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Sexual desire differences in relationships

AifeAife LondonPosts: 2,431 Community Manager
Hey everyone,

Research has found that for many couples, they will experiences different levels of sex drive at some point in their relationship. This research suggests that for some people, having a different sex drive to their partner can cause issues in their relationship and result in lower relationship satisfaction.

How do you think people can listen to their partner's desires and communicate their own boundaries at the same time?

Look forward to hearing your thoughts :)

- Aife
Maybe somethings don't get better, but we do. We get stronger. We learn to live with our situations as messy and ugly as they are. We fix what we can and we adapt to what we can't. Maybe some of us will never fully be okay, but at least we're here. We're still trying. We're doing the best we can. That's worth celebrating too ❤


  • ShaunieShaunie Posts: 13,777 Born on Earth, Raised by The Mix
    Im Not sure. Tell them the boundaries while trying not to be offended by the rejection of not wanting sex. And be honest.Or do something less intimate instead that both want. Until they both feel is right to then have sex or/and compromise
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Honesty isn't always easy but is so important in relationships. Being honest but also listening and really trying to understand your partner may make it easier to communicate how you feel. It's not always easy but sometimes having the difficult conversations can bring couples closer because it can lead to a better understanding of each other. Sexual desire can go up and down based on time of the month, life events, medication and many more things so I guess making an effort to discuss any issues in an open, non-aggressive way will allow both parties to communicate and lay boundaries.
  • FeatheredDreamsFeatheredDreams Miniposter Posts: 91 The answer to life, the universe, and everything
    (im gonna use the word libido a lot, so if any of you don't know what libido is - it's a fancy word for sex drive.)

    IMO it's ultimately up to the people involved; if someone isn't willing to compromise then it's just gonna end up in frustration (i know from first hand experience ;P).

    Now as for compromises, often this means no sex, which may be harsh for one partner at the time (depending on how horny they are), porn/masturbation are options, or if possible simply do something else and the desire tends to die down after a while usually anyway - e.g. instead of thinking about sex do some work, play a video game, write/draw (preferably something that isn't sexy, unless doing so is a form of sexual release for you then go ahead you do you)
    Then again, i don't like nor care for sex so i suppose that's easy for me to say.

    Oh yeah - and if you have a sex drive that's extremely high, and you've watched too much porn/masturbated so much it no longer gives sufficient pelasure (so you think sex is the only option), then stop watching porn. it might be hard but trust me - you'll be able to satisfy yourself in the long run (http://www.themix.org.uk/sex-and-rel...lems-3935.html - this article from 'can porn make you lose your erection?' downwards roughly gets across my message here)

    One offs are guarenteed - there will always be times when one partner who's usually into it won't want to have sex. Generally these are easy to deal with (with the above advice), but if the relationship is constantly at odds with sex drives (eg one partner wats sex once a week, one partner wants sex once a year at most) then you've both gotta be ready for a tricky conversation.

    First of all conveying how important sex is to you is vital - if one partner places significantly more importance on sex than the other then it will cause a rift. Discuss why sex is or isn't important to each of you - especially for reasons other than sex drive. If you have wildly different sex drives it needs to be understood too of course. Once it's understood why willingness to have sex is so different progress can be made, now as there are many reasons why sex drives differ other libido (some of which may have their own specific solutions), i'm going to assume that libido is the main issue.

    I have found it's often easier to reduce libido than to raise it - that is, the partner which wants more sex than they're getting is likely gonna have to do the most work, but that's mainly because it is very simple to reduce libido - often simply exposing yourself less to sex & sex related stuff will reduce it. So don't watch that sexy (but not porn) movie, do something else when you think about sex and it'll go down. This of course assumes that said partner is the type that requires sex to live, and can't find any way at all to dismiss their needs so wants to reduce their sex drive. If you're the type who, as much as you may want to have sex, you don't mind not having it, then great! make sure you convey that and don't get angry when your requests are rejected!

    Raising libido on the other hand can be very difficult, because raising it for the long term (because as has been said - many short term things will increase libido, like meds, even puberty can be considered a relatively short term thing if your relationship starts in the teens and lasts into adulthood, but in the long term these may not have an impact on your the average desire for sex) is...well...um...hard. Even if you expose yourself to sex related things more it's really up to individual differences on whether that's effective or not. Maybe i should study libido when i'm doing my degree in psychology, hah!
  • MikeMike 🎧 LandaanPosts: 3,756 Community Manager
    @AzathKelara that is incredibly comprehensive advice for anyone struggling with this. Thank you so much for sharing your experience and wisdom! :rainbow::rainbow2:

    A couple of things you've all talked a bit about are honesty and compromise - two keystones of strong and healthy relationships.

