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9 Tips for the Partner with a Higher Sex Drive

Great tips to even the sexual desire playing field!

If you are someone whose sexual desire needs no boosting, but your partner is not, that doesn’t mean that you sit back and wait for him or her to change—you are equally responsible for changing how you handle this issue. This post will offer you nine tips to approach your spouse in ways that will increase the likelihood that she or he will want to be close to you:

1. Don’t take it personally.

Differences in sexual desire among couples are very common. Although it is hard to have your advances rejected repeatedly without taking it personally, you need to remind yourself that a partner’s lack of interest in sex just may not be about you, your attractiveness, or your qualities as a human being. It may be a matter of a hormone deficiency or other physiological problems—or feelings the person has about himself or herself. Although you undoubtedly want things to change, try to develop a little empathy. Chances are, given the choice, he or she would prefer to feel turned on easily. It’s no picnic to feel disinterested in something your spouse or partner thrives on. He or she may feel inadequate, for example. The situation hurts you, but don’t underestimate how painful it is for your partner. Even if he or she acts defensively, your partner probably spends lots of time wondering why things aren’t easier between you. Try to be understanding.

2. Break free from the Catch-22.

If you are a man whose partner is less interested in sex than you, start paying attention to your friendship. Many women are wired this way—they can’t get turned on unless they feel close to you. This means doing the things that are important to her—doing things as a couple, pitching in more at home, being more available, and asking about her day. These are the things that can soften a woman’s heart. Do small things as well: Bring her a cup of coffee in the morning. Leave a note professing your love. Call her from work just to say you’re thinking of her. Bring home a single rose. Show your affection through random acts of kindness. She may be more likely to want to be close to you sexually when you do.

If your wife has been rejecting your advances, the last thing you might feel like doing is being kind and thoughtful. All I can say is that if you want to improve your sex life and your wife needs to feel close to you emotionally as a prerequisite, doing the things that bring you closer to her is the only way you are going to get there. You can either hold out because you’re angry, or break free of the Catch-22 and be loving. Experiment and watch what happens. Friendship is a great aphrodisiac.

If you are a woman and the more highly-sexual partner, the same theory applies: So many men have told me that their wives’ nagging about such issues really turns them off. Men can become passive-aggressive, agreeing to your demands but turning off to you emotionally and sexually. Why not approach things differently? You might feel hurt or rejected or unsexy because your spouse has been apathetic, but don’t be critical, be kind. Be complimentary. Catch your husband in the act of doing something right and tell him about it.

Look at your own behavior as well: Figure out what you might be doing that could be making your partner respond defensively. Become more of the person he wants you to be and he might become more of the person you want him to be.

3. Do something different.

Without knowing you, I can say with some certainty that your “more of the same” behavior has been to pursue your spouse for sex. And since this has become a heated, ongoing issue, you’ve gotten into roles with each other. You pursue him or her for sex, and he or she declines. The more you push, the more your partner feels pressured or angry and pulls away.

It’s time for you to try a new approach.

First, back off for a while. No matter how attracted you might be to your spouse or how ready you might be to make love, for a certain period of time you should commit to not approaching him or her. Do not initiate sex for a while and see what happens. Don’t talk about this plan; just back off and wait. Sometimes the lower-sexed person simply needs more time to allow his or her batteries to recharge. When the tug of war has ended, he or she might feel more amorous. It’s worth a shot.

Backing off isn’t easy, especially if you’re feeling turned on. But if you haven’t tried it yet, at least for a few weeks at a time, put this on your short list of things to try.

Also, stop talking about sex and focus on yourself for a change. You may have been so focused on your relationship, at least the sexual part of it, that you have probably put your other needs aside. Rather than arguing about what is or isn’t happening in your relationship, use the time to focus on yourself and find things to do that fulfill you. Go out with friends. Join a health club. Volunteer. Once your partner sees you focusing on yourself rather than your sex life, he or she just might want to be more involved in your life—in every way.

Or do a 180: Wouldn’t it just blow your partner’s mind if you were to tell him or her that you have been doing some reading and that you now have a better understanding about his or her feelings and you’re sorry about all the fighting? Think about it: Your partner has been making you feel like a sex maniac and you’ve been making him or her feel like a celibate. You’re convinced that you’re right and he or she is convinced of the opposite. And where has all of that gotten you? I can’t guarantee that telling your spouse that you understand his or her feelings better will make your partner want to jump into bed, I can tell you that making your spouse “wrong” won’t.

4. Focus on what works.

Have there been times in your marriage when your sex life was more passionate? (Yes, I know, in the very beginning—newness makes hormones run amuck. That is not the case any longer.) Examine your marriage beyond the very beginning. Ask yourself, “What was different about the times when my spouse was more interested in sex?” See if any of those conditions are reproducible. Then reproduce them.