Differing Libidos

I’ve been with my partner for almost two years, coming up to a year living together. The sex has never been up to my own desires (at least every second day) but it was weekly. It is now a couple of times a month and the parameters around such love making are becoming more frequent (i.e. we did at one stage have Saturday morning sex, this is now considered ‘during the day’ which is a no-no).

I feel I’m being petty, but sex is an integral part of what makes me feel loved in a relationship, masturbation doesn’t cut it. It’s not about climax, it’s a about sharing something pleasurable with another person who you think is tops.

So please share Dopers, can it work? There is little interest from my other half to change this situation so I don’t think the conventional visit to the sex shop will help. Can I find away to be satisfied with what I have?

The way sexual relationships work is that both partners get exactly the amount of sex desired by the partner with the lower libido. Learn to live with it or change partners.

Since you’re looking for advice, I’ll move this to IMHO for you.

twickster, MPSIMS moderator

Nope. Kick her to the curb, find someone else. This is based on some personal experience and what I have learn from others.

Statistically, it’s unlikely that a relationship with such a libido mismatch will result in a long-term mutually satisfying relationship. Not impossible or unheard of, but unlikely.

You could ask your partner for a non-monogamous relationship, so you can find further satisfaction elsewhere. It works for some couples.

I think it’s interesting that you assumed the OP was a man and the lower libido belonged to the woman. This is the stereotype I guess, but in my personal experience this is only correct about half the time.

in 16 years of marriage, our libidos were all over the map. Do not assume that, because it’s not working for you now, that is a permanent situation. On of the things that turned it around was my wife getting more excercise…it made her feel better about herself, the endorphins from excercise made her feel better, the added bloodflow and flexibility helped.

At the same time, my libido is 1/3rd what it used to be 10 years ago.

The mismatch MUST be a point of mutual, open, conversation or it WILL become the lever that is blamed for the end of the relationship. It requires compromise by both parties. Yes, you’re not getting it as much as you want…but that doesn’t make your partner necessarily at fault. There’s gotta be compromise for things to work out. Paradoxically, you CAN apply so much pressure as to make your partner actively dislike the act…which doesn’t help either of you.

Are there other factors at play? Stress at work, finances, emotional scarring?

The biggest problem with differing libidos is that it’s really difficult to not perceive your partner’s lack of interest in sex as a lack of attraction to you, and who wants to be with someone who’s not attracted to them?

Add to that the fact that sex is the one thing that it’s typically not cool to indulge in without your partner regardless of their lack of interest. I mean, if your partner doesn’t like video games or romcoms, s/he generally won’t expect you to stop enjoying these things with other people.

Ultimately, simmering resentment tends to be bad for relationships.

The OP and partner could also be same-sex.

Incref, you need to have a serious discussion with your partner about your relationship. It’s not just about sex.

I’ve been in a situation like this, and I think it can become less of a big deal with age. And a woman’s libido can be repressed quite a lot just by birth control pills, so it isn’t always something personal. I wouldn’t recommend breaking up over it if the relationship is otherwise good.

Having strict rules like this does strike me as a little weird and unhealthy, however.

The bolded part seems very odd to me, and suggests there’s something bigger going on with your partner than a diminished libido.

I believe it’s possible for a relationship to work even when one person wants sex more often than the other does, but only if both people are willing to talk about the issue openly and decide that they’re willing to make changes or compromises in order to save the relationship. But if your partner keeps making up increasingly strict rules about sex and is unwilling to consider changing then I don’t think you should be satisfied with the relationship, at least not as it is now.

It might help if you gave more details. Genders and age of both parties could help put things in context. I am very curious about how these “parameters” came about. What was the conversation like when the other partner said there would no longer be daytime sex and so on?

Yeah, I’d be very curious to know whether things like “no daytime sex” are actual explicitly spoken rules, or just observations on the OP’s part.

That’s a good point. I assumed that the partner had said that daytime sex was no longer an option, but if it’s instead that the partner just hasn’t agreed to have sex during the day recently then I find that a lot less troubling than someone who started unilaterally making rules about when sex was to be permitted.

Here the OP says she’s a gay female.

One partner sees physical intimacy as a need and as a means to connect, and the other is both uninterested in anywhere near the same frequency and not interested in trying to address the difference between them.

I don’t care if that’s same sex or who is what gender, that is a recipe for a “sex starved marriage”, even if it is not officially a marriage, and unless it is addressed long term unhappiness awaits both partners. IMHO.

Thanks for all the replies thus far.

As a previous poster cleverly deducted we’re both women. I’m 26 and my partner is 23. I would never have described her as very sexual but it’s become more of an issue in the last couple of months. I wouldn’t say there is anything in particular that could have caused this, 2011 was a tumultuous year and that didn’t seem to have any bearing on the frequency.

The ‘no sex during day light hours’ has been explicitly stated. It was always one of her quirks but one that wasn’t really enforced if we were already in bed. Other rules include no sex if either one of us is menstruating (which can rule out two weeks a month) and no sex other than in the bed. Writing this down actually makes it sound a lot more bizarre than I thought it was.

I have mentioned the open relationship idea, in fact I sent her an article about it last night. Not home until later this evening so I’m not sure how she’s taken that one.

In all other aspects the relationship is pretty healthy, we enjoy each others company immensely, laugh and talk passionately about all manner of things. I’m really hoping this isn’t a deal breaker, she knows how I feel and I don’t think she wants to talk about it anymore.

I am much more willing to have sex before a certain time of night (the exact time of which has changed as our lifestyle has changed). After that point, I’m almost always too tired and sex keeps me up late enough that I’m cranky the next day, and I’m just not happy about it. Could there be anything like that going on? I don’t have a daytime thing myself, but I could sort of see that if one had body issues or anything like that, that it might be uncomfortable to have sex in the daytime. We also have a no-sex-while-menstruating rule, mostly because I am the one who washes the sheets and I just don’t want to deal with blood on the sheets (if he washes the sheets I’m happy to change that) but of course for us that’s only one week/month.

Also, if it’s just a couple of months… that’s not very long. My poor husband had to put up with reduced libido from me for a year. Twice. The first time it seemed inexplicable, but it turned out to be a low thyroid function (actually… your partner may want to get a checkup and blood test if she hasn’t had one in a while; not saying it’s thyroid on her part, but it’s always nice to get checked out every once in a while to make sure everything is working all right), and the second time it was because I had just had a baby and refused to have sex for about a year. Fortunately he was very patient with me, and it paid off in the end, I hope :wink:

ETA: I would have had a fit if after two months of my reduced libido my husband had asked me to do an open relationship. On the other hand, we were pretty open to talking about my libido, so there’s that.

Here’s the problem. Once you’ve stopped talking about it, it’s not going to get any better.

I see a lot of red flags here, especially given your relative youth and newness of the relationship. I would not make a committment today assuming it will get better later…