Nothing stirs up a conversation around the blogosphere quite like the issue of sex, does it?
It's an interesting conversation, I think. The issue of how important sex is within a relationship is a difficult thing to tackle. It's sort of surprising, to me, that it doesn't get brought up more often, because, really, how often are we lucky enough to find ourselves dating someone who has exactly the same sex-drive as we do? I've been on both sides of this particular conversation. I've dated women who had sex drives that were significantly lower than my own, and I've dated women who had sex drives that were significantly higher than my own (don't tell Popular Wisdom- I'm pretty sure it says that I, as a man, must have a higher sex drive than all but the most deviant of women).
And, yeah, honestly, it makes things difficult at times.
Sex is a pretty important part of a relationship. Our culture has so many screwed up notions surrounding sex that I guess I shouldn't be surprised that we're not more open to conversations about sex drive, but the fact of the matter is that a major difference in sex drives can really hurt a relationship. So... what do you do about that?
It's like a minefield- it's very hard to navigate. It's so easy to fall into traps. If you're the partner who has the higher sex drive, it's easy to feel like you're constantly nagging the other person for sex, and to start to resent the lack of attention you're getting. It's really easy to start to feel like there's something wrong with you, or like the other person doesn't find you attractive, too. And it's not easy to get out of the mindset once you're there. If you're the one who is always initiating and pursuing the physical aspects of the relationship, and you're spending a lot of time getting rejected, it can create a really nasty headspace.
On the other hand, it's not fun for the person with the lower sex drive, either. Nobody wants to feel like they're obligated to have sex, but it can start to feel that way. You can start to resent the other person for exactly the opposite reason that the other person is resenting you- you can start to feel like there's this huge issue looming over you, all the time- like the other person is constantly demanding sex. You can start to feel like it's always hanging over you, and like you're constantly being judged for not being more interested in sex- like there's something wrong with you.
And, of course, both sides end up in a vicious circle. For the high sex drive person, the less sex you get, the more desperately you want to jump on anything that seems like it might lead to sex. The more that happens, the more the low sex drive person feels pressured for sex. If you're the low sex drive person, you're feeling all that pressure, and it's stressful. Being constantly stressed out makes you less likely to want or initiate sex, which leads you to rebufff these advances, and we're back to the begining again.
Ultimately, I think there does have to be some compromise- it's not about having sex as a chore, or lying there counting the tiles- it's about finding some middle ground, breaking out of the circle, and finding ways that both people can get their sexual needs met. That means that the low sex drive person might need to make a concentrated effort to help the high sex drive person get off, even when the low drive person isn't specifically feeling hot and bothered. The high drive person has to accept that sex isn't going to happen as often as that person would like.
With any luck, both people find that their sex lives are better for it. The high drive person is having sex more regularly or, at least, is finding that there are other ways of getting off that work, and the low drive person isn't feeling pressured to have sex. I think that being creative with how you express your sexuality probably helps, too. It's not always easy, but I think that, rather than having sex like it's a chore, the low drive person can find other ways of expressing sexual interest that help.
Apparently, some people have suggested that the low drive person can just give oral sex or hand jobs to the high drive person instead of having sex- which is certainly possible- but I think that it can sometimes involve sending a dirty text message to the high drive person, instead. Or leaving notes, or talking about what you'd like to do the next time you have sex, even if you're not particularly in the mood to have sex at that moment. These sorts of things help your partner get off in a healthy way, and in a way that involves both of you, which is sort of the point, I think. None of us want a partner who is going to just lie there and let us fuck them- we want the other person to be involved with us and reciprocate the feelings we're having, and to be an active part of our own sexual experiences. The compromise isn't about having sex when you're not in the mood- it's about finding other ways of having sex that are good for both of you.