Different Libidos - let's talk not walk

To talk about adults without talking about their sex drives is like talking about a window without the glass. – Grace Metalious

In many relationships today a difference in libido or sex drive is a very real problem, causing conflict that can lead to problems and even splitting up. It’s true to say that everyone’s sex drive varies over time in tune with the environment, how we are feeling and even things like our age can all make a difference. Yet this is a particular problem in relationships and marriages, when you and your partner are not in tune.

Often what happens is that as sex in the relationship becomes less, other areas of intimacy (cuddling, kissing, etc.) stops for fear of it leading to sex. Perhaps inevitably this leaves one partner feeling rejected and the other partner pursued relentlessly for sex. Partners don’t want to hurt each other so they don’t talk about the problem, but rather avoid it by going to bed at different times or staying up later than their partner. It’s easy to see how that can lead to cracks in the relationship.

In reality there needs to be an adult conversation, with both partners taking responsibility for their sex life and how it may improve. Indeed, as you begin to talk you may find that part of the problem is in other areas of the relationship and that by addressing these the situation improves.

Of course there are many causes of low libido; some of the more common are stress, being tired or not feeling emotionally close to your partner. Yet the only way to find out what is happening is to talk, while this can be difficult for fear of hurting your partner. When you talk try to avoid seeing your partner as the root of your problem, try to be empathic and understand how they feel about both the situation and how they would like to move forward. There is an element of celebrating the difference between you and looking for creative ways to improve the situation. You might want to consider the frequency of your desire, your preferences what you like and don’t like, what makes you comfortable and helps your desire. The answer to all of these questions can pave the way to a solution. However, be very wary of making it a series of tick boxes where one leads to the other, this is to miss the emotional requirement of the partners think of it as the environment which is most likely to bring about a change in desire. Libido changes with many things and sometimes despite all of the right things being there the moment just doesn’t work.

Sometimes it will be too difficult to tackle on your own and you may need to consider relationship counselling and that can be the catalyst required to make the changes in a safe and non-judgemental environment.

Counselling Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

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Written by Graeme Orr MBACP(Accred) Counsellor

I am an Accredited Member of BACP offering counselling for both individuals and couples on the Southside of Glasgow.
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