Ask Robin: "How Do You Deal With Mismatched Sex Drives?"
I've been with my boyfriend for just over two years. At first we were having sex pretty regularly, but now it seems like our libidos are totally mismatched. He's always too tired and seems happier watching Netflix, gaming, hanging out with friends... basically anything but getting naked. We probably have sex less than once a fortnight, and anything we do is always initiated by me. I'm feeling rejected and don't know how to bring it up with him.
The words 'normal' and 'healthy' get used way too much when people talk about sex drive, but the truth is, when it comes to your libido, there isn't really a 'normal'. A happy, fulfilling sex life can mean all kinds of things to different people, and while sex once a fortnight might totally satisfy one couple, for another it might be a sign that something's wrong.
Your sex drive will naturally change over time, for all sorts of reasons. Plus, even the most sexually active person will probably notice that it changes from day to day, whether that's due to hormonal changes, work stress or anything else life decides to throw at you.
Partners with perfectly matched libidos are rare... especially when there are so many other things we take into account when choosing a partner.
And, although you might feel like everyone is having more sex than you right now, what you're describing is something that happens to loads of couples, and it doesn't necessarily mean anything is 'wrong'.
After those first few months where you're discovering each other for the first time, a relationship can become a bit routine, especially if you're working or studying. That's when your sex life might benefit from a little nurturing, and you may need to check in with one another to find out if you're both happy with the way things are.
"Your sex drive will naturally change over
time for all sorts of reasons"
First of all, forget 'normal'. As soon as you have a number in your head, you're immediately putting pressure on yourself to stick to it, beat your own average or even compete with friends who claim to be doing it three times a night.
What's important is finding a rhythm that works for you – both as individuals and as a couple. And that means talking about what's happening right now, however much that scares you. Your boyfriend needs to know how you're feeling, and it's important to give him the chance to open up too.
Expectations and pressure are enough to send someone's libido sprinting for the hills, but they can also make people reluctant to open up. That's why you need to make him feel safe and comfortable enough to talk about personal stuff – especially if he tends to hold back a little bit in general. Try your best to emphasise the fact that you still really want to be intimate with him, and explain how the lack of physical connection is making you feel. I can't stress this enough: please do not blame him, or put him under pressure. Phrases like 'if you loved me you'd want to have sex with me more' and 'my last boyfriend and I were at it all the time' can be seriously hurtful and damaging.
Sometimes, when you haven't had sex for a while, the idea of doing it (even with someone you're super close to) can be daunting, so it may well be that a little encouragement and reassurance are what your boyfriend needs to feel more confident about initiating sex.
"Emphasise the fact that you still
really want to be intimate with him"
Of course, it's totally possible that your boyfriend's feeling so comfortable in the relationship he's just become a little bit complacent. Not ideal, but also not the end of the world. If going out with friends and gaming are swallowing up time you could be spending together, then it might be a good idea to schedule some time for just the two of you (as unspontaneous as that sounds).
And this is going to sound really boring, but never underestimate the benefits of an early night – as much as you're dying to watch another episode of that show, you're probably not going to feel like getting it on after a Making a Murderer binge session.
If it's as simple as your 'sex schedules' being at odds (say you're usually up for it at night, but he's turned on in the morning), then you might need to compromise, having sex at different times to see what works for you both, or alternating between morning and evening sex.
You say he's sometimes too tired for sex, so you could always get yourself a sex toy to take the pressure off him when he's sleepy – he can use it on you, or you can use it while he watches (chances are he'll join in when he sees how much you're enjoying yourself). Something small and non-intimidating like the Lovehoney Dream Bullet, the Womanizer Starlet or the Mantric Clitoral Vibrator can slip seamlessly into foreplay and sex if things get heated. If he's horny and it's you who's lacking in energy, the stretchy, tendril-textured Head Master stroker paired with some water-based lube can give you a helping hand.
"There's always room for
curiosity, spontaniety and 'newness'"
You may feel as close and familiar as two people can be, but there's always room for curiosity, spontaneity and 'newness' in your relationship. When you're in a bit of a routine, or you've got half an hour before a lecture, it's easy to head for the hot spots that you know will get the right results. A slow, lingering massage is a great way to reconnect, and to rediscover all those hidden erogenous zones you might have neglected lately. It doesn't have to end up with you having sex, but with the focus on pleasure, it might lead there anyway.
Scented massage oil, a lickable massage candle or a handheld massager can make the experience even more sensual, and a mini massage wand is a magic weapon that can soothe achy shoulders and give you amazing orgasms.
Don't forget to make time for non-sexual intimacy, too – sometimes it's not the actual sex that you crave, but the closeness. Take a shower together, ban phones and spend the morning in bed, write a list of places you'd like to visit together... simple acts like these can help to bring you closer and encourage you to remember the things that attracted you to each other in the first place.
3 Top Tips
1. Make time for intimacy, not just sex.
2. Check in with one another regularly to make sure you're both feeling happy about the sex you're having.
3. Forget what you think is 'normal' and find your own rhythm together.
4 Ideas for Better Foreplay
Shake up your routine with a sexy new toy or two...