Sexual health

How to Deal With Mismatched Sex Drives

Published: JANUARY 18, 2022 | Updated: JANUARY 18, 2022
When partners have mismatched sex drives, it can lead to relationship turbulence. But there are ways to deal with it!
If you've ever wanted to have sex when your partner didn't, or felt at least a tiny bit hurt or grumpy when your partner turned you down for sex, there's no reason to worry. You're among the majority of couples and probably care a lot about the health of your relationship.

It's super rare to always want sex every single time your partner bids for it. But if you're genuinely feeling a gap between you and your partner's desires for hooking up, it's worth seeking answers.


Unfortunately, all-too-often, totally normal and common relationship conflicts – like mismatched libidos – can feel like a deal-breaker. If one partner is consistently being turned down when they approach their partner for sex, they may feel hurt or not attractive enough. If one partner feels constantly pressured to perform when they are tired or not feeling it, resentment may creep into your relationship.

In reality, there's scarcely a long-term couple that hasn't experienced mismatched desires at some point in their pairing. Before you contemplate a split, consider how overcoming this challenge as a couple can help you both grow and even discover new sexual activities.

Relax, Breath, and Realize This Happens to Almost Every Couple

The longer you stay with a partner, the more life experiences you'll encounter together. For better and for worse, that includes sex and everything that comes along with it, including the evolution of your individual sex drives.


The sheer amount of online sex advice and education for adults shows just how much people need real help in addressing conflicting desires in their partnerships.

With that said, realize that almost every couple will encounter disagreements in the bedroom at some point, and remedying differences in libido is one of the most common. If your partnership is otherwise rock-solid – and even if it isn't – you've got lots of options to compromise, communicate and coordinate your way to a solution.

If other couples have succeeded, then so can you. Remember to stay open-minded, but never ask your partner to engage in sexual practices that violate their mental or physical boundaries – and that includes having sex when they're not feeling it.


Give Your Partner Space for Self-Pleasure and Sex Toys

It's 100% normal and acceptable to be aroused when you partner is not, and vice versa. It's just as normal and healthy to need to masturbate when a partner isn't currently sharing that feeling.

Masturbation is still shedding plenty of ridiculous myths, but as lots of sexperts tell us, self-pleasure can be something of a cure-all for mismatched libido. It can even boost your overall desire, as once your brain gets used to consistent self-love, you'll find yourself craving pleasure and orgasm more often, in any form – including partnered sex.

If you're not at all up for any kind of mutual, sexual session with a partner, let them be alone with their hands or sex toys. If you want to expand your sex toy collection, or haven't used one before, the selection at Lion's Den is a great place to start.


Your partner isn't replacing you with a toy, we promise! They're simply enjoying their body while meeting an important need. Even better, they're respecting your right to say 'no' to sex anytime you wish.

There's more to masturbation than we can cover in a couple of paragraphs, but reading some tips or experimenting with new techniques is a great starting point to learn about your seemingly endless, solo sex options. Read: Solo Sex Tips for Vulva-Owners

Explore the World of Online, A/V Erotica

Yep, you guessed it. We're talking about porn here. We know the P-word can be triggering to some folks for many reasons, ranging from past sexual abuse to the effects of mainstream beauty standards imposed upon young people.


Thankfully there's such a thing as ethical porn, and there are myriad ways to dive into ethically-made adult content to arouse and satisfy your eyes and ears. Ethical porn is a great alternative to the wild west of free, often stolen adult content, especially if you're not that keen on porn to begin with, or often find that porn 'doesn't do anything' for you.

Porn can be watched alone while masturbating; together as way to boost arousal and libido; or some combination of the two, such as one partner watching while the other performs oral sex or other acts of pleasure.

If visual pornography doesn't pique your interest, we suggest checking out audio porn, which runs the gamut from erotic storytelling to vocal BDSM scenarios.


Be Open to Limit-Setting Styles of Sex

Sometimes your partner isn't completely not in the mood, but they're not up for certain sex acts at the moment. The two of you can still share a very sexy encounter without crossing comfort lines – which, by the way, can change from week to week, day to day, or even hour to hour.

Maybe you just ate a big meal and the thought of putting anything else inside your body feels overwhelming, or just plain gross on a full belly. If you're stressed, tired or upset, a full evening of foreplay might sound as desirable as cleaning the kitchen. Read: Using Tantric Touch to Get You in the Mood

However, when you see your partner head for their sex toy drawer or digital porn stash, you realize you're actually kind of turned on. You just don't feel like, say, being penetrated or twisting yourself into your usual favorite, acrobatic sex position. But, for example, giving a hand job with a stroker sex toy or masturbating in front of your partner with a vibrator sounds super hot.

Talk about what you are interested in doing, and be clear about what's off-limits right now. If you can't meet in the middle, this is exactly where our above advice on masturbation and porn can come into play.

Enlist the Assistance of a Sex and Relationship Therapist

The health and wellness space is booming with certified experts, coaches and therapists, and doctors who specialize in sex-related concerns. If the two of you can't crack this case together, then the professional, third-party opinion of a therapist, counselor, or sex coach could be a great route to a libido remedy. Read: It's Not You: 4 Signs Your Partner is Too Depressed for Sex

With a bit of research, we're confident you can find a doctor, therapist or coach who will work for you and your partner. Often, they can recommend solutions that may have been impossible to ascertain on your own.

No matter what solution you choose, never forget that sex is entirely personal and doesn't have to follow any societal norms. When consent and communication are consistently involved, there's no wrong way to have a libido or improve your coupled sex life.

Colleen Godin

Colleen Godin is a seasoned pleasure product professional and avid outdoors-woman, though rarely both at the same time. She has worked in the business of pleasure products since college. From the adult boutique counter to traveling the country for major toy manufacturers, she's seen the good, the bad, and the ugly of sex toy design. All those years of hawking cheap vibrators have turned my attention to the luxury toy market, where I specialize in...

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