Medically reviewed by Mary Lucas, RN
Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated 10/07/2020
Matching libidos are about as rare as simultaneous orgasms. It’s wonderful when they align, but it’s pretty uncommon. The longer you’re together, the more likely you’ll encounter times where one person will be inching towards the bedroom while the other is inching deeper into the couch.
For some couples, the person with the higher libido is actually the woman. This can be a tough situation to navigate for all involved. Luckily, with the right tact and elegance, a high libido in women is nothing us men can't handle.
When libidos don’t line up, it often feels like a scenario where someone inevitably loses. Either one partner doesn’t get what they want (having sex in that moment), or the other does something they don’t want (having sex without wanting it).
This is complicated enough to navigate, but another layer is added when it’s the woman with higher desire. This scenario flips our gender script on its head.
We’re taught that men always desire sex while women serve as sexual gatekeepers. Or, at the very least, that men typically have higher libidos.
It’s easy for men to shrug off her not being in the mood because they’re used to hearing “not right now.” Chalk it up to the extra testosterone flowing in you and try again later.
When the situation is reversed, it immediately feels “off.” A high libido in women is not the "conventional" norm, which can make both parties feel uncomfortably abnormal.
Since men are supposed to always desire sex, it can feel like an affront to your masculinity. Since women are supposed to always be able to turn their men on, it can feel like an affront to her femininity.
And it's important to remember that just like you going through instances of low sex drive, a high libido in women is completely normal. There's a whole lot of chemistry involved with making our bodies tick, and sometimes, those hormones get mixed up or changed around.
What hormone causes female arousal? Two hormones, estrogen and progesterone, can have an impact on increasing a woman's sex drive, depending on their levels.
The point is, as a result, the situation can stir up a number of negative emotions. She may misinterpret your temporary lack of desire as a lack of desire for her. She could feel deeply rejected and wounded. She may worry that the situation is indicative of deeper issues in your relationship.
At the same time, you may feel pressure to say yes. You may feel anxious about the impact of saying no. You may feel guilty about not wanting sex at that moment.
It takes a delicate approach to work through this scenario, but you can navigate it in a way that’s a win-win for you both.
Consider two things before turning down sex. First, can you get to a point where you would want sex? Of course, you should never go through the motions of sex when you’re not feeling it.
We would never tell a woman she should suck it up and reluctantly have sex to please her partner. It’s no different for men! But there’s a difference between “I’m not feeling it” and “I’m not feeling it at this moment”.
Maybe all you need it a little time, or *cough cough* a little help. It could be time to disconnect from work stress or digest more after a meal. Or maybe just a little more time of her playing with you to get you going.
Second, reframe how you view sex. Maybe you aren’t down for penetration. That’s fine! There are so many other ways to be sexually intimate. If you aren’t up for the aerobic workout of sex, how about lying on your sides and 69-ing? Maybe you don’t feel like being touched.
How about kissing her while she touches herself. That way, she still gets the orgasm and connection to you she seeks without you doing anything you don’t want. See if there’s a sexual option that satisfies her and you.
Or maybe use this as a time to try new things. Everybody loves a good sex session. But what about that one thing you saw on that one shady website?
Or that dream you had where she did that thing? Guys, the point is, the possibilities are endless. If you're looking to try new things or discover new sides of yourself in (and maybe out of) the bedroom, might we suggest starting here.
Sometimes though, you just won’t feel like being sexual at all. You’re entitled to feel that and you shouldn’t push through it to please a partner. But how you respond affects how she will interpret the situation (and, in turn, how she feels about it).
First, reassure her about what’s really at play. Make sure she knows it’s nothing to do with her or your relationship.
You don’t need to give a reason beyond “I’m not feeling it” but elaborating can really help squash her fears. If you’re just too tired, stressed, full, whatever, let her know.
Second, figure out what her motivation for sex is. Sometimes, it’s about more than sex. If she’s seeking stress relief, watch a comedy show while you massage her shoulders. If she wants an orgasm, encourage her to play with herself while you do something else.
If she wants affection, cuddling may cut it. The most beautiful thing about intimate sex with someone you care about is that it fills a lot of different roles in our lives. With a bit of intentionality, you’ll be able to find a way to meet her desires while also respecting your temporary lack of desire.
The most important thing to remember here is that however you're feeling about sex is okay. We all go through bouts of disinterest in sex, . Keeping that flame alive is something that takes time, effort, trust and, perhaps most of all, patience.
However, if you notice that this is more than a momentary or temporary thing, it may be worth seeing a doctor. Low libido and reduced sex drive are indicative of some potential health issues, including (most commonly), low testosterone.
If low sex drive is something you have trouble with for some time, it may be worth seeking out therapy, too. There's nothing wrong with how you're feeling, but perhaps there are some underlying issues that could use addressing.
When it comes to issues like these, it's best to leave no stone unturned. Knowledge is power.
Or perhaps it's your diet? There are a lot of foods out there that can mess with your libido and erectile function. Things like processed meats and cheeses, alcohol and other drugs, shrimp (lol), high sodium foods, etc.
Hell, even diet soda is guilty because of the aspartame in it, which has been proven to inhibit the production of serotonin and dopamine (our feel-good hormones).
There are a ton of resources out there about diet and sex drive, but if you want a few foods that are surefire libido boosters, try any of these high libido foods.
No matter what, just remember to keep things in perspective. How you're feeling and what you're going through is normal.
Your partner will understand, so long as you're open to communicating with them. And most likely, your "issues" are likely treatable, if you want to go that route.