Mismatched Libidos

by Dr. Pranjal on July 10, 2023 , 5 min read

Hey, what happened to us? Back when we started dating we couldn’t keep our hands off each other. Where did those days go?

If you are a couple asking such questions because your partner declines your advances for having sex. Its primarily because when the normality sets in your relationship, after the honeymoon period of your relationship, any differences in libidos i.e. your sex-drive starts to show.

Couples in a relationship differ in their appetite for sex and it’s perfectly normal. Although very common, mismatched libidos often cause a strain in a relationship if not communicated and managed properly in a relationship.

This article explores mismatched sex drives, what causes the issue, how it can affect relationships, and what couples can do to manage the situation.

Understanding Libidos

Libidos or sex drive is the urge or desire of an individual to behave or engage in in sexual activities. Now each individual have different levels of sex drive. There is no level that can be termed as a normal level of sex drive.

According to the book of author and researcher Emily Nagoski there are two types of sexual desire:

  • Spontaneous sex drive: It is the form of desire that happens spontaneously or randomly with or without stimulation. This is very much prevalent among men as 70% of men have this type of sexual desire as compared to only 10-20% of women.
  • Responsive sex drive: It is the from of desire that is a response to an external stimulus. The stimulus can be watching an erotic scene, affectionate touch from your partner. This is more deliberate as compared to spontaneous sex drive.


The sex drive be it of any kind, its observed that every individual has a different desire for sex and their interest changes over time.

Mismatched libidos or sex drive mismatch is the situation when one partner experiences more or less sexual desire as compared to their partner.

What might have changed?

As we know that our sex drive changes over time. The reasons that might have affected your sex drive would be:

  • Medical Factors: There are multiple medical factors that affects your sex drive. Hormones have a huge role to play. Among women pregnancy & menopause have a vital role to play in reshaping libidos. 

Similarly, as men age, the levels of testosterone produced by their body declines and this can lead to lower sex drive among men as they age.

Other medical conditions that might affect your libido are depression, stress, unhealthy lifestyles.

  • Individual Factors: These are the factors that a partner as an individual might feel or experience that affects their sex drive. These factors include: level of attraction one feels for their partner, self-esteem & self-confidence, understanding levels with your partner, stress & fatigue.
  • Interpersonal Factors: These factors include the compatibility between the couple, satisfaction with the relationship, and communication between them. 

Monotony and being overfamiliar with your partner over a long period of time often dampens sexual desire. Couples with a high level of emotional intimacy are found to have higher desire for each other.

How it might affect your relationship?



It's often observed that communication gaps over the issue of mismatched libidos result in a bitter & unpleasant relationship.

Partners with higher sex-drive have to experience repeated rejection which in turn dampens their self-esteem, paves way for having self-doubt and doubts regarding their partner’s affection towards them. 

Partners having lower sex-drive often feel pressured, have doubts that their partners don’t understand them well, or have a feeling of guilt. 

According to a 2015 study, sex drive discrepancy negatively affects sexual and relational satisfaction. It is to be noted that these outcomes might be more pronounced in people who are in long-term relationships as compared to those in short-term ones.

Lower sexual satisfaction is found to have a compounding effect on the overall satisfaction. Couples having a high sexual satisfaction reported that sexual satisfaction contributes to 15–20% of their overall satisfaction, however couples who reported of low sexual satisfaction said that it contributes to 50–70% of their overall satisfaction.

Getting on the same page


Empathy has a huge role to play when it comes to easing in your partner. There is a high chance that your partner is not able to understand what you are experiencing and neither are you able to understand their experience. 


It is very essential to demonstrate empathy by communicating, listening, validating their feelings, and refraining from any kind of judgement. It's advised that a couple should talk out their differences and make each other comfortable with what they are feeling. The more open the couple is to talking through their differences, the better are the chances that they would rekindle their hot spark together.

At Kindly, we have expert psychologists who can help you find the correct cause of your sexual worries with your partner and help you through this tough phase of life. Sometimes talking to someone who can give you the best advice in times of crisis is essential. Click here to book a one-on-one session with our experts. 



The individuals who don’t have the same sex-drive as their partners can also still meet them halfway by engaging in foreplay or setting in the mood for their partners to have an orgasm. 

The couples should not be just restricted to sex and should explore different alternatives that include oral sex, manual stimulation, and using sex toys on each other as sex is not just limited to penetration.

Another reason to difference in sex drive of couples in their hectic and non-complimentary life. Scheduling sex can be very helpful for such couples as they can plan and work around according to their schedules. 


Planning the sex will also help map out the best time when both people have the most energy and are least stressed. This also helps in building anticipation and ensuring that both partners are physically, emotionally, and mentally ready for sex.

Women have a complex arousal and an environment that helps trigger their senses is very important for their sexual arousal. So it's very important to set the tone. Watching an eroitic movie together, engaging in foreplay can help set in the mood for the sexual intercourse.

Driving a partner to work, preparing their food, listening to your partner, giving them compliments are some of the things that increase the emotional connection & intimacy between the couples and can be helpful in setting the mood.



Mismatched libidos or sex drives is a common sexual problem that most of the couples face but anyone rarely talks about it. The irony being that its one of the problems that can be solved by talking to one’s partner and empathising with them.

With empathy, understanding, strategies couples can easily self-address the issues, reignite their passion for each other, and improve their sexual and relationship satisfaction. 


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by Dr. Pranjal on July 10, 2023 , 5 min read

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