There is so much judgment about sex drives in our culture, and so talking about when they are mismatched is not as simple as it seems. So in today’s blog I’m going to be talking about what to do when your sex drives do not match.
So what kind of judgment do we have in our society? Well, even the terms we use to describe sex drives are full of judgment. We have low and we have high. I mean, you’re basically saying one is bad and one is good. One is, “There’s something wrong with you,” and “you’re kind of broken”, and one is healthy and the ultimate thing you want to have.
So it’s no surprise that when I run surveys for women who see themselves as having a low sex drive, a lot of what they say is, “I wish mine matched my husband’s. I feel really bad about it.” That’s not to say that everyone does, but that definitely was my experience, and it’s definitely what hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of women have told me in the last couple of years.
So I really want to get one thing very straight. There is no better, there is no worse. There is just different when it comes to how much you crave and desire sex. In fact, it’s even more complicated than that. Our bodies are sophisticated and when it comes to desiring sex, there’s actually two different types.
There’s a spontaneous desire, which means that you’ll just be going around your day to day business and suddenly kind of want some sex. And there’s another one, which is responsive desire, which means that you respond to things that are happening. This is why I shout from the rooftops, “scheduled sex,” because it works for 70% of women. That’s right. 70% of women have responsive desire.
So I am assuming that I’m talking to women who have been labeled having a low sex drive by themselves, or by books, or by Freud, who did a number on us ladies. So if you’re in a different category than that, just know that you’re normal too. There are just as many women who have a higher sex drive. Now, I’m only using those terms not because I believe in them or think there’s any truth to them, but because that’s just what we’re used to talking about in our society.
So here’s some three tips when it comes to having a mismatched sex drive, a different sex drive. Not worse or better than. Just different. The first is acceptance of the facts. “My body just works the way it works. My brain just works the way it works.” Great teams have diversity. They’re not the same, and that’s what you want in your marriage.
You want diversity. It’s not a bad thing. It’s actually a strength. If you have everyone doing the same thing, that’s just boring, so stop trying to be like your partner and stop trying to get your partner to be like you, because it’s beautiful just to have acceptance.
Now, you might even be really courageous and be really bold and take it one step further, which is to love your differences. I have a mentor, Emily Nagoski, and I just love what she says. She says, “Confidence is knowing what is.” Just what is. Knowing what is. I don’t like cold salad. I like it warm. That’s just what is.
So confidence is knowing what is about yourself, about how your body works, about how your husband’s body works. So if you want to be super crazy, take acceptance and really up it up a notch and just love the way you were created.
My second tip is just get curious. I love this mode of operation because it’s a place of wonderment. It’s a place of discovery. It’s a place of learning rather than judgment and hopelessness and gloom.
So really look and see, “Where do my desires and needs and wants come together with my husband?” Really get quite practical on this. Where do our sexual interests really, truly match? Not a compromise, but a 100% match.
Where is there an opportunity? Even if it’s a back rub or a foot massage, or a shower together, or cuddling on the couch. There’s all sorts of things that you can do even if they’re not super intensely sexual or not.
Then also look at what time of the day matches, and assume that you can come to a win-win scenario. It doesn’t have to be a compromise. Nobody has to feel resentful or used or bullied. If you have enough patience and perseverance you can genuinely come to a win-win.
Then lastly, sometimes when you’re in the process of those first two things, you need to zoom out a little bit and focus on unity. You have some strengths in your relationship already that you can be excited about. You can celebrate those and put your attention towards them.
Sometimes when you narrow in on something that you feel is not working, it can feel like your whole relationship is not working. It can feel like it’s never going to work in the future. There’s nothing that says you can’t have something that you’re working on for the rest of your marriage and still have a really joyful, unified relationship.
And I can say this with 100% certainty, because this was what my husband and I dealt with for years. We had a mismatched sex drive, or that’s how we perceived it at the time. Now we see it differently, but there were so many times when we just said, “You know what? This really sucks. We cannot figure this out. We can’t find anyone to help us figure this out, but we know other things to be true. We love each other. We’re committed to each other. We can still have a ton of fun together. We’re an awesome parenting team. We serve our community together.”
There was a lot of things that really kept us going strong. So focus on unity, and know that as you do that and work on acceptance of the facts, getting curious, and knowing that there can be a win-win; know that over time you can overcome this and come to a place where sex is now a source of joy in your relationship. I know that because my husband and I did that after years and years.
I hope that was helpful. I hope that gave you a little bit of perspective. And if you’re a woman and you are wondering how we made it work, I encourage you to take the Desire Fix Quiz, because that will give you a unique and specialized action step to take that is directly correlated with the one thing that will make the biggest difference into wanting it more. And at the same time, accepting 100% who you are, how you’re created, and how your body and mind works. Because this is not about trying to be your husband or trying to have a high sex drive.
I’ll talk to you soon.