When yours and your lover’s mojo is aligned it feels like delicious belly fireworks… But if the libido balance is skewed one way it can feel like trying to light a fire with a wet match. In short, mismatched libido can feel frustrating and isolating.
If one partner is “in the mood” but the other is not it may lead to feelings of rejection and insecurity in one partner, or guilt and resentment in the other.
No one comes out on top. Literally.
It’s normal not to be on the same sexual page every moment of every day, however if mismatched libido is an ongoing issue in your relationship you may need to take a closer look at it.
Danika Green*, knew her lover was not her ideal bedroom match when they first connected.
“Usually when you first hook up with someone you have sex a lot, but when my boyfriend and I got together he was a once every couple of days of guy, and that lessened to once a week, then once a month. I tried to initiate more but he just never really got on board, so to speak,” she tells of her seven year romance.
The sex they were having was ‘satisfactory’, but everything else about this relationship was great. Initially she could overlook it, but eventually, the mojo disparity caused feelings of anxiety and insecurity.
“I thought there must be something wrong with me. He would push me away and it would make me feel awful. Sex, or lack of it, became the elephant in the room. We couldn’t even talk about it in the end,” she tells.
There’s a common myth that men have higher libidos than women. The truth is, it’s a very individual thing for both sexes which can depend on things like hormones, upbringing, and general state of mind. Libido can be mismatched in either direction.
Charlize Albon* was surprised when it became apparent her partner was not the sexually experimental guy he made out in their early stages. When he settled into a weekly sex routine Charlize tried to discuss it.
“I was fobbed off a bit as being worried about nothing. I imagine it’s not easy for the male to be accused of the lower libido. Maybe his wasn’t low by average standards. Maybe mine was high. Who knows?” Charlize says. “These things are the hardest to work out, aren’t they? What’s normal?”
Before long, the lack of connection from mismatched libidos created inoperable cracks in the relationship.
“I ended up being unsettled and that allowed more problems to creep in. If someone else paid me a lot of attention I was more ‘open’ to that attention. Even though my husband was perfectly loving and good to me. There was something intrinsically mismatched. It ended up as a marriage of best friends. Not a bad result but I needed more,” she tells.
If your sexual desires do not align it may not spell the end, but it would be wisest to address it and deal with it as a couple before it becomes a deeper issue, says relationship therapist and sexologist, Isiah McKimmie.
“What is really important is how you communicate about it and work together on it. If it’s not talked about or becomes a source of tension, it can be a wedge driving you apart,” says Isiah.
“It can also be an opportunity for more communication and loving connection with each other as you find ways of working together so you both feel loved and desired.”
Feeling loved and desired doesn’t necessarily mean doing the nudie rumba, so it’s important to stay intimately connected outside the bedroom also. Making time for each other, cuddling (without intention) and just sitting and talking whilst looking into each other’s eyes can help maintain the intimate thread that weaves your mutual mojo.
“Being physically intimate with your partner, even if you don’t feel like having sex has many benefits, including helping us to release oxytocin, the love hormone,” says Isiah.
“You can still cuddle, kiss, stroke each other or swap a massage. You might even offer to kiss and hold you partner while they self-pleasure as a way of staying connected even if you’re not in the mood.”
Alternatively, as opposed to pushing your partner away, you may need to work for your desire.
Although you should never have sex out of obligation or if you truly don’t want to, sometimes once you get the ball rolling you find you actually get in the spirit of the horizontal fun-run.
“We have an idea that desire or libido should just arise spontaneously, but that really isn’t the case at all, especially for women in long-term relationships. We may not feel in the mood when a partner initially approaches us, but if we choose to be sexually intimate anyway, we can find that we can become turned on,’ tells Isiah.
“This is the most common reason couples see a sex therapist, so it’s important to know that it’s really normal. It’s also normal for our sex lives to change over time.”
First published here on body + soul
Take a few minutes to watch this TED talk by Sarah Byrdon about good sex.