Dealing with libido differences

Libido mismatch is one of the most common problems seen in magazines and blogging websites. Finding someone who you are compatible with on an emotional and lifestyle level is hard enough. Sharing the same sex drive can often be overlooked – but it needn't be an irreparable problem.

People crave sex for different reasons: affection, validation of attractiveness and desirability, attention, distraction, stress relief or simply orgasm. None of these is right or wrong, and indeed, you may well want sex for one reason on a Monday night and quite another by Friday. However, understanding why you both want sex can help make libido mismatch easier to handle.

If your lover wants sex as stress relief, a massage may provide an alternative that suits you both. If it's about orgasm, there are plenty of ways to pleasure a man or woman that don't involve penetrative sex. Should affection be the objective, an evening cuddling up on the sofa may sate the needs; and if it's about validation, bring on the compliments.

Open communication and honest discussion will help make differences in libido easier to deal with.

It can be easy to feel unattractive if your partner doesn't want sex but it's more likely to be about them than you. Stress, depression, certain pharmaceuticals (both legal and illegal) and an unhealthy lifestyle are just a few of the reasons someone might go off sex. While it is possible that a partner has ceased to find you attractive, it's more likely they've got their own issues going on, and being empathetic and caring will be a lot more useful than getting needy or insecurity.

While the media portrays men as sex-hungry and women as resistant, in reality, men are just as likely to have times when they're not in the mood. Open communication and honest discussion will help make differences in libido easier to deal with. If there are deep-rooted issues, counselling may help.

Masturbation has been shown to increase people's sex drive so if you feel your desire waning and there are no other issues to contend with, simply indulging in more regular self-pleasure may help you kick-start your sex drive again.

Many people find they lose interest in sex as a relationship progresses, after the initial rush of lust has passed. However, there are lots of ways to bring the romance and spice back into your relationship – and the sooner you tackle the problem after it emerges, the sooner your sex life is likely to be back on track.