A relationship involves the union of two people through multiple bonds. These include the emotional, the sentimental, the practical, and the sexual. This, however, doesn't mean that in order to have a successful relationship you must always have airtight bonds in those departments. It is normal for there to be some wiggle room.
For example, you might be a reserved and introverted personality while your partner is gregarious and outgoing. In those circumstances, the fact that you are polar opposites does not deter you from having a successful relationship. If anything, they allow you to compliment each other. There are certain areas in which differences are virtuous.
Contrasting traits pose a problem for a relationship when they result in the need of one partner going unfulfilled. One of the most classic examples of this is that of partners who have different sexual appetites. This is a serious issue no matter how you initially met. Whether it was through mutual friends, or through the use of one of the many popular hookup apps out there nowadays.
When a partner has a higher sexual appetite than the other, it can create a series of situations that will negatively impact the future of the relationship. This is not to say that sex is the determining factor of a relationship, but it cannot be denied that it is a very important component. So, what to do when your sexual appetites do not coincide?
Ascertain When Your Sex Drives Diverged
Ascertaining when your sex drives began to diverge is critical. It will usually guide you to the root causes of the problem. It can also help you determine whether it is a symptom of a deeper and more consequential problem, or if it is merely the residual effects of a short-term situation.
For example, if either of you has recently started experiencing unusual levels of stress due to work-related or family-related issues, it can be safe to assume that any recent disparity in your sex drives may be due to those extraordinary external pressures.
If your divergent sexual appetites started more opaquely; if you find it difficult to pinpoint the cause — that could be indicative of complex underlying issues creating the problem. These may require deeper introspection from the both of you to arrive at the origin of the issue. It may even require seeking the help of a professional, such as a marriage counselor or sex therapist.
2. Open and Honest Communication
As with most problems that affect a relationship, open and honest communication is required to help bring about a solution when different sex drives are involved.
As we stated above, the core of the problem in having different sexual appetites is that one partner will go with a fundamental need unfulfilled. This requires the affected partner to voice that unfulfilled need to the other. Failure to do so will simply create complacency. With complacency, the problem may become aggravated. When that happens, that may result in undesired effects such as seeking extramarital affairs or becoming emotionally disconnected from your partner.
Approaching your partner with such an issue is understandably not easy. This is why you should present the topic in a calm and caring fashion. You should do it at a time and in a setting when you are both alone and free from other distractions. Be aware that it will likely result in a prolonged conversation. This is definitely not a topic to bring up if you only have five minutes to spare.
3. Both Must Recognize the Presence of the Problem
In order to move toward a solution, both of you need to recognize that the problem exists. The partner with the lower sex drive may at first feel offended, hurt, or otherwise taken aback when presented with the issue. This is why it is necessary to be prepared to give your partner time to absorb and accept the reality of the situation. Mind you, this time should not be measured in weeks or months, but giving them a few days is reasonable.
It also important never to strike an accusatory tone when bringing up the problem.
4. Both Must Recognize the Root of the Problem
It is important that the both of you agree on the fundamental causes of the problem. Only that way will you be able to arrive at a solution as a couple. Otherwise, it will create division between you — one partner will become akin to an accuser and the other to the accused.
Relationship problems that involve sex need to be resolved together. Divisiveness will make things worse. The best way to combat divisiveness is by agreeing on the cause.
5. Be Supportive and Creative
This applies to both sides. If, for example, you have identified that the root cause is stress, work-related, or due to a physical malady, assure your partner that you can be patient and that you realize that the problem is only short-term.
If you happen to be the one with the lower sex drive, you can be supportive of your partner by being open to creative ways of fulling your partner's needs. This can be accomplished by encouraging masturbation while you are present or introducing other forms of sexual stimulation that you can provide to your partner. Remember, intercourse isn't the only form of sexual activity. The partner with the higher sex drive should also be receptive to these alternate and creative ways of sexual stimulation.
6. Know the End Game
If you both determined and agreed that the cause of the sex drive disparity was due to short-term influences, it would stand to reason that the problem will rectify itself as soon as the short-term external forces dissipate. However, that should not be your goal as a solution. The both of you should also look at ways to avoid such short-term stresses from re-emerging in the future. Include everything from better time management, offering increased mutual support, modifying certain aspects of your lifestyle, etc. as ways to prevent a reoccurrence of the problem.
Likewise, if the underlying causes are more long-term or chronic in nature, the both of you should enter into an agreement in which the more active partner's needs are met through creative means, as those described above. This will ease tension and sexual frustration as the other partner's underlying problem is handled in a long-term fashion. In some cases, it may have to serve as the permanent solution.
If not addressed, different levels of sexual appetite between partners can bring about the end of a relationship. Fortunately, when the issue is openly discussed by both partners and both participate in arriving at a solution, it need not be a fatal blow to the relationship.
Yes, with some couples a solution for different sex drives may require more compromise than with others. In those circumstances, how much you are willing to compromise will factor directly into the outlook of the relationship.