Before we can dive into what “mismatched desires” are, let’s get a quick definition out of the way. The desires that we will be referring to throughout this article are sexual desires. These desires are highly influenced by your sex drive, or your desire to engage in sexual activities.
Now, it is important to note that not everyone has the same level of sex drive. Some people may have an inherently larger sex drive than others. Some people may have no sex drive at all. The point is there is no “normal” when it comes to sex drive, and this is precisely why mismatched desires can be such a common problem for couples of all kinds.
Put simply, mismatched desires simply means that you and your partner do not have the same level of sexual desire. Now, this can be a challenge to navigate at times because you want to ensure that both you and your partner are fulfilled in the relationship. But, with some communication and understanding, mismatched desires really don’t have to be anything to worry about.
Signs You May Want Support
Sometimes we can feel embarrassed or ashamed to tell others about what is and isn’t working in our lives — especially when the topic shifts to our sex lives. But there is nothing wrong with seeking support when you and your partner have hit a wall or even a bump in the road.
Relationships are full of challenges that partners must overcome together, and mismatched desires can be one of these challenges. If you find that you and your partner are not getting anywhere by simply talking about the issue on your own or you feel that you are growing more distant from one another, it might be time to look for external support. One type of support that can be extremely helpful for this particular challenge is a sex therapist.
How Sex Therapy Can Help
Therapy is an incredible resource that couples can use to communicate their feelings and better understand one another. Sex therapy is a specific branch of therapy that focuses on helping couples talk about any sexual discrepancies that they may be having in the relationship. While sex is not all that a partnership is, it oftentimes forms a large part of the overall feeling of intimacy and connection between partners.
Because of this, addressing any issues or concerns in this area can be exceptionally challenging for couples. But sex therapy can provide a safe, judgment-free environment where both you and your partner can voice these concerns and come to solutions together. A sex therapist can also help by providing insights and offering solutions and plans that you can implement to navigate your issues — such as mismatched sex drives.
How to Cope with Mismatched Desires
You may feel frustrated or upset when you and your partner don’t necessarily line up perfectly in terms of sexual desires. But remember that everyone is different, and sexual desire exists on a spectrum. There is no “normal” level of sexual desire, and it is entirely normal for partners to have different levels of desire.
This said, we recognize that it can be challenging to know how to handle the issue so that both you and your partner are getting what you need to be happy and fulfilled within the relationship. So, we have gathered a few tips that you can use to connect with your partner and work through the challenges of having mismatched desires together.
Talk About It
The truth is, you’re not going to get anywhere without talking openly with your partner. Chances are, if you’re having an issue with your sex life, so are they. Your sex life is, after all, shared between the two of you. One straightforward and effective way to go about this discussion is to simply assess your and your partner‘s sex drives.
Try to assign your desire a number — you can pick how this numbering system works to find a solution that makes sense to you and your partner. This could mean that you choose a number between 1 and 10, 1 and 5, or maybe even 1 and 7 (if you are opting for a “days of the week” type of numbering system).
The goal with this is to determine where you and your partner stand in terms of sex drive. This can help you to both be more objective and determine where one or both of you may need to be more considerate of the other or come to compromises.
Redefine Successful Sex
Sex does not have to be only intercourse. Maybe for you and your partner, sex counts as a number of different forms of physical intimacy — not just the typical intercourse that we are taught to think of as sex. This can be an incredibly healthy and much less stressful way of viewing sexual intimacy. When you add other physically intimate activities to your idea of what constitutes “sex,” you may find yourself more desirous of engaging with your partner — even as the lower-drive partner.
Focus on Quality
How much do you enjoy the sexual interactions you are having with your partner? More frequent interactions aren’t going to do much good to anyone if you or your partner are not enjoying yourselves.
This is a crucial conversation to have with your partner — even if it might seem a little awkward at first. Think about what both of you like about your current sexual interactions and what you may be able to do to make them better for both of you going forward.
The simple truth is that you may have a higher sex drive than your partner does. Or maybe you have a lower sex drive than your partner. Whatever the discrepancy may be, there is a possibility that you and your partner simply have different levels of desire when it comes to sexual intimacy. This is completely normal, and all you need to do in this situation is better to understand one another and come to an agreement that suits both of you.
Maybe this means branching out and adding new activities to your intimacy toolbox. Perhaps it means taking the time to really understand what your partner’s needs are. Whatever form this takes, you will likely end up coming to some compromises that can really help strengthen your bond in the long run.
Schedule in Time for Intimacy
We know “scheduling” time for sex does not necessarily sound the most romantic or fun. But, if you and your partner do not necessarily have the same desires, it may be a good idea to make space for that level of intimacy in your relationship. Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to go and block off time slots in your calendar, but maybe you and your partner can decide on a date night during the week and pencil in some time to enjoy each other’s company.
See a Therapist
As we mentioned above, a therapist (especially a sex therapist) can be an excellent resource for you and your partner if you are having trouble with mismatched desires. Maybe you have tried the tips above and are still struggling. Or perhaps you simply could use a safe space to talk with your partner about what you can do to better meet both of your needs.
If you are ready to start coming up with solutions and working through your differences in sex drive, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at Love Heal Grow to talk to a sex therapist.