Since no two people are exactly alike as far as what they like (and how often), including sexually, mismatched libidos are more common than you might think. People like different kinds of sex to varying degrees. They like it at different times of the day and have different ideal frequencies. And, of course, factors like health, age, and work schedule can leave a person wanting less sex than usual.
But don’t let the fact that libido gaps are common lull you into thinking they should just be ignored when they occur. They can and do cause serious issues for many relationships, so it’s important to reconcile any differences there may be between yourself and your partner. Here’s a close look at what you need to know.
How much sex is normal in a relationship?
When people are dealing with personal issues, one of the first questions they tend to ask is, “Am I normal?” People coping with libido gaps in relationships especially want to know how often you should want sex. However, there’s really no set frequency that would be considered normal and healthy for every single couple.
Every couple is different, so "enough" sex might be once or twice a year for some, while once or twice a day is a better fit for others. So, if your libidos are mismatched to the point where it’s causing problems in your relationship, it’s important not to point to someone else’s definition of what’s normal as something to shoot for. Instead, you need to reach a compromise you both feel happy with.
Focus on consistency
If there’s one factor that just might be a universal key to sexual satisfaction in relationships, it’s consistency. According to research, couples who have sex on a weekly basis are significantly happier overall than those who even occasionally allow long periods to go by between sexual encounters.
If you are looking for a general benchmark to shoot for, try to come together sexually at least once a week. For many couples, that’s often enough to feel like they’re staying connected but not so often that the quality of the experiences might suffer.
Never allow things to transition to the point where you’re not having any sex at all, even temporarily, as it’s easier for that to become a habit than people think. Plus, it can result in a host of additional problems, including resentment, anger, detachment, infidelity, and even the end of the relationship.
Talk things out
Very few problems can’t be overcome via excellent communication, so don’t let mismatched libidos turn into the elephant in the room that you’re both afraid to discuss. Sit down, declare a judgment-free zone for the duration of the conversation, and talk things out.
Take turns voicing concerns, asking questions, and talking about welcome potential changes to your sexual routine. Just take care not to let your talk devolve into a complaining session. Focus on the positives about your sex life to the best of your ability, and use them as jumping-off points for further discussion.
Spice up your entire relationship
If sexual dry spells and ruts are also factors for you and your partner, the tried-and-true advice to spice things up a little hold true. Try to incorporate new options into your routine that sound exciting and novel to both of you. Experiment with new positions, add some sex toys to your play, and get back in touch with your sexual sense of adventure.
But make sure you also extend your efforts to your relationship outside the bedroom. A couple’s sexual connection is irrevocably linked to the quality of their relationship overall. So ensure you’re making enough uninterrupted time for one another. It’s the key to strengthening your sexual connection and finding some common ground again.
Redefine what counts as sex
When dealing with mismatched libidos, hectic schedules, or anything else that might prevent a couple from having sex as often as either party might like, it can help to widen the parameters of what counts as sex. Consider making options like mutual masturbation or oral sex more significant parts of your routine.
It’s also a good idea to fill in the gaps with intimate activities like affectionate touching, cuddling, and light foreplay but without the expectation that they always segue into full-blown sex. It can help nurture your connection and give it room to grow stronger without the pressure these expectations can bring to the table.
Ultimately, mismatched libidos don’t have to be the end of the world when it comes to your relationship. However, they do require understanding, patience, communication, and a mutual dedication to one another if you’re serious about overcoming them. The main thing to remember is to focus on your greater connection and explore ways to strengthen it, both in and out of the bedroom.