Is there a 1000-pound gorilla in your bedroom? There might be, if you and your partner can’t agree on sex. As a life coach, I’m familiar with many of the ways couples can differ in their sexual needs. One of the biggest mismatches can be your sex drive.
We’ve all had times when we don’t feel up for sex, e.g., you’re tired and grouchy from a long day at the office, you’ve got heartburn from that massive plate of tacos at dinner, or maybe you really do have that infamous headache. But what happens when one libido is always skyrocketing, while the other can’t even get off the launch pad? Guess what, Houston, we have a problem and ignoring it won’t make it any better.
Dealing with Out-Of-Balance Libidos
The good news is you’re not alone. In fact, some estimates suggest that one in every three couples deal with mismatched sexual desire. If you’re thinking that your libidos used to seem a lot more compatible, you’re likely right. Early in a relationship, you’re so caught up in the excitement of a new sexual partner that all that novelty—and those raging hormones—hides your natural sex drives. But once things settle down, that mask falls away, and your normal behavior returns.
Is this your life? Is it the case that one of you often isn’t in the mood, and the other is left feeling not just unsatisfied, but rejected and maybe even resentful? The emotions may be even deeper if the guy is the one with the lower libido. After all, most of us have bought into the stereotype that men are insatiable. If he isn’t, his girlfriend or wife may start thinking something is wrong with them. And when you don’t address this mismatch pretty quickly, those hurt feelings can bourgeon into blame, anger, and even infidelity.
That’s why the first step I recommend to couples is to actually discuss your sex drives. If you’ve got less desire, clarify for your partner why you aren’t hankering for sex. Are you suddenly unemployed, worried about finances, or dealing with other sources of stress? And don’t forget menopause. That wreaks havoc on a woman’s sex drive. All of those things can wreck to your libido and are understandable if explained openly.
If you’re the friskier person, imagine yourself in your partner’s life. Sex drives aren’t set in stone. As life burdens us with work changes, illness, aging, and even parenthood, our libidos can shrink or grow right along with the changes. You may be frantically horny now, but someday in the future, you’ll probably be the one wrestling with little interest in sex. Do your best to treat your partner with the same kindness and respect for their feelings that you would expect.
There are some other ways to get your libidos into alignment and here are a few to get your mind moving:
• Go solo
If you’ve got a stronger libido than your partner, use masturbation as a tool to help equalize—and satisfy—sexual desire. It’s perfectly fine to take matters into your own hands, so to speak.
• Redefine sex
Intercourse doesn’t have to be your only option. Take the pressure off by focusing on fun, flirty activities that don’t involve penetration or even orgasm, such as kissing, hugging, and cuddling.
When it comes down to it, you’ve got to address your different sex drives as a couple. If you’re dealing with a lower libido, you can mindfully make a choice for sex every now and again as a way to please your partner.
Maybe you’re not in the mood at first, but you if you give yourself and your partner a chance, you just might find that your desire rises as you get into it.
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Frank Hopkins is a life coach in Baton Rouge who is certified as a Professional Coach (CPC) by the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC). Frank has helped numerous people to go through emotional change in a way that is positively transformative.