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Mismatched Libidos Within a Relationship


Differing sexual libidos is a common relationships problem, especially during long-term partnerships. However, with some effort and compromise, bridging the gap between your sexual desires can sometimes be achieved.

Be self aware

Before engaging in a conversation with your partner, it’s important to be aware of your own libido and how it may have changed over time. Sex drive is very fluid, going up and down throughout our lives due to changing circumstances. These fluctuations can depend on lifestyle factors like smoking, too much caffeine, stress, medication, changes in hormones, or general health.

It’s also important to ask yourself the hard questions. A low sex drive maybe related to some underlying relationship issues. Are you feeling attracted and loving towards to your partner? Are there any anger or mistrust issues that aren’t being discussed? Do you find yourself thinking about getting out of this relationship? There maybe issues far greater than mismatched libidos that needs to be addressed.

Take Responsibility of your libido

Your sex drive is your responsibility. Though you should never feel guilty or shameful about the amount of sex you want, it’s important to claim ownership over your libido. Don’t blame your sex drive, or lack of one, on your partner. Doing so will only make your partner defensive. In contrast, understand that if your partner has a lowered sexual libido, it’s probably nothing personal against you.

Have the Talk

Have a conversation outside the bedroom to discuss the imbalances in your sex life. Approach from a place of understanding with a goal of the conversation being to find a compromise that works for both of you. Understand if your partner feels sexually satisfied and if all of their needs are being met. Here are 5 things to explore if you are experiencing a mismatch in libidos. 


 Focus On Arousal

It is a common and harmful notion that desire should just occur spontaneously every time. While spontaneous sex may occur more frequently during the first few months of a relationship, long term partnerships need to put in the work to create arousal. Massages, taking a shower together, cooking a meal, and watching a sexy movie are all great ways to create responsive desire. This could also help broaden the range activities you both find sexual and make for some great foreplay.

Introduce Sex Toys

Numerous surveys and studies have shown that sex toys can enhance libido. This is down to the fact that many people, mainly those with vaginas, don’t reach orgasm easily via penetrative sex. Maybe you or your partner aren’t achieving the climax you’re looking to achieve during the sex, therefore causing interest to decline. Introducing a sex toy shouldn’t be viewed as competition. Sex toys will be able to bridge the gap between you and your partner, making everyone happy.

There are many great couples toys on the market that are made to enhance the sex you are already having.  Also ensure you’re using lubrication during sex to avoid any unnecessary pain or discomfort.



There may be situations when one partner is horny and another isn’t. Take the shame and embarrassment out of self pleasure by encouraging one another to masturbate during these times. Though it may not be the equivalent to partnered sex, it can provide sexual relief and avoid any resentment from building. Even if your partner is masturbating when you don’t feel sexual, you can still be part of the experience. Lying close to your partner, rubbing their thighs or nipples, or allowing them to view your naked body are all great ways to enhance your partner's experience.

Opening up

If you are in a monogamous partnership, consider opening up the relationship or exploring being ‘monogamish’. There are so many ways to explore an open relationship, from playing with a third person together to being polyamorous, and the whole spectrum in between. Communication is a vital part to opening up as you consider the restrictions and circumstances you’re comfortable with and can prevent you from growing apart as you explore. Some people prefer not knowing about their partner's explorations, while others want to know every detail. Some prefer to know the person, while others prefer it to be anonymous or with a professional sex worker. Some couples have set date nights while others reserve these rendezvous for business trips or work travel.

Ask yourself what you would be comfortable with and continuously revisit your feelings on the situation. I would suggest both ‘The Ethical Slut’ and ‘Designer Relationships’ as further reading about opening up your relationship.

 Be Realistic

Being realistic about the future of your relationship after all avenues of compromise have been explored is vital. Differences in sex drive can be overlooked in the short term, but can harmful to a partnership over time. Sometimes the sexual dynamic can become so tarnished, it’s impossible to rebuild. Studies have shown that sexual incompatibility is the top deal breaker in relationships. One third of people said they would leave their partner if their libidos didn’t match. Discuss the pros and cons of ending the relationship to help understand if this is the right direction for you to take.

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