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The bulk of my practice as a sexologist is supporting couples with mismatched libidos achieve a more balanced sex life.

In many healthy relationships one partner desires sex more than the other. Unfortunately, many people feel that there is something wrong with them if they don’t want sex as much as their partner and can feel shame around having what is typically termed a “low libido”.

Society teaches very little accurate information about human sexuality. Many of the trending myths teach people that what they are experiencing in their bodies is not normal.

One of these myths is that a low libido is a shameful sexual dysfunction that needs to be fixed.  And that a high libido is the goal that everyone should achieve.

Rephrasing sex-negative terms.

In an effort to disseminate accurate information about human sexuality I often like to change words and phrases to reduce their potential of creating shame.  One of these phrases is low libido.  Low libido has a bad connotation.  It implies that the person with the high libido has the correct libido (we may unconsciously or consciously associate high with better) and the person with the low libido has the wrong libido.  Those who have diagnosed themselves with low libido often feel badly about themselves.  When we meet in session it can take awhile to assuage the fears of the person with the low libido and help them understand what is actually happening in their body and that it is normal.

This is why I have made a powerful pivot in how I discuss libido.

Slow libido is a more accurate term.

Let’s throw away the term low libido and introduce the term slow libido. A slow libido  takes a little more time to get going than a fast libido but it is no better or worse than a quick libido.  The only thing that is different between the two is that the quick libido turns on within a shorter duration of time.  A quick libido doesn’t need as much stimulation to get going.  On the other hand a slow libido may enjoy a little more warming up, the right context and subtle seduction and patience.  With the right care and the right tools a slow libido can simmer and come to a roiling boil!

One is not better than the other.

Regardless of your libido being slow or fast, you are normal. It is totally normal to need a little extra to get going or to need the right atmosphere.  This is just how some people are.

We do everything very fast in our society including sex.  For those who take longer to come to a boil the expectation that you must turn-on quickly, feel horny all the time and strive towards a quick libido may make you feel like you are being left out of the sex equation all together.

What is the solution?

First, everyone just calm down. Slightly kidding here but actually it’s true.  We could all use some slowing down, calming down, and creating spaces for slow, luxurious sex with lots of fun foreplay and time for folks to enjoy themselves.

Second, the person with the slow libido has a huge gift.  They have the gift of teaching their partner about the nuances of sexuality.  Sometimes, the quick libido partner can miss out on all the delights of foreplay, making out, erotic massage, and delicious sensuality.  So, slow down and try a difference cadence of sexual intimacy.

Third, it’s all about trial and error.  There is no one size fits all and for those with a slow libido it may take trying different things out to see what works.  For some they need the setting to be just so (often with chores and family matters handled before even thinking of sex).  For others they need a long intimate conversation.  You will find what brings your slow libido to it’s boiling point through keeping an open mind and being a sensual researcher.

Bottom line is that you are normal.

I have seen in my practice time and time again that with some gentle perspective changes, learning about your sexuality and trying new things as a couple the mismatched libidos can become more matched. Slow is great! Quick is great! And, there is a happy middle ground.

To see if working together would benefit your relationship at this time please reach out to book a free consultation call.

All the best!

Dr. Any


Dr. Anya

Dr. Anya is a sexuality expert with over 25 years experience working with individuals, couples, and groups. Dr. Anya has a Doctor of Human Sexuality degree and is a certified sex educator and certified sexologist. Dr. Anya has a private practice in the San Francisco Bay Area working with individuals and couples and invites straight and LGBTQ people into her practice.