiencing the exact opposite.
To better empathize with each other, you need to honestly communicate your frustrations.
This could lead to a tough discussion about infidelity, as the high-functioning libido. If you have so little sex that you are increasingly tempted by other people, then your partner deserves to know.
Be aware: a common misnomer is that high-libido spouses suffer more in this arrangement. The discussion can easily center on the high-libido’s unsatisfied needs.
Low-libido partners suffer, too. They may be pressured by their high-libido partner into having unpleasant, unwanted sex which can be a painful and exhausting experience, both physically and mentally.
When you start communicating your concerns, make sure to keep the discussion safe and supportive. Avoid issuing threats and doling out criticism. Try sticking to I-statements like, “I feel ____ when ____ because____.”
This conversation will clarify the significance of the problem and help you prioritize your efforts to fix it.
What kind of sex do you need?
Lovemaking comes in many different flavors, and satisfies a variety of ever-changing needs.
We have sex for a multitude of reasons. A study of 400 people revealed 237 unique reasons why they had sex.
Believing sex is all about your satisfying physical needs is a generic explanation for a complicated desire.
Couples should be in-touch with their sexual satisfaction. Equipped with this information, you will better understand why a high-libido partner needs sex more often and what triggers arousal.
We use marital sex to fulfill physical or psychological needs like…
- Feeling accepted and loved
- Building intimacy
- Relieving stress
- Controlling or dominating others
- Satisfying a compulsive behavior
- Pleasing others
- Dealing with grief
- Satisfying hormonal desires
Both partners should tap into their sexual needs and communicate them. Focus on how sex makes you feel, what kind of sex you want to have and any patterns linking your certain circumstances to your arousal. Part of the problem could be each partner needs a different kind of sexual satisfaction than they are receiving.
As a high-libido, some of your wants can be satisfied through masturbation, non-sexual intimacy and other techniques. Try to identify when you can satisfy those needs solo, and when to involve your partner. This will help restore a feeling of balance while keeping you both happy.
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For low-libidos—Why don’t I want sex as much?
Desire can be a delicate thing. If one aspect of your body, mind or environment is out of alignment, then your sex drive can spiral downward without warning.
On the other hand, your sexual desire may not be low at all. You may be experiencing your normal level of desire, but it seems low in comparison to your partner’s robust libido.
You should make this distinction right away. Have you personally experienced a decrease in your libido? Or does it simply appear low in contrast to your spouse’s active libido? Knowing which camp you fall into is important. Don’t assume you libido is ‘broken’ and begin looking for problems that may not exist.
If you haven’t noticed any changes in your desire but are still struggling to keep up with your partner, then you should focus on stimulating your already normal sex drive.
Ways to boost a healthy sex drive include…
- Adopting a healthier diet and increasing physical activity. These are two of the most effective strategies reenergize your desire, according to experts. Physical activity increases circulation and keeps your body—including you reproductive parts—working to their full potential. Also, consider eating more foods that increase testosterone/estrogen production, and eliminating foods that can decrease hormone production.
- Taking more naps. Not enough sleep has been linked to lower sex drives in both men and women. Make sure you are well-rested and have the energy to make love.
- Sharing an adrenaline rush. New research shows a positive relationship between adrenaline and libido. Try going on roller coaster ride, watching a scary movie or doing another activity that leaves your heart racing.
- Spending more time on foreplay. For women especially, foreplay is very important. On average, women need up to 20 to 30 minutes before they can reach an orgasm, research shows. Spend more time transitioning into sex to make sure the lower-libido can get in the mood.
If you have, however, noticed a decrease in your libido, it likely stems from changes in your body, environment or mind. Every person is unique, so there are endless possible causes.
Start by investigating some of these libido killers. Do any of them apply to you?
- New medications—especially for depression and mood disorders— can suppress your sex drive. If your decrease in desire began about the same time you started medicating, then it is definitely worth looking into.
- Stress is an elusive libido killer, but a powerful one. You may not feel high-strung, but you could still be stressed enough that it affects your libido. A heavy workload, family drama, social anxiety or any number of things can produce stress hormones.
- Body image insecurities can leave you feeling ashamed and unworthy of sex. Stretch marks, wrinkles, weight gain, grey hairs—insecurity grows from many places. If you don’t find yourself loveable or sexy, then your love light will quickly burn out.
- Underlying relationship problems are one of the most common sex drive suppressants. Are you harboring any resentment towards your spouse? Do you feel insecure in your relationship? Is your communication lacking? This is a fast track to a sexless marriage.
- Medical problems that go unaddressed can affect libido. Everything from thyroid problems to diabetes can significantly lower your sex drive.
That just about does it for this article. Again, if you want to learn some more sure fire ways to fix your marriage, just watch this free video presentation here on this website.