13 Jun Libidos come in all shapes and sizes too
Did you know you and your partner might have different forces that drive your sex drive? This is what’s known as having mismatched libidos, or differing sexual needs, expectations, and/or desires.
Dr. Sandra Pertot is a clinical psychologist and sex therapist who specialises in issues of couples’ libidos. Through her longstanding work helping couples overcome sexual difficulties, she’s identified 10 common libido types that people tend to have.
Which one are you? What about your partner?
Sensual: Emotional intimacy is more important to me during sex than sexual performance
Erotic: I only feel emotional closeness with someone who is sexually passionate
Dependent: I need sex to cope with my life
Entitled: I should get the sex life I want when I am in a committed relationship
Addictive: I find it difficult to resist sex with other partners despite being in a long-term relationship
Reactive: My sexual satisfaction only comes from pleasing my partner
Stressed: Although I feel sexual desire, I avoid sex because I worry I can’t please my partner
Disinterested: I don’t think it would bother me if I never had sex again
Detached: I’m not worried about sex; it’s just easier to relieve sexual frustration with masturbation
Compulsive: I find it difficult to arouse and enjoy sex unless I involve a special object or situation
If you have an Erotic libido type, but your partner has a Disinterested libido type, is your relationship doomed? Not necessarily!
Dr. Pertot recommends understanding the ‘Cycle of Misunderstanding’ which helps couples to clarify their expectations around sex, issues initiating sex, reactions to differences in sex (judgmental? understanding?), and communication and possible misinterpretations around sex.
Some tips to get you going:
- Find out what kind of libido type you and your partner have. You can ask yourself, which of the above libido types feels most like me?
- Knowing your libido types, try having an open discussion with your partner about expectations. How often do you both like to have sex or sexual touch? What does sex need to be in order to feel satisfying? Are your expectations realistic based on your combined styles? How can you reach a mutual agreement based on each other’s needs?
- Be mindful about your reactions to your partner’s sex drive – when they want more sex or turn you down, what do you do?
- Communicate your sexual likes and dislikes – don’t expect your partner to be a mind reader. What puts you in the mood? What do you like that your partner does? Try maximising the positives, and minimising the negatives. Having a road map for your partner based on their style, and vice versa, means you’ll both know exactly how to turn each other on.
Check out Sandra Pertot’s book When Your Sex Drives Don’t Match for some further reading on practical tips and in depth discussion about the 10 libido types.
Finally, remember that our libidos can change based on various life stages or circumstances too. Things like age, stress, pregnancy and the post-partum period, lack of sleep, drinking and drug taking, and affairs in the relationship – all of these have the potential to make your sexual desires and needs fluctuate.
When couples try to have sex when one or both partners aren’t really into it, it’s just going to cause more distance and disconnection in your sex life. Having an open-minded and go-with-the-flow attitude about sex will likely help get the juices flowing.