Mismatched sex drives

One of you wants sex three times a day, the other only wants it three times a month. How do you cope when your sex drives don't match up?

Two women sit in bed. One woman brushes the other woman's hair and touches her arm.

You don't need to panic if your partner has a different sex drive to you.

Some people fret when their loved one doesn’t want to have sex as often as they do, but it’s important not to panic, and look through the possible explanations.

Are you being realistic about how often you should have sex?

If you’re beyond the first flush of passion that heralds the start of a new relationship, it’s common to find that you settle into a pattern where you have sex less frequently. This is fine, because the quality of lovemaking is much more important than the quantity. You know each other’s bodies better, and are more relaxed with one another, which is far more important than putting notches on the bedpost. However, if you’ve just got stuck in a rut, you could both try making a bit more of an effort.

Is it because they’ve stopped fancying me?

Stop rigid thinking. Do not automatically assume that they don’t fancy you any more, or want to leave you, as long as they are still being affectionate and have not changed in their other behaviour towards you. It is not necessarily a reflection on your prowess as a lover, or your all-round attractiveness. There is no set number of times per week that every couple should be having sex, everyone is different. It’s quite normal for a person to feel super-horny one month, and less interested the next. Also remember that it is sometimes the person with the higher sex drive who has the problem.

Is your partner alright?

Rather than bitch about the lack of action, show your significant other some care and concern. Are they tired, stressed out by work, feeling down, or taking medication? All these things can seriously affect their sex drive, and you should support them. Pressurising them for sheet action will only make you look selfish, and make them feel even worse. Problems within the relationship can often lead to an angry, neglected or hurt partner withholding sex, whether it’s consciously or subconsciously.

How to cope with mismatched sex drives

Try not to stress out about the situation, it could be something temporary. Talk it through gently and calmly with your partner, without making threats or accusations, and you may find that there’s a simple reason for any recent changes. If that’s the case, work it through together, and be patient. You can always masturbate to relieve the sexual tension; it’s legal, it’s good for you, and you definitely won’t go blind.

If things don’t get better

Depending upon the cause of the change, it could be time to go for relationship counselling, psychosexual therapy, or a medical check-up. If your other half continues to refuse to discuss the matter, constantly behaves coldly towards you, or won’t get help for physical or psychosexual problems, then the outlook isn’t good.

Next Steps

  • Brook provides free sexual health and wellbeing services for young people in the UK. Brook's services include local clinics and online digital sex and relationships tool.
  • Do you want to understand your relationship better? Love Smart helps you work it all out.
  • Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.
  • Need help but confused where to go locally? Download our StepFinder iPhone app to find local support services quickly.

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Updated on 29-Sep-2015