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Libido Mismatch

The old joke is a nymphomaniac is anyone that has more sex than the therapist. A mismatch in libidos is not fun on either side. The higher libido partner often struggles with feelings of rejection, not being good enough, or weakening self identity. The lower libido partner often sees the pain in their partner and withdraw any form of affection that may give their partner hope or encourage their partner to pressure them to perform.

We often recognize two types of libido mismatch:

  • Lifelong. This can come from life long medical conditions, what we are taught about sex growing up, personal attitudes towards sex, and / or sexual trauma.


  •  Situational. These come from phases of life changes
    • Exiting NRE / Limerence
    • Stress
    • Children –
      • Unfun Facts about Parenthood:
        • 70% of new parents report lessened happiness
        • Birth giver’s hormones do not return to “baseline” (which may not be the same baseline as before pregnancy) until a year after the birth or breast feeding stops, whichever comes last. Also, older children may knock on the door and be distracting.
    • Relationship issues
    • Negative body image
    • Illness
    • Reduced sensation
      • Common after:
        • Menopause
        • Pelvic radiation or surgery in diabetes
        • Other nerve dysfunction
    • Pain during sex


  •   Treatment
    • Education on waxing / waning of “lust”
    • Plan sex
      • Make dates
      • Focus on getting ready, not waiting for spontaneity
      • Erotica / porn
    • Encourage “responsive desire”
      • Being willing to say yes when partner initiates
      • Deepening body awareness as aging or illness changes
    • Treat causes of pain
    • Therapy for trauma and / or relationship issues


Have any thoughts, questions, suggestions, or comments on this article? Broken link? Wondering how to this can be applied, modified, or adapted to your polyamorous, swinging, kink/ BDSM, or otherwise interesting relationship? Feel free to reach out to us here.