When you first met your partner, the chances are you didn’t even consider that either of you would have different sexual appetites. You probably couldn’t keep your hands off each other! Sex was easy and didn’t take any effort.

As a relationship settles down, you get into a routine. Instead of dressing up and going out together you just relax on the sofa, watching TV, working on laptops, playing games consoles or texting on your phones.
By the time you get to bed one or the other of you is shattered. Instead of sliding into slinky nightwear you throw on an old T-shirt and snuggle under the duvet. If he starts kissing the back of your neck, you push him off, telling him you just want to go to sleep.

Or perhaps it’s you that’s turned on, and he is the one who rejects your advances. Of course, there are times when this happens in every relationship. Whether it’s the kids, the job or you’re not feeling great, you can’t always turn on your libido to order. But if this is a regular pattern and one or other of you are feeling unhappy or rejected, then it’s time to sit down and really talk about this issue.

To be honest, I am amazed at the number of couples who are unable to talk about sex, even when things are going well! There are no discussions about likes or dislikes or frequency. It’s like the sex fairy will fix it all miraculously without any help from the two actually involved.

What happens when you each have different sex desires?

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This can be such a tricky issue, because unless addressed, it will lead to one of you feeling under pressure or rejected. It’s one of those situations that can lead to an affair or a relationship breakdown.

When your sexual advances are rejected it can feel like you are being rejected, that you are no longer attractive or desirable, that your partner doesn’t fancy you anymore. It’s important to avoid mudslinging at your partner or making personal comments, as they
are probably feeling bad enough about the situation as it is, so this may drive a further wedge between you.

The one with the lower sex drive is likely to have all the control and dictate the frequency, as they hold all the cards. If ignored, this can get played out in other areas of the relationship, so deal with it!

Forcing someone to have sex is not the way to go. The sex won’t be great and your partner will become resentful which could make the situation worse. You may feel sexual satisfaction, but you won’t have a real emotional connection with your partner.

Rule out medical issues

There are several physical conditions that can affect either gender. Certain medications can affect sexual drive or a man’s ability to get or sustain an erection. For women, hormones can play havoc with a woman’s mood, (I’m sure that’s not news to you) affecting libido. Childbirth can also have an effect, especially if the vagina had to be cut and there is
damage as a result.

Vaginal dryness can cause pain which can be alleviated with the use of lubricants. Vaginismus is a condition where the vagina tightens and causes pain when intercourse is attempted.

However, none of these issues should stop you from having sex. It doesn’t always have to be penetrative sex to be enjoyable. Our erogenous zones aren’t confined to our genitals! Caressing, kissing and massaging all feel pleasurable and most women don’t orgasm through penetrative sex anyway.

Fact – women are actually more likely to achieve a clitoral orgasm.

Take the focus off SEX

It may be you need to stop making the focus all about sex for a while, because that can just add to the problem. If one person feels under pressure it may just turn them off, or they may experience performance anxiety and not want to experience failure or let you down. Cuddling and kissing without there being any pressure to take it further can often lead to full sex taking place.

Talking about your fantasies is also another way of encouraging sexual desire, but, before carrying out any of these fantasies, do get each other’s full approval at all times.

There are times when you have to take responsibility for satisfying your own needs, as you can’t expect your partner to take care of each and every desire. If you are not already masturbating then this is a way to satisfy your needs. Your partner may be happy to take part, but at other times you may be pleasuring yourself alone. It’s quite normal and can be helpful too as you may discover things that feel good that you can share with your partner, so your sex together becomes even more pleasurable. Just don’t become resentful about it towards your partner, any more than when one of you needs more sleep than the other.

Porn can make it worse

I’m no prude, and watching porn can increase libido, but a word of warning, it can be really damaging. It’s not about real connections or relationships, but some people actually believe that is what their sex should be like. Porn not only objectifies women, it also leads men to feel they have to sustain an erection for an unrealistic period of time. As a result they can suffer performance anxiety, resulting in no erection at all. People can start to compare themselves to the ‘performers’, leaving them feeling inadequate, either in body image or performance.

Constantly watching porn can become addictive, to the point it replaces real sex. Research shows that because it triggers the reward system in the brain it starts pumping out dopamine and other chemicals that make it easier to want more of it (just like with other addictive behaviours). Continual watching often causes de-sensitisation, so the viewer doesn’t get the dopamine high they did before. So, they seek out hard porn (just as drug
users may move on to harder drugs) to get the high they crave.
This can lead to couples becoming even less connected.


So many people I work with turn to alcohol to help them get over their sexual anxieties. Sadly, it often makes it worse, as alcohol is a depressant and can affect sexual desire and stop a guy getting an erection. Many arguments between couples are alcohol fuelled, and if there are differences in sexual desires it can all come out when inhibitions are lowered by alcohol.
If resentments are aired and personal comments made, it can result in hostilities not just in the bedroom, but in the relationship as a whole.

What you can do to resolve the problems.
The most important thing is to talk to each other, calmly and in a loving caring way, without making accusations. You are in this together. You are a team. As such you want to resolve it together.
Get over any embarrassment. It’s such a common situation, and you need to talk about it openly.
•See a GP to rule out any medical issues.
•See a sex therapist, they are experts in helping in situations like these.
Finally, pay attention to each other in other areas of your life. Small gestures that show love and care for each other can really encourage desire in the bedroom.

Helping individuals and couples overcome past negative events and traumas that are holding them back from having the life they really want and deserve. www.wendycapewell.co.uk
Author ~ podcaster ~ speaker~ coach.
Changing the world one person at a time.

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