Mismatched Sex Drives and What You Can Do About It

mismatched sex drives

Have you and your husband struggled with mismatched sex drives? If so, you are not alone. Mismatched sex drives are common in marriage.   Maybe you want sex once a week and he is eager for sex every night, or vice versa—you want sex more often and he is satisfied with less frequent lovemaking.

Just to be clear, we aren’t talking about ongoing sexual refusal, where one spouse wants a reasonable amount of sexual intimacy and the other spouse rarely or never wants sex. That’s a more serious disconnect beyond the dilemma of “mismatched sex drives.”

What we are talking about is when a disagreement about the frequency of sex continues to make its way into your hearts and home.

So how often is often enough when it comes to lovemaking? Every couple is different, so there is never going to be a number that fits universally across the board. Even so, you and your husband need to be making love at least regularly enough that your sexual bond is mutually-valued and enjoyed.

If mismatched sex drives are derailing your sexual connection with your husband, don’t wait for the struggle to sort itself out.

Here are three ideas that could help you and your husband reach a happy truce about your mismatched sex drives:

1. Consider what affects sex drive.

It’s no shocker that a variety of things affect your desire to have sex, including hormones, relationship dynamics, self-esteem, and physical energy. The same is true of your husband.

The good news is that you and your husband can positively influence most of these variables. For example, if tiredness is taking a toll on your sexual desire, be intentional as a couple in finding ways to gain more margin in your life. If hormones for either of you seem to be off kilter, visit your health care professional to explore options. And if the lack of emotional intimacy in your marriage is fueling your mismatched sex drives, then work on your friendship as much as your romance.

2. Remember the purpose of sex in a marriage.

Disagreeing about sexual frequency can consume us if we let it. When that happens, we quickly lose sight of the purpose of sex in marriage. Sure, sex is for procreation, but its value goes way beyond baby-making. Nurtured sexual intimacy helps you build a shared sense of vision for the marriage and reminds each of you of your unique bond before God.

If you and your husband are arguing about your mismatched sex drives, take a breath. Stop seeing each other as an opponent. Focus instead on what nurtured sexual intimacy does for your relationship. Instead of spiraling into blame, bitterness, and disappointment about your mismatched sex drives, pour that energy into expressing what you each need for sex to be more enjoyable. Be specific. Be intentional.

3. Trust in the art of compromise.

The essence of marriage is that it is a place of compromise. {Tweet This} One person can’t always “win” at the expense of the other person. If your sex drives are far apart, try to find a satisfying place in the middle, whereby one of you agrees to a little less sex and one of you agrees to a little more sex. This sets a generally positive tone about sex in your relationship.

There’s also something to be said for “taking one for the team.” With this concept, each spouse gives in at times for the sake of the marriage. The lower drive spouse occasionally engages sexually even if not in the mood, and the higher drive spouse occasionally backs off sexually out of respect for their spouse. The key to this working successfully is that you use this approach occasionally, rather than consistently.

Rare is the couple that can completely align their sex drives. Yet with grace and compassion, many couples find ways to not let mismatched sex drives sabotage their sexual connection completely.

Readers, how have you handled this issue?

In The Comments

If you and your husband are struggling with mis-matched sex drives, how can the two of you work together to bridge the gap in your drives?


  • Mama Nez

    So discouraging that only one person has commented.

  • Ruby Price

    It turns out that my extremely low drive came because I entered peri-menopause at 25. Now at 32 I hit full early menopause & while it’s thrown me for a loop, to put it mildly, once I realized what was happening exactly it was easier to overcome. My husband stayed at my side 100% for almost 3 years with no sexual intimacy. We blamed it on a new medication we both started taking & just never started back up again. We stayed absolute best friends, still spent every moment together, didn’t drift apart, he didn’t stray from me, which most men probably would have. I’m very lucky to have him. After 9 years of marriage we continue to grow closer & closer. I don’t know what I did to deserve him, but I’ll not look a gift horse in the mouth.

    Fast forward to March 6, 2017, my very good friend died of cancer. It snapped me out of my hormone (or lack of) induced depression and sexual void. Nothing like facing your own mortality to give you a wake up call. Within 2 days of being intimate my body went into full blown menopause mode, not just symptoms of peri, the before stage. I’m assuming he got my hormones pumping, or what was left of them. Hot flashes every 10 minutes all day & night as long as I’m awake, severe crying spells, panic attacks, feeling like I’m having a heart attack (panic attacks do that, & panic attacks are a symptom of Menopause)

    I feel so dumb for wasting 3 years of our beautiful marriage together! If you are irregular in cycles & have a low drive, please don’t ignore it like I did. They can keep you out of it with hormones! The earlier you experience it, the more severe the symptoms. A 25 yr old that goes through menopause, if left untreated can have the bones of a 70 yr old by the time she’s 40. It’s no joke! Premature Ovarian Failure aka Early Menopause affects 1 in 1,000. You’re more likely to experience it early if other women in your family did. Both my aunts started at 35 & my mother started a bit early at 43.

    I feel like a 60 year old woman at 32 because of this. Like my youth & femininity has left me in exchange for brittle bones and a barren wasteland of thin skin, too much emotion, and no ability to have children. However my sex drive has come roaring back! I’ve been joking with him that he’s now got a wife with the libido of a 16 year old, no, TWO 16 year olds! (16+16=32, my age, clever no? lol)