This article focuses on longer term couples. You probably remember when you and your partner first got together. If you were like most new couples, you probably couldn’t keep your hands off of each other. Sex was a top priority and nothing got in the way of having sex at any opportunity. Obviously, this type of hot and heavy behavior cools over time. It’s natural and not a problem as long as both of you experience the same declining libido at the same time. What typically happens, however, is that one partner will continue to want sex frequently while the other would rather just read some good books.

It may not surprise you to learn that the partner with the higher libido is usually the man. This is true in two thirds of the couples seen by sex therapists. While society generally accepts the fact that men are simply horny creatures that think about sex all the time, the one third of cases where the women are more interested sexually seem to puzzle people. This leads to name calling during the sexual fights between couples.

An unfortunate side effect of those libido differences is that it puts a halt to nonsexual affection between each other. The partners that are more sexually interested tend to try initiating the hugs and cuddles but the partners with the lower libido will shy away because they feel that it is only a precursor to sex. This causes a lot of intimacy to leave the relationship or marriage.

For those couples with this glaring and problematic sexual imbalance, it is vital to work something out so that both partners are happy with their relationship. There are ways to resolve this that will promote a closer and happier relationship. A written sex agreement is a good way to start. Following are 10 ways that sex therapists recommend to couples with this issue:

  1. Talk it over: Yes, it may be difficult to find that perfect moment to broach the subject of how to reach a compromise. This might actually be the most difficult of all the steps to get through because it can be very touchy and hard to talk through without arguing.
  2. What do you really want: Each partner must decide what the biggest issue is for them. Does the partner with the higher libido really want sex or are they looking to have other needs met such as affection or proof of their partner’s love? Does the partner with the lower libido really not want to have sex so much or are they rebelling against some sort of control issue? It’s hard to figure these things out unless you talk about them calmly and rationally. In spite of libido differences, couples generally feel closer if they cuddle and go out together to do fun things.
  3. Negotiate the compromise of frequency: Take into consideration the frequency that each partner wants to have sex. For instance, if one partner wants to have sex twice weekly and the other partner is good with once a month, you may be able to work it out to once a week or something along those lines. The challenge here is to find the compromise that works for both of you.
  4. Schedule sex dates: This is something that will solve a couple of the more serious issues. When sex is scheduled to happen on a particular date, the partner with the higher libido knows that sex is occurring on that date. The partner with lower libido can relax because sex isn’t expected to happen until the scheduled date. Setting a sex date can help relationship tensions fade quickly.
  5. Not in the mood on the sex date: This is the fear of the lower libido partners because they don’t want to have to do something that they don’t want to do. It usually turns out to be less of problem than anticipated. Since scheduling lessens tension over sex, it makes for improvement in the relationship and helps the less interested partner to anticipate the sex date.
  6. Stick to the schedule: This means that both partners must not try to keep changing things. The higher libido partners must not beg for more sex and the less interested partner cannot cancel sex dates for stupid reasons.
  7. Cuddle: When couples get used to scheduled sex, then the nonsexual affection returns to the relationship. This means that hugging and cuddling can be initiated without fear of being misinterpreted. Cuddling can start to mean something pleasurable once more.
  8. Don’t fight over sex: That’s the whole point of the sex date. There’s no reason to argue over sex now that both partners know when it is going to happen. Fighting over it will simply create more tension.
  9. Be romantic: Sex doesn’t have to be just about the physical act. Throw in a little something extra on the sex date like candles, incense, flowers, and even some fruit with whipped cream. This can be included in your sexual contract, anything is possible – it is your unique arrangement.
  10. If all else fails, see a counselor: If you have tried everything and neither of you is happy, it may be time to pull out the big guns in the form of a counselor or therapist trained to specialize in sexual problems.

When a couple is truly motivated to work on their sexual issues together, they can usually manage a successful outcome. However, it will take some effort to resolve these differences on both parts so it’s important to know how you want things to go.