Lesbian Sex Drives: When Your Sex Drives Are Not the Same

If there is one question I get more than any other, it’s from couples who have different sex drives. They’re too embarrassed to talk to their friends about it and with each other, the issue becomes so heated they can't talk about it. Both partners are left frustrated with no place to turn.

The first thing you need to know is that you are not alone. According to Michelle Weiner-Davis, author of The Sex-Starved Marriage, one in every three couples suffers from sex drive differences. She, of course, is writing about straight married couples, but therapists that I know assure me that this is the number one issue that couples come into counseling for: whether lesbian, gay or straight.

Yet, despite it’s prevalence, it seems we have very few tools to deal with this issue. Some people have low sex drives. Others have high sex drives. You may be very happy to have sex one or two times a year. Your partner might want it every day. You might feel like you’re the one to always initiate sex and most times your advances are turned down. You feel rejected, unloved, unattractive and insecure. How can you talk about this range of emotions with your partner, when she just “doesn’t get it?”
Likewise, if you are the one who has a lower sex drive, you don’t understand what the big fuss is. You show her you love her everyday by cuddling, telling her you love her and doing little things for her around the house. Sex just isn’t that important to you. You express your closeness, intimacy and love in a different way.

Having a low or high sex drive is not the issue. How it affects your relationship is. If one of you loves to go to the movies and the other doesn’t, no big deal. She can go alone, or find a friend to go with. Sex, however, is quite a different matter. Sure you can masturbate. And you should. Masturbation can solve your need for orgasm, but it doesn’t fulfill that part of you that longs to be close to your partner, experience passion with another person and feel sexy and desired.

Why is this an Issue?

I hear time and time again from lesbians, after they break up, that lack of sex was an issue. They loved their partner deeply, but just didn’t want to live a sexless life. Others are just frustrated because their partners expect them to be monogamous, yet, aren’t having sex with them. Some step out and have affairs. Dealing with different sex drives is not something that will just go away if you ignore it. This article will help you explore some solutions for getting your relationship back.

What Can You Do: If You’re The One with a Low Sexual Drive

First and foremost, find a way to talk about the issue with your partner. Communication and understanding are key to solving this problem. Do you understand why you have a low sex drive? Are you taking medications that affect your libido? Are you depressed or do you have a poor body image? Were you the victim of sexual abuse and does that affect your ability to be intimate?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions, they are all valid reasons for having a low sex drive. But they are also issues that can be addressed with a professional--a therapist, your doctor. It’s your life. Take control of it!

Recognize Your Power

The person in the relationship with a low sex drive is often the one who controls how often the couple will have sex. Your partner initiates, you turn her down, no sex happens. Isn’t a relationship supposed to be 50/50, sharing and taking care of one another? In an ideal world, I guess. But the reality is, nothing in a relationship is equal. If one of you makes more money than the other, there can be a power imbalance. In the case of sex, it’s the one with less who usually has to power. She asks, you turn her down. You might not even care, or want to change. That too gives you power. But if your lack of sex drive is causing problems in your relationship, you need to make some changes too. Here are some ideas to try.

Have Sex

You may not feel like having sex. You’re not in the mood, you’re tired and you just want to sit on the couch eat ice cream and watch American Idol. But your lover is giving you that look, she’s rubbing your feet and her hands are starting to move up your body….what do you do? Yes, you have a right to say no. No one should be made to do something they don’t want to, but why not say “yes” for a change? The way human sexual response works is that many people may not start out “in the mood,” but once they get going, their sexual energy rises and they end up getting aroused and enjoying sex. Why not see if that works for you?

From time to time it is okay to have sex with your partner just to do so. Even if your needs are not satisfied, it is okay to do something for her and for her only from time to time. Pretend it’s her birthday and this is the one gift she really wants.

Take Charge of Your Limitations

Do you only want sex on weekends, while on vacation or after you’ve had a long bath? If you know that’s what you need to get in the right frame of mind for sex, then do those things. And then invite your partner to join you for love-making.

Make Yourself Sexy

When couples first get together, they usually have great sex, and then gradually it slows down. Aside from the hormones that were racing through your body, there were probably some things you did to make yourself sexy for your partner. Did you dress in sexy outfits, go out dancing or make sensuous meals and feed each other? Think back to a time when you did feel sexy and sexual and see if you can bring some of that back into your life. Likewise, have you gained weight, let your hair go or stopped working out now that you’re “settled?” If you don’t feel good about yourself, you’re not going to feel good about someone else getting intimate with you. Head back to the gym, buy a new outfit or get a sexy new haircut. Really, these things will help your sex life.

