What to do if you and your partner have different sex drives

Getting on the same page with your partner can be tough. From deciding on pizza toppings (still can’t get my boyfriend on board with pineapple), to getting each other’s schedules right, being in sync is not the easiest thing for even the strongest of couples.

And, as you settle into a long-term relationship, it can be hard to get one very important thing on track: your sex drives.

Everyone’s body is different so you can share so many things in common with your partner but still be on different pages sexually. And while you may be boning nonstop when you first get together because of your exciting new connection, that may or may not keep up because of different factors including lack of free time, infighting in the relationship or simply a differing sex drive.

There are many reasons why people have different sex drives — but a lot has to do with hormones.

Libido is driven by testosterone. That is the biologically male sex hormone, but testosterone is also found in women and drives the desire for sex. Many different factors could drive a person’s testosterone level down including illness, birth control pills, and depression, so if you’re concerned about a recently-lowered sex drive, you should talk to a doctor.

Testosterone also drops in women with age and that, combined with societal misconceptions about women’s sexual desire, leads many to believe that the partner with a lower sex drive is usually a woman. And while there can be more hormonal factors at play that drive down women’s sex drives than men’s, one in five men has reported having a low sex drive and, of course, this problem can also can plague gay men’s’ relationships. The problem is not exclusive to a single group.

Illness or new medicines aside, you may just have been born with a naturally-higher or naturally-lower sex drive than your partner. This is fairly frequent because, after all, everyone is different and it’s unrealistic to expect you both to be on the same page at the same time when it comes to sex, Jill Whitney, a licensed marriage and family therapist told INSIDER.

“It’s fairly common for couples to have different levels of interest in sex,” she said. “There are so many factors that have to more or less align to make you fit well as a couple; it’s unrealistic to think you’ll fit exactly all the time.”

There’s a big difference between a slight dry spell and differing sex drives.

And if you’re normally in sync when it comes to sex, and suddenly you’re not, don’t think this momentary lapse is forever said Sari Cooper, certified sex therapist and director of Center for Love and Sex.

“It’s to be expected that our bodies unlike machines will go through different periods in our life-cycle that we feel more or less interested in sex…,” she said. “If a person sees life with more acceptance of the waves of desire and sexual frequency flowing like waves on the ocean, the better resilience and empathy one has throughout their life for their own body and that of their partner or partners.”

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