No doubt, being in a relationship where there are mismatched libidos is tricky for everyone involved. But being the higher-desire partner comes with its own unique set of frustrations.
That’s why we put together a list of things you can do to navigate this dynamic with care, compassion, and confidence if you have a higher sex drive than your partner does.
1. Say no to shame
First, start by acknowledging that it is normal to want sex! In our sex-negative world, it’s common for people who desire sex frequently (or more than their partner does) to be made to feel like outliers. Women in particular are often made to feel deviant for desiring sex.
But desiring touch is normal. And you are completely normal for desiring sexual touch.
If you find yourself feeling guilty about or annoyed by your own libido, try repeating some of the below affirmations to yourself:
- I deserve the kind of sex I am craving.
- I am worthy of pleasure.
- My capacity for pleasure is a gift.
- The way I express my sexuality is perfect.
The only time desiring sex is unhealthy is if that desire is if it is actively interfering with the other parts of your life. If, for example, you’re so horny that you’re spending time when you’re supposed to be working, masturbating, something is up. In this instance a sex therapist can be helpful.
2. Understand what is and is not reasonable
It needs to be said: You can never force your partner to have sex with you ever. Consent is imperative in all types of sexual dynamics.
It is, however, reasonable for you and your partner to talk about how you can each get your needs met within your relationship. And that stands for all kinds of needs: intellectual, mental, emotional, spiritual, and (yes!) sexual.
3. Unpack W-H-Y you like having sex
Your knee-jerk reaction to that subheading may be to roll your eyes and say, “Because it feels good!” But take a moment to dig a little deeper than that.
Why, exactly, does it feel good? Does it feel good because of the stress-relief perks of orgasm? Does it feel good because it’s one of the few times when you and your partner connect intimately? Does it feel good because it’s the only time you’re not checking technology?
Spend some time noodling on or journaling about this topic. The answers to these questions will give you insight on all the reasons you desire sex. Having this intel gives you the tools you need to find alternative ways to get your needs met.
If, for example, you crave partnered sex just for the orgasm, your solution may be to masturbate more. But if you crave sex because it functions as a doorway to intimacy, you and your partner might work together to find other ways to access intimacy (dinner dates, shared baths, long walks, etc).
4. Talk to your partner
You aren’t going to be able to navigate this on your own — this is something that is going to require the work, intention, and care from both partners.
When you bring up the topic, your goal is to be as compassionate as possible. This is a time for you to explain your unmet needs, but it’s also a time for you to actively listen as your partner tries to explain why they’ve been less interested in sex and how that makes them feel.
They might, for example, be dealing with a stressful situation at work that they haven’t fully clued you in on. Or maybe they’ve been really feeling unsexy the last few weeks.
Regardless, do your best to speak and listen with love and care. Remember: This is a person you love who you want to make love to more often.
5. Then, keep talking to them
This isn’t going to be a one and done conversation. Your differing desires is something you’ll likely have to talk about many times.
Next time you talk, consider doing a Q&A session about your sexual needs.
Here are some questions you might consider asking one another:
- On a scale of one to ten, how high would you rate your sex drive?
- How important to you is sex in a relationship?
- In your dream world, how often would we be having sex?
- When you’re not in the mood for sex, is there anything that gets you in the mood?
If your back itched when your partner wasn’t around to scratch it, you’d scratch it yourself, right? Well, the same should be true for a sexual itch.
A regular masturbation practice can help you target that itch before it becomes unbearable. Some ways to keep your solo sex life exciting and inviting include watching porn, reading erotica, trying new toys, or even masturbating in front of a mirror. One thing you might try is masturbating in front of your partner. This allows your partner to enjoy your sexual presence, without putting pressure on them to participate.
7. Explore non-penetrative types of touch
Sex isn’t the only form of touch available to you.
Our culture has conflated sex with intercourse, but a more accurate definition of sex is that it’s any meaningful act of pleasure.
To get a sense of what your partner considers a meaningful act of pleasure, ask them to take pen to paper and list as many as they can think of in 10 minutes. Share your own list with them, and you’ll both leave with a better-understanding of all the types of sexual intimacy at play.
8. Schedule intimacy
Scheduling sex might not sound all that sexy. Still, the idea of actively reserving time for connecting with your sensual and/or sexual sides, is a good one. That’s why we recommend reserving time in your calendars for connecting intimately.
Depending on your and your partner’s needs and wants during that particular time block, you might kiss, or give one another a massage, or simply update one another on your lives.
9. Consider your relationship
There are plenty of ways for you to inch closer towards your sexual needs, and to compromise with your partner for greater sexual fulfillment. But if that ends up not being possible, or if you find that your partner isn’t receptive to your needs, it might be a good idea to schedule a visit with a sex therapist to help mediate some of these conversations.
Reviewed by the Ovia Health Clinical Team