Mismatched Sex Drives | Low Libido
Sexual intimacy can take many forms and expressions—not strictly limited to genital contact in the traditional sense. Libido and low desire are not about frequency. The invitation here is to see desire issues through the lens of unmet needs. Counseling for mismatched sex drives or low libido can help.
Mismatched Sex Drives: What causes it?
Many couples fall into periods of having mismatched sex drives —regardless of stage or length of partnership. It’s very common for partners to experience mismatched sex drives and many couples have trouble communicating effectively when this happens.
Partners living together who have been together for a long time can start to feel more like roommates than sexual partners. Stress, life events, and regular discord can contribute to couples having mismatched sex drives and not engaging sexually.
Because this is not a topic often spoken about as normal in the lifespan of a relationship, what often develops is a cycle in which not having sex leads to even more sexlessness. When this happens, even the thought of initiating sex or doing something sexual or seductive becomes more awkward, confusing, or intimidating. This is when counseling may be needed.
What Are Mismatched Libidos?
Mismatched libidos become an issue when one of the partners is not okay with the amount of sexual contact occurring in the relationship.
Partnerships that do not engage in sex may not have issues with the situation. For example, when both partners agree and have no issue with little or no sex. If both partners are okay with this type of relationship, it doesn’t call for concern. Counseling helps keep both partners on the same page.
Common Reasons For Mismatched Sex Drives
There are many reasons for mismatched sex drives. Many couples report that not knowing how to communicate their feelings and desires to one another is threaded throughout all other reasons.
- Mismatched sexual libidos (sex drives) including the natural ebb and flow to an individual sex drive. Not knowing how to initiate sex or talking about what you want and don’t want eventually has couples waiting for the right mood that may never arrive.
- Childbirth & Parenting
- Excessive Stress – high levels of cortisol
- Erectile dysfunction (ED)
- Hypo-sexual desire disorder (low sex drive) especially for women due to the use of hormonal contraceptives, childbirth, breastfeeding, hysterectomy, trauma, and menopause.
- Punitive or passive-aggressive withholding of sex
- Sex-related performance anxiety
- Medication side effects including over-the-counter decongestants, some antihistamines, antidepressants, and high blood pressure medications.
- Depression or other mental health issues
- History of sexual abuse or trauma
- Relationship conflict and arguments
- Negative feelings toward your partner like anger or resentment
- Relationship to porn
Low Libido Treatment Options
During counseling for mismatched sex drives, a well-trained sex therapist can help you and your partner address the issues in your relationship that interfere or negatively influence the intimacy of your relationship. Collaboratively, you and your therapist can explore individual factors that may also be a be playing a role including:
Resolving issues and dynamics surrounding anger, resentment, disappointment, hurt or betrayal that often lead to lack of desire and attraction.
Learning to talk about sex – Talking about your fantasies, your desires and your insecurities requires vulnerability,
Relieving chronic stress dynamics both in and out of the relationship
Finding a middle ground for mismatched libidos
Healing discords and criticism
Clarify unrealistic expectations about sex
Learning how to suggest/ask for new things
Learning new ways to incorporate sex
Expanding sex through the lifespan, including illness
Sex can serve varying purposes. For some it’s a form of connection, bonding, an expression of self, feeling loved and desired. For others, not so much. What is important to remember when it comes to mismatched sex drives, is that having an open communication with each other to make sure you’re on the same page.