    Say one person in a relationship doesn't want sex at all (maybe they're on the ace spectrum) and doesn't want to compromise. Then the other individual considers sex to be one of their biggest needs, but they don't want to compromise either. Does this need to be a deal breaker? Are there ways around it? :chin:
    All behaviour is a need trying to be met.

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  • FeatheredDreamsFeatheredDreams Miniposter Posts: 91 The answer to life, the universe, and everything
    IMO - yes, it is a deal breaker if neither is willing to compromise.

    my personal experience of me being one who never wants sex, and my ex who wanted sex all the damn time (several days per week every week), eventually it got to the point where i just wanted to stop talking to him because i KNEW he'd ask for sex, and thats not my jam so i'd say no, and he'd get frustrated and i'd hate myself for not being willing to pleasure him haha.
    even if at every other time in the relationship it was good, he wanted sex often enough that i ended up feeling terrible most of the time lol.

    but that might just have been an extreme case.
  • AifeAife LondonPosts: 2,431 Community Manager
    Hey everyone,

    You've all raised some interesting points here. Like Mike mentioned earlier, honesty and compromise seem to have come up quite a bit in this discussion. @Aidan[/USER] you've mentioned some important points about compromising in a relationship for both partners. [USER="95329"]AzathKelara - you've mentioned a bit about your personal experience being in a relationship where you and your partner had different sex drives.

    How do you think someone can encourage their partner to try new things but make sure they respect their boundaries at the same time?

    Research has found that for some people, having a different sex drive to your partner can cause issues in a relationship.
    How do you think people can deal with it?

    Look forward to hearing your thoughts :)

    - Aife
    Maybe somethings don't get better, but we do. We get stronger. We learn to live with our situations as messy and ugly as they are. We fix what we can and we adapt to what we can't. Maybe some of us will never fully be okay, but at least we're here. We're still trying. We're doing the best we can. That's worth celebrating too ❤
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Differing sex drives can be a sensitive topic for some relationships and it can be awkward to discuss, especially at the beginnings of a relationship. One partner may want to satisfy the other so desperately that they don't consider their own boundaries and desires.

    Perhaps it's all down to trusting your partner to be honest and say what they're uncomfortable with. Maybe it's a better idea to discuss boundaries before any kinks/desires to help avoid agreeing to something you or your partner aren't comfortable with?

    Dealing with differing sex drives can potentially cause a range of emotions, such as frustration, doubt and maybe even a sense of loneliness. As mentioned before, honesty and compromise would probably be beneficial for dealing with it - it can be very hard to resolve any potential relationship issues if you don't have honest and open discussions about them!

    That being said, they say time is a great healer... Do you guys think that over time people can learn to live with a difference in sex drives? Your sex drive (as well as other priorities) may well change as you grow in age!
  • GlennGlenn Posts: 52 The answer to life, the universe, and everything
    When we talk about sex what exactly do we mean? Some people would say it describes penis in vagina sex only, others would say it covers a broad range of behaviours. Some people have sex and they never go near a penis. If we can count hand to genitals, mouth to genitals as sex can we also count dry humping? What about kissing and touching over clothes?

    If we broaden our thinking as to what we mean when we talk about what sex is then we increase our options, if it only ever ends in penis in vagina sex and we're not into that today then we're less likely to want to do anything sexual.

    I also think sex is about intimacy, being close and touched or having contact. It might be easier for someone to ask for sex then to ask to be held or stroked. Or it might be more common for someone to be close to someone if they let them have sex with them.

    I would also ask, how does someone with a high sex drive survive when they're single? If you want to experience sexual pleasure why not masturbate? If this is not enough what is it you really want? If your partner rarely wants to have any sexual contact with you how does this impact you? is this being communicated?

    If you base your worth on someone being sexually attracted to you then a committed long term relationship may not be enough to satisfy this.

    The final thing I'll say is notice what's going on when you feel the need to be sexually active, did you have a tough day? Are you feeling lonely or angry? Sex can be a distraction from a feeling, if that is how we cope what is it that you are avoiding?

    So much to say on the topic, I'm interested on other's views. Challenge what has been written or add to the really interesting points.
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