If you're someone who has a really high sex drive or a really low sex drive, it probably hasn't been an easy ride. As someone who has a high one, I know that it can be really difficult to find someone on the same page as you. You can end up with people who make you feel embarrassed, self-conscious and who can make you wonder, on the most basic level "Is my sex drive normal?"
Try not to panic. "A healthy sex drive is different for each person," Amy Levine, sex coach and founder of Ignite Your Pleasure, tells Bustle. "Overall, it's when we feel balanced in our desire (it feels good to us, as opposed to something being off whether too high or low) and sexually fulfilled whether it's alone or with a partner."
So it's more about what feels right for you. But even if you know what feels right for you, it's easy to feel like you've done something wrong if your sex drive is out of sync with how the media tells you it should be or what your partner wants. It's way too easy to feel shameful about sex, and it's not OK.
So here are seven things to know about sex drives, because what's right for you is all that should matter. But first, check out the latest episode of Bustle's Sex and Relationships podcast, I Want It That Way:
1. Again: There Is No Normal
I'm going to say it again. Because too many people feel crappy about wanting sex often or what they feel like is not enough. There just isn't a "normal." My friends and I have hugely varying sex drives. Mine has always been really high. Like, distractingly high. Like I'm probably thinking about it right now. But some of my friends are happy only have sex a few times a month. No matter where you fall, remember it's not weird — you're always in good company.
2. It Has NOTHING To Do With Gender
Like I said, women with a high sex drive are really at a disadvantage, because you're made to feel unnatural or like you're a "nympho" for having a high sex drive. But for men with a low sex drive, there's a similar problem. They're made to feel they're not really a man, or something's broken. It comes down to the person and everyone's different. Leave gender out of it.
3. It Can Change
Your sex drive won't always be the same. Some fluctuations are normal parts of your cycle— is anyone else so horny they can't see right before your period? But things like stress, medication, mood, body image, and a million other things can affect your sex drive. So don't get freaked out if it's not at it's usual level, there's probably a good explanation
4. You May Be Able To Meet In The Middle
If you and your partner don't have matching sex drives, it's not normally the end of the world. As long as you're open about your needs and are willing to hear your partner out about their sex drive, there will probably be somewhere in the middle that makes you both happy. "It's important to understand what's causing the mismatch," Levine says. "Desire can be affected by medication, stress, lack of sleep, low body image or self esteem, hormonal imbalances and more. Sometimes it's the chemistry two people have or don't have together and this can be more difficult to "fix." Once you can understand and adjust the cause, it's helpful to compromise in a way that is comfortable and mutual. Often taking intercourse out of the equation takes pressure off the low or no desire partner — when you do this and learn to explore with touch in a sensuous way it can be a game-changer."
5. But It Should Be Compromise, Not Sacrifice
If you can't find a compromise, I think it's completely appropriate not to want to be with someone who has a completely different sex drive than you do. It shouldn't be you always feeling unfulfilled and undesired or the one who's constantly feeling guilty and having sex when you're not in the mood.
6. Try Not To Take It Personally If Your Sex Drives Don't Match
I've definitely been the person with a higher sex drive in a relationship and the most difficult part was to not take it personally. When I wanted to have sex and he didn't, I felt unattractive, vulnerable, and often just totally irrational. I couldn't accept that it was just how he was built — but that was my bad. I was being immature. You have to remember that it has doesn't have to do with how attracted they are to you.
7. Communication Is Key
Whether you feel like your partner is making you uncomfortable about your sex drive, you feel like something is lacking in your relationship, or you just can sense a sex-shaped elephant in the corner of the room, you need to say something. It can be really destructive to a relationship— and your sex life— if you just let the awkwardness build. Talk it out, because it gets weird. It's the best thing you can do for you and for your relationship.
Images: Andrew Zaeh/Bustle; Giphy (7)