Men are always ready for sex, while women pretend to have headaches – that’s the stereotype of mismatched libido in heterosexual relationships. But for some couples it’s actually women who want sex more often.

A recent study surveyed Australian men and women aged from 16 to 64 years old. It found that 42% of the women were unhappy with the frequency of sex in their relationship (compared to 54% of men) and for the majority of them it was because they wanted more sex.

Natural causes

There is usually euphoria and high sexual desire for couples in the first six to 24 months of a relationship. But then libido naturally falls to a level that is typical for each man and woman. This is when any differences can show up. In some cases, it is the woman’s libido that ends up higher.

As the relationship continues, libido can continue changing. For men sexual desire usually decreases with age, for women it increases from the 20s until menopause (around 50) and then decreases.

Individuals also vary, depending on what’s happening in your life. For men, for example, stress (e.g. finances, children) and medical conditions (e.g. diabetes, depression) can decrease libido.

What to do?

Mismatched libido can cause reduced satisfaction in a relationship or, even worse, separation or divorce. So seeking professional advice, such as from your doctor or psychologist, is recommended. Their advice may include:

  • Seeing this as an opportunity to improve communications and talk about sex in a positive manner.
  • Learning to compromise and provide some of what each other wants.
  • Masturbation to help satisfy desire for the woman.
  • Less fantasising by the woman to reduce her desire and more fantasising by the man to increase his desire.

For more information visit www.kinseyconfidential.org www.sexualityandu.ca

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