What To Do When You & Your Partner Have Two Very Different Sex Drives

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle
Share

When it comes to getting some action, what are you to do if you or your partner doesn’t want as much sex as the other? This is the case in many relationships. One person wants more sex than the other. It’s a touchy subject. Being naked is a vulnerable position to be in.

My partner has a lower sex drive than I do. It resulted in a lot of tension in our relationship in the early days of our dating. When I wanted more action, he got defensive. He was embarrassed that he had a lower sex drive and instead of communicating that to me, would get annoyed. We have figured out the kinks, but it took a lot of trial and error.

I know I am nowhere near alone in this. There is a seemingly never ending pile of letters from women who have this problem in my inbox. They have a super high sex drive and aren’t really sure what to do about it. They feel ashamed for wanting more sex than their partner because we’ve been conditioned to believe the dude is supposed to want more sex. Women with high sex drives feel ashamed, and women with low sex drives feel ashamed. It’s all a mess.

These differences in sex drive are obviously not relegated exclusively to heterosexual couples. A difference in sex drive between couples is a universal issue that all couples can relate to.

So, this begs the question, how the hell are we supposed to deal with this dilemma?

Sex Drive Does Not Depend On Gender

While some studies have found that men, by and large, score higher in terms of libido, woman's sexuality has been documented as much more fluid and "attuned to relationship quality."

That old BS myth about men being the feral sex-wonton creatures of the deep is not just a load of crap, but it fails to recognize that women are sexual creatures too. “Men’s and women’s sex drives are relatively equal, and sex drive varies more within the sexes than between them,"  Lorrae Bradbury, a sexpert, speaker, and founder of Slutty Girl Problems, tells Bustle. "Yet, it’s commonly thought that men have higher sex drives than women, because it’s more socially acceptable for men to act on their desires, while women are expected to be passive. If if it were acceptable for both sexes to express their sexuality, our sex drives would appear more equal.”

"The lower sex drive partner may feel guilty, like they’re being viewed as a sex object, or feel pressure to go beyond their own desires to please their partner."

Society basically says to women, “You can’t like sex, you whore.” It’s a pretty tragic way to look at sex drive. It’s not your fault that you feel badly about wanting some action all the time. You were raised in a culture that has no interest in your owning your body. Likewise, men are told if they don’t want sex they aren’t men. Their very identity is engrained in this idea of being a sex maniac. Obviously this is going to cause some interpersonal drama in your relationship. When one person wants to get it and one person doesn’t, everyone feels sad in one way or other.

“The lower sex drive partner may feel guilty, like they’re being viewed as a sex object, or feel pressure to go beyond their own desires to please their partner,” Bradbury says. “The higher sex drive partner may feel unsatisfied, or like their partner is not attracted to them, that they’re not satisfying their partner, or that something is wrong with the relationship.”

Everything Revolves Around Communication

Talking about things can be tedious and exhausting, but it’s the only way to get everything out in the open. If your partner is worth your time, they are going to want to get this resolved or find some way to bridge the gap.

“Openly bring up your desires without placing blame on your partner," Bradbury says. "Let your partner know that you notice you have different sex drives, but that it’s not their fault and that there’s nothing wrong with them. You’re simply wired differently, and want to work together to find a difference.” It’s not about accusing anyone or making them feel bad. It’s about finding a balance between two partners and juggling your needs.

Sex Goes Beyond Just Straight Up Penetration

If your partner is really not having full on sex (or you’re not), figure out what you can do to make both of you comfortable. “You can ask your partner what they like, what’s working for them, and what’s not working for them, so you can figure out what to do more of," Bradbury says. "Tell your partner why you enjoy sex with them beyond just the physical sensations — maybe it makes you feel connected and close, or is a way to express your love. Let them know that the connection with them is important to you, rather than just the physical release.”

"The partner with the higher sex drive can explore other aspects of sex that their partner enjoys, like cuddling, fondling, and deep kissing, to help their partner get more turned on."

Another good option? Mutual masturbation or involved masturbation. If you have a higher sex drive than your partner, ask them to watch you masturbate. Perhaps they can stimulate your nipples or kiss your neck. They don’t have to have sex with you you to make you feel like they are emotionally and intimately connecting with you. A lot of the time, it’s just about having your partner there and a part of the experience in any form. “The partner with the higher sex drive can explore other aspects of sex that their partner enjoys, like cuddling, fondling, and deep kissing, to help their partner get more turned on," Bradbury says.

Whether you’re in a relationship and have the higher or lower sex drive, showing up for your partner is important. Involving yourself in a mutually satisfying routine can really help bring you closer. Instead of keeping things to yourself and suffering in silence, try out different exercises to close the gap. Everyone has a right to orgasms!