In the relationships, many couples encounter challenges in their sexual relationship. One common hurdle that often occurs is the issue of differing libidos. It can feel like a daunting problem, but like any other relationship obstacle, it's entirely possible to overcome it with patience, communication, and understanding.
Recognizing the Dilemma
Different libidos can create friction in a relationship. One partner may have a higher sex drive, while the other may find themselves less interested in sexual intimacy. This difference can lead to feelings of rejection, frustration, or even inadequacy. While differencing libidos is a common occurrence in relationships and human sexuality, the commonality of it doesn’t necessarily minimize the uncomfortable feelings and loss of hope.
Open and Honest Communication
Just as in any relationship challenge, communication is the key to understanding and resolution. Before you have a conversation with your partner, start by spending some time reflecting on your thoughts and feelings so you are prepared to share. A good place to start is by doing some thought analysis. Use a journal, a piece of paper, or a note application and consider the following questions:
How do you perceive the differing libidos affect your relationship? Write about your own experience and when you are done, consider the same question from your partners perspective. Remember, though you may feel frustrated or hurt, try to use empathy in your perspective taking.
What are your desires and expectations regarding sexual intimacy in your relationship?
Are there any specific triggers or reasons for changes in libido that you are aware of? Do you have a part in this?
Why is sex important to you? What values do you have that align with sex? Why is important to your relationship? (These questions are for self-exploration, not judgement).
What do you need to feel loved and desired outside of sex (i.e., date nights, flirting, compliments, hugs)?
What activities or non-sexual forms of intimacy make you feel closest to your partner?
What would feel like a good middle ground? What do you feel would be different if the middle ground was met?
If you and your partner have already broached the topic of different libidos, then it may be helpful to share the questions with them so you can answer them separately before coming together to discuss them. If you have not had the discussion with your partner, use the prompts above to explore your thoughts and feelings so that you may be more aware and clear in your discussion with your partner.
When discussing this topic with your partner, remember to have an open and non-judgmental conversation. Avoid placing blame or making assumptions. Instead, focus on creating a safe space for both of you to express your feelings and concerns.
Finding Middle Ground
Navigating different libidos doesn't necessarily mean sacrificing intimacy. It's crucial to find common ground and explore ways to maintain a fulfilling connection without pressuring either partner. Here are some strategies:
Quality Over Quantity: Shift the focus from frequency to the quality of sex. Make each encounter special and memorable.
Scheduling Sex: While it may sound less romantic, scheduling sex and intimate moments can remove the pressure and provide anticipation. Many couples find drastic improvement in their sexual relationship when they prioritize sex by scheduling it, and the sexual tension that builds is a plus.
Prioritize Emotional Connection: Emotional intimacy can often be as satisfying as physical intimacy. Prioritize spending quality time together, having meaningful conversations, and showing affection through non-sexual touch.
Initiate Sexual Currency: It’s important that sexual intimacy happens outside of intercourse. Try flirting, complimenting, or playfully touching your partner day to day.
Experiment and Explore: Be open to trying new things in the bedroom that might ignite both partners' interests.
Seeking Professional Help
Navigating differences in libidos is challenging, and the guidance of a therapist who specializes in sexual issues can be helpful. A therapist can help you and your partner explore deeper underlying issues, develop effective communication strategies, and provide guidance on enhancing your sexual connection.
Remember, every relationship is unique, and there's no one-size-fits-all solution. What's most important is that you and your partner work together to find a balance that allows both of you to feel loved, desired, and fulfilled in your relationship. By understanding each other's needs and desires and seeking solutions together, you can keep the your relationship thriving. If you'd like to learn more about therapy for this concern, you can reach out and schedule a free consultation.