Jo Knows: Uneven Sex Drives

Dear Jo,

I’ve been with my boyfriend for a really long time now, and everything is [mostly] wonderful – he’s sweet, smart and really supportive of me. There is just one things that keeps being an issue… my sex drive is much higher than his. When we first moved in together about a year after dating I’d try to initiate sex, but then just ended up rejected about 90% of the time. It made me super insecure and upset. When we do have sex, it’s really great and passionate, so in my mind I’d think that he’d want to do it more! Over the years, things have gotten a little better – I’m more open about my needs and he’s more sensitive about letting me down if he’s not in the mood. I would say altogether we have sex twice a week (which may be normal for couple who have been together for several years), but it’s not super spontaneous and I’d like to do it more.  

When I look online there is basically zero good advice for women who are dealing with their boyfriends lower sex drive. There are only things about how he’s probably not into you, or he’s cheating, or being seductive is something that you need to work harder at… all of them stereotypical and kind of offensive. Should I give up on trying to change his sex drive and just make better friends with my vibrator? Or are there any ‘tricks/techniques’ up your sleeve for boosting his sexual appetite?


Committed And Frustrated


Dear C & F,

First and foremost, you are not alone! The typical narrative is always one featuring the horndog man and the chased after woman. We are conditioned to be the pursued and expect to only ever have to reject advances, so what happens when ours are rejected instead? As you said, insecurity and hurt feelings follow. So first of all, let go of the blame and shame. When it comes to libido, don’t think in terms of more or less; think in terms of different.

If his sex drive is lower than yours, that may be a mismatch you have to cope with. That being said, I don’t think this is a deal breaker or something to despair over. Really aren’t there always mild (or maybe not so mild) imbalances in every relationship? Maybe one partner communicates better than the other does, or maybe one is more financially responsible and the other is more romantic, etc. The libido mismatch is tricky because ideally you not only want your partner to have sex with you; you want them to want to have sex with you. You can harangue your significant other into begrudgingly cleaning the bathroom, but no one wants an eye roll and exasperated sigh as you grab the lube. So how do you make sex with a long-term partner feel less like a chore? Because let’s be honest, it can sometimes feel that way after a few years.

The key is to take the pressure off “fixing” the problem and see if you can just enjoy each other and both feel fulfilled. Focus less on quantity and more on quality. Sometimes we forget that sex should be fun.  Sometimes it should even be funny. When we fall in love, sex takes on this massive and unfair significance and we obnoxiously call it “making love.” But lets be real, parts of one body are going into another and hilarity often ensues. Rediscover the fun (and funny) with your boyfriend. Change it up and for god’s sake, don’t take it so seriously. Maybe you bang out a five-minute quickie and the next time just hang out naked in bed for a few hours. Get some costumes or buy some toys (Good Vibes is a great sex-positive store to shop from). Try reading a dirty book together – there are thousands of well-written erotic novels. Some of my favorites are: Morning, Noon and Night which is written by a couple for couples and has something for everyone; The Big Book of Orgasms is a collection of stories great for those who like to cut to the chase; Story of O, a classic BDSM novel and not for the faint of heart, but sexy and beautifully written. The possibilities are endless.

All that being said, your suggestion to get a little closer with your vibrator is a good one. Girl, you do you. Literally. This is not a simple problem with a simple one-part solution. Use all the tools and strategies at your disposal. Take some pressure off him and take care of yourself. Maybe even let him watch.


Jo Knows is a new advice column where my friend, Joanna, tackles any and all of your questions every other week. Nothing is off the table (think: sex, depression, career, family, dating, etc), and all questions will be published anonymously.

Email hi3chairs at gmail dot com. Thank you!


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