Desire discrepancies: The four questions to ask your partner

So you’ve discovered that yourself and your partner have different needs when it comes to the frequency of sex in your relationship. Maybe you just don't feel like it all that much (which is totally fine and normal, see ‘Five things to remember when you don’t feel like having sex’ here) or your partner has been less inclined to engage in your invitations for sexual acts. Whatever the case, it is not just common for partners to differ in levels of desire, but actually something most people will experience eventually in their relationships. 

This leaves the question, how can you healthily manage and navigate desire discrepancies? Well as usual, communication with your partner is key. 

We’ve put together a list of questions to help you and your partner better understand each other's needs and how they can be met. 

  1. “What does sex mean to you?”

Having an understanding of what classifies as sex to your partner is crucial. Do they consider penetration to be the only form of sex, or are there other sexual acts they consider to be enjoyable? Broadening your definitions of what sex can be increases opportunities for mutually pleasurable and comfortable sexual encounters. 

  1. “Are you satisfied with the kind of sex you are having?”

Is the current sex you/your partner is experiencing pleasurable and enjoyable to them? This is a great chance to check in with your partner and find out what they like/don’t like. Come at this question not as an opportunity to critique or receive criticism, but to learn more about each other so that you can better connect. 

  1. “Is there a middle ground that feels comfortable for both of us?”

While you or your partner might not feel like having sex, are there other activities you can do together to meet both of your needs? This could look like mutual masturbation, oral pleasure, kissing & holding you during masturbation, or anything else that might be pleasurable - without the pressure of needing penetration.

  1. “Are there other ways we can connect?”
For some people, the act of sex is a way to feel connected, loved, desired and close to your partner. It may be worth asking what need/s sex meets within your relationship, and exploring different ways to meet those needs when sex is a no-go. 

Couples are drawn closer together when they can openly and honestly communicate their
desires and needs. With these questions in mind, have an open conversation with your partner in a safe place, at a dedicated time, to better understand each other. Remember that there is no right or wrong level of libido, and what feels right for others won’t always feel right for you. Take the time to understand yourself and your partner, you’ll both feel much better for it.
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