What is libido?
Libido is a person’s overall sexual drive or desire for sexual activity. It is an important part of overall well-being and can have an impact on relationships, self-esteem, and quality of life.
Every person has a different relationship with sexual desire and there is no objectively correct level! Depending on their physical and mental health, and daily stresses, interest in sex can fluctuate.
So, what is mismatched libido?
Most couples go through normal ebbs and flows in their relationship, and can, at times, find themselves ‘stuck’ on different sexual pages. Couples endure mismatched libidos whenever one partner has a higher sex drive, or libido, than the other.
And, it’s common! According to one 2015 study, 80 percent of couples experienced a ‘desire discrepancy’ with their partner within the last month.
Mismatched libido can be a source of conflict in relationships and can lead to feelings of frustration, resentment, or inadequacy for one or both partners. Many couples experience mismatched libidos, but with empathy, safe communication, and patience, couples can create a plan for healthy and hot sexual intimacy that works for all parties.
This may involve finding ways to compromise, such as finding middle ground on the frequency of sexual activity, or exploring non-sexual ways of intimacy.
It can also be helpful to seek support from a therapist who can help couples work through any issues related to mismatched libido and find strategies for managing the imbalance. Our team at Haven Psychology can help you.
What can cause mismatched libido?
There are many factors that can contribute to mismatched libidos in a relationship. Some common causes include:
Stress or anxiety
Stress or anxiety can interfere with a person’s ability to feel sexual desire, and can also lead to other issues such as difficulty getting or maintaining an erection or lubrication.
Hormonal changes, such as those that occur during menopause or pregnancy, can affect a person’s libido.
If a couple is experiencing problems within their relationship, it can affect their desire for intimacy.
Differences in sexual preferences
People can have different levels of desire for sexual activity, and different preferences when it comes to the frequency, type, and setting for sexual activity.
Differences in energy levels or schedules
If one person is feeling particularly tired or busy, it can affect their desire for intimacy.
Medical conditions or medications
Certain medical conditions, such as low testosterone or depression, can affect a person’s libido. Some medications, such as antidepressants or blood pressure medications, can also lower libido.
How can you help improve mismatched libido?
It’s important for couples to communicate openly and honestly about their desires and needs, and to try to find ways to work together to address any issues related to mismatched libidos. If you are in a relationship where you and your partner have mismatched libidos, there are several things you can try to help improve the situation:
Communicate openly and honestly
Talk to your partner about your feelings and needs, and listen to their perspective. It’s important to be understanding and respectful of each other’s feelings, and to try to find a compromise that works for both of you.
Explore ways to increase intimacy
Mismatched libidos don’t necessarily mean the end of intimacy in a relationship. There are many ways to increase intimacy that don’t involve sexual activity, such as cuddling, holding hands, or kissing.
Experiment with new ways of being intimate
Trying new things together, such as trying out new positions or introducing toys or other intimacy aids, can help reignite desire.
Make time for intimacy
It’s important to make time for intimacy, even if you have busy schedules. Setting aside dedicated time for intimacy can help ensure that both partners feel satisfied.
Consider the role of medications or medical conditions
If one partner is taking medications that are affecting their libido, they may want to speak with their doctor about adjusting their dosage or switching to a different medication. Similarly, if a medical condition is causing a low libido, treating the condition may help improve desire.
Masturbation is often thought of as a solo activity, but it doesn’t have to be. When one partner isn’t in the mood for full-on sex, watching ― or helping ― their partner get themselves off could be a solid backup plan.
Let Haven Psychology help you
If the mismatch in libido is causing significant problems in your relationship, it may be helpful to seek the advice of a therapist or counselor.
We can support you with your relationship issues and our team is experienced working with all relationships including:
- Same gender/sex
- Gender Diverse
- Atypical sexual relationships and practices
- Ethical Non-Monogamy
If you found this blog interesting, be sure to read another recent blog of ours here, where we talk all about sexual pleasure.