In any long-term, committed relationship, one person will be the higher desire partner. There’s no judgment about that; it’s just the way it works. It doesn’t have to be a problem at all, but it can become a problem over time, especially if the desire discrepancy grows because of other, underlying issues.

The higher desire partner often has some pretty unpleasant feelings.

If you happen to be the person who wants more sex while your partner wants less, you may be finding this dynamic pretty unpleasant. You might feel controlled because your partner sets the sexual agenda. You might feel misled, wondering “Where is all the sex we used to enjoy?” You may believe that your partner has some serious hang-ups or issues they need to face while you are comfortable with sex. You may also feel inadequate, unloved, and undesirable.

Being the one with a higher interest in sex can just be about a stronger libido, a free-ness in sexual expression and an abundance of free time, but if the lack of sex is starting to feel personal, there are things you should explore and confront.

People often get validation from sex, not just pleasure and connection.

Part of the hidden dynamic that can occur is that the higher desire partner relies on validation from his or her partner to feel important, loved, desirable, or worthy as a lover. Your elevated level of desire may stem from a need for reassurance, a need that gets increasingly urgent as more bedtimes pass without physical intimacy. Your partner can feel this, and they usually react to that feeling of “neediness” by having even less interest in sex.

A higher sex drive can mask other issues.

It’s also common to hide behind a lively sex drive, believing you are sexually evolved and enlightened. If the conversation continues to be about why your partner won’t have sex (or when they will or what you have do so they’ll consider it), it never shifts to what is the depth of meaning in the sex you’re having and how unfulfilled your partner may feel. You can have lots of interest in sex but still have plenty of issues around real intimacy; your libido can be a smokescreen for your challenge with true connection with your partner.

Higher desire partners often settle for crumbs.

Lastly, you may very well be accepting whatever sex you are offered, shelving your own desires, preferences and unique eroticism in order to keep the peace and get whatever scraps you can. You, again, are feeding a cycle that undermines your partner’s respect for you and cuts you off from your own integrity.

Challenge yourself and your partner to create a great sex life together.

If you find yourself falling into any of these traps, I suggest you take a deep breath and prepare to stand strong on your own two feet. Work to extricate your sense of value from the actions (and reactions) of your partner. Claim the validity of your desires and insist that they be considered. Get clear about your experience and your motivations, and reveal those to your partner with honesty, directness and a lack of defensiveness. Look deep and see where you are challenged in showing up, being seen, and having true moments of connection. Instead of blaming your partner and spending all your energy trying to “work their stuff,” figure out the ways in which this situation is about you and your own limitations. If you address those while remaining resolute in your desire for a sexual relationship, the situation will start to shift.

You might also enjoy:

Lower desire partner survival guide

Sexual desire – does one of you want more?

Emotional gridlock 


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