Ask Scary Mommy is Scary Mommy’s advice column, where our team of “experts” answers all the questions you have about life, love, body image, friends, parenting, and anything else that’s confusing you.
This week: What do you do when your sex drive doesn’t align with your partner’s? Like…at all? Have your own questions? Email email@example.com
Dear Scary Mommy,
My husband’s sex drive has been an issue for most of our relationship. Once we got past the beginning stage where everything is hot and new, it’s like he just…stopped being interested. We have two kids, so obviously we’re not totally sexless. But I’ve stopped trying to initiate intimacy because I’m tired of being rebuffed. I’m not a nympho or anything, but I’d like to get busy with my husband when I want to get busy with my husband, you know? He insists it has nothing to do with me and everything to do with him, but I don’t know what that means. He hates talking about it. So how can we work through this if he won’t put in the work at all?
Having mismatched libidos is, truly, a very common thing in relationships—especially people who have been together for a long time, and it sounds like that’s you and your husband. But just because it’s normal doesn’t mean it’s something either of you has to accept at face value.
Solving this problem (or at least finding ways to adapt to one another’s varying sexual needs) is going to require communication and actual work. You and your husband need to talk about it, as reluctant as he is to do so. Tell him how important it is to you to feel connected to him through intimacy because you love him and you want to feel close to him in this way, like spouses do.
If he’s willing to get past the initial awkwardness and answering the tough questions, figuring out how often you both want to have sex and understand one another’s needs. Maybe he’s dealing with a lot of internal insecurity—about his body, about his sex drive (or lack thereof), or about his mental health. He’s right—it’s not you. In cases like this, it very rarely has much to do with the other partner and everything to do with unprocessed issues and stress with the person who has the lower sex drive.
Once you both lay it all out in the open, finding empathy for one another can lead to finding a solution that works for both of you. Maybe you’ll both discover new ways to feel intimate through experimentation.
Most importantly here is the communication. Not just the initial talks, but the ongoing commitment to staying in tune with each other inside and outside the bedroom. Both of you have to feel valued in your non-intimate life together in order to feel desire and satisfaction through sex.
I wish you both luck, love, and sexual fulfillment. Keep me posted.