Don’t Just Say No

If you really don’t feel like having sex, instead of saying “No, Honey, not tonight. I’m tired.” Instead give her another option. How about on Saturday after your softball game? Or if you give me a back rub, then I’ll get in the mood.

For the Partner With the Higher Sex Drive: What Can You Do?

You love your partner. Sometimes just looking at her, you get turned on. She is sexy and funny and smart and you can’t wait to show her how you feel by making love to her. In your mind, you make a move and she’s right there with you. You fall together and make passionate love for hours. In reality, you make a move, she tells you she’s tired or not in the mood and you feel dejected and want to crawl into a corner. It wouldn’t be so bad, except you haven’t made love in months and it’s really starting to affect your self-esteem. You think she doesn’t love you anymore, she finds you unattractive or is mad at you about something else. Probably none of that is true. Your lover just has a lower sex drive than you. She expresses her love to you in different ways and she doesn’t quite get your need to be intimate all the time. “Isn’t cuddling enough?” she wants to know. So, what can you do? Here are some things to try:

Try to See Things Her Way

Most women who lose their sexual desire still find their partners attractive, good mates and love them very much. It’s just that they have a low libido. Every time she turns you down, she feels guilty. She doesn’t understand why she feels this way (or even if she does, she doesn’t know what to do to change it.) All she can see is that she’s making you unhappy, that you blame her for your unfulfilled needs and she wishes the whole problem would just go away!

Don’t Blame

It may be hard, but instead of blaming the problem on your wife’s lack of libido, take a look at yourself and see if there is anything you have been doing that might make her feel less than amorous. Have you been fighting a lot about other things? Is she taking on most of the burdens of the household? Is she really stressed out about something that you can help to alleviate--like trying to juggle care for her aging parents and her children while holding down two part-time jobs? Who would want to have sex with all that going on? If there is a way you can step in and help, do so.

Stop Pushing on the Same Door

You’re not having sex as often as you like. Your wife knows this. You know this. You’ve hinted at it. You’ve made moves, only to be rejected. You’re frustrated and it shows, so every time she pushes you away, you get hostile or hurt. And you continue to do the same thing over and over, even though it is not helping the situation. In order for things to change, you need to change your tactics. You’ve gotten into a negative pattern here and one of you needs to stop it. Try doing the exact opposite of what you’ve done in the past. Try NOT initiating sex for 3-4 weeks. See what happens. Try being affectionate without it turning into a request for sex. The next time she turns you down, try saying, “Okay, I just want you to know I love you.”

Meet her Needs

Does she need a romantic dinner, candles and sexy music to get in the mood? Does watching a sexy movie turn her on? If that’s what it takes, then do it. But don’t spring it on her as a surprise and then expect sex. Let her know you’d like to plan a sexy evening and ask her what it would take to get her juices flowing. Likewise, is there something in bed that would especially turn her on? Does she like oral sex, but you don’t like it? Does she feel unfulfilled unless there’s penetration? Make sure that you’re willing to do what she does want when the time comes to make love.

Let her Know How You Feel

Does she realize how serious the situation is? Because sex isn’t that important to her, she probably doesn’t realize what it means to you. Talk to her, but not in an accusing way. Use “I” statements, telling her that when she refuses you, you feel as if she doesn’t love you, is not attracted to you and like there’s something wrong with you.

You’re not Right, She’s Not Wrong

Stop looking at your lack of sex as a problem with her that she has to change. Instead, look at it as a problem with the relationship. This may seem like a subtle thing, but once you remove the blame from her and put it on the relationship, then it is something both of you can work to fix.

Get Intimate Without Having Sex

Agree to be intimate and not to have sex. Spend time kissing, giving her a foot or body massage, laying in each other’s arms, slow dance. Agree beforehand that you will not have sex. Then don’t. It’s very important to keep this promise to her, even if the above activities get you turned on. She needs to know that you can be intimate without it always having to lead to sex.

Does Something Need to Change?

Are there other issues in your relationship that need to be addressed? Do you put her down, belittle her, not pay attention her dreams and desires? To have good sex, your relationship has to be good too.

Define What You Want

What is it that you do want from your partner? Do you want sex once a week? For her to initiate from time to time? For her to be more affectionate outside of the bedroom? Try to be clear, don’t just say, “We never have sex. I want sex more.” Set a goal, even if you never share it with her. Like any goal, it will take time and steps to get there. If you haven’t had sex in six months, a goal of sex three times a week may not be achievable. And you’re certainly not going to get there this week. A step toward this goal might be simply to talk about the issue without fighting. Or spending the evening cuddling on the couch.

Get Professional Help

If you and your mate are at a stalemate and you can’t seem to work through this issue, then, please do see a good couples counselor. It may be the thing that saves your relationship.