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“Desire Discrepancy—The Balancing Act”

While it may be hard to believe for some, there is so much more to life than just sex. Many people realize this truth early on, many realize it much later in life. Unfortunately many people realize this while they are in a committed relationship with a partner who understands there is more to life than sex, but still wants and needs it often. This is known as a desire discrepancy or a libido imbalance.

Why It’s A Problem

Sex therapists say that desire discrepancy is one of the most common problems encountered in their practice. The imbalance can go either way; women can lose interest in sex and so can men. An imbalance is not the same thing as total impotence or prudishness; it’s not necessarily a sexual dysfunction as much as it is a general problem. Both partners could be at their sexual peak and simply be mismatched in sexual appetite. For example, a man might desire sex so many times a week while the woman simply doesn’t have the interest for more than once a week. They both may consider themselves sexually active, but because one partner is frustrated, communication starts to break down. Before long, sexual frustration leads to other problems and the entire relationship becomes threatened.

There is nothing that necessarily causes desire discrepancy except a general mismatch in libido. However, it does seem that when a couple first meets, the less sexually active partner can mask his or her sexual energy. The excitement of new relationship causes both partners to want sex often, beyond what is considered the normal routine. After weeks and months of wild sex, the relationship starts to settle down. The novelty of attraction wears off, and even while the love between partners still might be strong, normal routines are established. This is when desire discrepancies—which were there all along—are finally brought out into the open.

How To Correct The Imbalance

Resolving this problem is, ironically, just a matter of balance. A couple must realize that first, this problem, while frustrating, is not an all-encompassing conundrum. It is not the primary flaw or everlasting shame of the other partner. It’s certainly not a problem that can be fixed by yelling, proving someone wrong, or throwing out personal insults to make a point. On the other hand, while not a true sexual dysfunction, it is a problem that deserves attention. A relationship should be about love and selflessly pleasing the other partner. If one person in the relationship is unhappy or sexually frustrated, then it is a major problem and one that will not go away in time.

Sexual surrogates work closely with therapists and see many sexual problems in relationships, many of which can be traced to a lack of communication and a lack of empathy. You will notice that all of the following reminders I’m going to provide as strategies to use against desire discrepancy, are also examples of being good communicator and showing concern for the other partner’s feelings.

Strategy #1: Dismiss the court.

Many men and women like to play prosecutor, judge and executioner when it comes to relationships. However, once a couple realizes that no one is to blame for the way things are, that is the starting point when the problem itself can be worked on. Remember that there is nothing wrong with a partner who wants more sex or less sex. The solution lies in balancing out the imbalance.

Strategy #2: Bring back the one-man show.

When you started living together, you said goodbye to masturbation and condoms forever right? Well, consider bringing at least one of those back for old time’s sake. Masturbation can equalize a large imbalance between partners. If one partner has a high libido and his partner has already met him half way, then masturbation may be what he or she needs to finish off the rest of that erupting volcano of sensuality. Remember that you don’t have to live without sex—but neither should you force it on anyone else.

Strategy #3: Adjust your volume.

One of the ways an imbalance can be worked out is by each partner adjusting his or her libido for the other. If one partner desires more sex, and isn’t satisfied with masturbation, then it would be a good idea to cut back on stimulating the desire. (i.e. Turn off the porn, close the book, get Brad and Angelina out of your fantasies) Moreover, if one partner is trying to accommodate the other and has a slightly lower libido, then he or she can try fantasizing or touching themselves beforehand in expectation of the encounter. Consider it a way of pre-heating the oven before cooking.

Strategy #4: Give to charity.

You might not always be in the mood for sex, but sometimes pleasing a partner can be just as rewarding as satisfying a strong sexual urge in yourself. Sex doesn’t always have to be about quenching a strong insatiable urge. Sometimes, believe it or not, it can actually be an act of love.

Strategy #5: You’ve mastered the art of dating and sex. Now master the art of compromise.

Compromise is the fruitage of empathy. If we are never empathetic to other people’s feelings, we will never move beyond our own selfish wants and desires. Partners should want to please each other in every respect, if it is possible. This might involve one night doing what the high-libido partner wants, and then the next, what the lower libido partner wants. (Which could be just a good night’s sleep) It could also mean one partner bringing the other to orgasm without any full-blown, let’s-do-it-my-way sex happening. Learning to compromise and seek the other partner’s pleasure will not only improve your sex life and correct the imbalance; it will also drastically improve your relationship.

These are the essential lessons that sexual therapy and surrogacy teaches couples with sexual problems. Many sexual problems we encounter in the practice seem to be the result of bad communication and one or both partners putting their interests and desires above that of their partner’s. But no sexual problem is without a workable solution. If you or someone you know is having relationship difficulties why not suggest sexual therapy or surrogacy as a long-term solution?


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