Intimacy Differences – Low Desire V’s High Desire Partners in Relationships

Differences are an inevitable fact in any relationship. One very common difference is the difference in sexual desire. Low sexual desire or  “low libido”  as it is often called is actually very common for many men and women. They estimate about 40% of women will experience this and 17% of men (and estimate actual figures may be far higher). For men however it is less talked about as there is a societal expectation that men must live up to a reputation, that is that they are “always in the mood.”  But that’s not true. Lots of men have low sex drive, for a lot of reasons, just like women have a low sex drive.

What sets humans apart from other reproductive species (whose drive it is purely biological), is the emotional and thinking aspect we bring to intimacy. Which can make it extremely special, as well as complex. Meaning that if you only look to hormones and prescription medicines for solutions, you will be missing the whole lifestyle, psychological and relationship factors that can influence it.

Physical factors in addition to hormones can be: too little or too much exercise, alcohol and drug use. Psychological issues can include: anxiety and stress from work or home ( money or family), depression, relationship problems or rows. It can also be due to past physical / sexual abuse from childhood or previous relationships that may have now become awakened.

Then there is the intimacy itself, which many medical doctors miss out completely. Intimacy issues – can be fears of failing in bed, being bored, not feeling connected or a lack of depth and sharing in sex, where it seems mechanical and routine. The good thing about this is with the right attitude and openness is it can be easily changed.

But before I share some tips below – consider this very good point made by Dr. David Schnarch, a clinical psychologist and sex therapist who is an expert on low libido and sexuality. He states that there will ALWAYS be a low and high desire partner in every aspect of marriage. This is inevitable and therefore healthy. Schnarch says: ‘The low desire partner and the high desire partner are positions in a relationship and occur on virtually any issue and decision in the relationship.’ There is always one partner who wants to do something and the other who doesn’t, or wants to do it less! So a high and low desire is not a problem and shouldn’t be treated as such, he argues it’s healthy and normal.


Whether we are talking about sex, having a clean house, saving money, spending time as a family, or affection – one will want it more than the other. It is important to accept that neither position are about character or personality traits. They are positions which I hope will help you become less defensive or feel less inadequate or defective if a low libido is affecting your relationship.  It’s unfair to presume and act as if the low desire person has something “wrong with them.” It’s only if the low desire person wants to change this and / or it becomes a problem in the relationship that I offer suggestions.


With low desire and high desire differences, there is often a power struggle, as by default the person with the lower desire is always in control,  even if they don’t want to be. The person with the higher desire may feel controlled and become frustrated that the lower desire person holds all the power. It is important to remember though that often the lower desire person is not trying to hurt or control, they are often just being true to themselves.

What can you do if you want to change this dynamic about yourself or relationship?

Here are some ways I help individuals and couples. Please note, I am not a medical doctor and don’t deal with physical symptoms, so you may want to seek help there first. The men and women I have helped with low sexual desire either know it’s to do with the relationship or have already been to a doctor or they want to explore the below first.

Things to consider to change a low libido and increase sexual desire in the relationship

  1. Show affection outside of the bedroom, to increase the connection and closeness
  2. Clear any resentment and past hurt in the way
  3. Stop the pattern of one person always initiating and the other feeling pressured – find an alternative way of approaching this. I have several approaches – get in touch if you need more support
  4. Actions to boost self-esteem, feel good about yourself physically and emotionally (both partners)
  5. Add some more variety. Find new ways to make it more interesting and fulfilling
  6. Clear any mental, emotional, relationship or intimacy blocks – you will sense or know if you have any blocks
  7. Look after your health and body. Rest get 6-8 hours sleep, exercise moderately, avoid heavy alcohol, sugar and caffeine consumption.
  8. Make time for each other. Ensure you have enough quality time to laugh, relax and connect. Put your smart phones away.

All of the above works well for shifting a low libido or balancing the low sexual desire versus high sexual desire. In addition I usually combine the intimacy strategies with  a relaxing meditation hypnotherapy track to increase sexual desire at the subconscious level and create lasting change.

Remember there are always differences in relationships, low sexual desire does not mean that your relationship is over or attraction has gone. Having a low libido is very common at certain times in our lives. Be gentle with yourself and each other.

From my heart to yours, Nicola

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