People are different.
Everyone has personal likes and dislikes - in food, in clothing, in exercise, in music, in literature, in films...

And even in sex.

We expect the differences in most parts of our lives - finding out about a new partner's likes and dislikes is part of the magic of falling in love.
Most are just things we remember - don't serve him mushrooms, don't ask her to go horse-riding - and some are larger. A relationship between a smoker and a non smoker, or a steak-lover and a vegan have built-in problems.

But the biggest problems can be caused by a difference we don't really think about until we are deep into a relationship.

Having a partner whose libido doesn't match one's own can be a deeply unsettling and upsetting thing.

Being the person with a higher libido.

If your desire for sex is higher than that of your partner you are likely to have a lot of irrational feelings about the disparity.
You may feel unloved, physically unwanted, and as though your wants are unimportant to your partner, even when you know these things are untrue. You may feel very lonely. You may feel angry.
If you take your problem to a sexual discussion board, people are likely to tell you to either masturbate or have an affair. Neither of these "solutions" though, addresses the main problem of not being desired.

Any fool with at least one working hand can, unaided, address the "need" for arousal and orgasm.

Being the person with a lower libido.

One of the worst things about having a lower libido than your lover is the cycle of  wanting to please your partner but having no interest in sex just then, and feeling unhappy because of this, then feeling bad because you feel unhappy about this, and then getting angry, with yourself or with your partner because you really have no reason to feel bad

Some people feel very unhappy at the prospect of disappointing their partner by saying "no" to them.
 You may also feel pressured, as though your sex is the only thing of value your partner can see about you.


In most relationships with this difficulty, it is the woman who has the lower libido. In the case where the roles are reversed the couple has to overcome not just their own feelings, but the society's telling us that men are sexual predators and women are sexually submissive.

Steps to a solution.

Think about it.

One way for the partner with higher libido to assist in the solving of the problem is to analyze what they actually want. Just saying, even to yourself) "I want more sex" doesn't bring you any closer to a solution. There are many different, particular sexual activities that you might want more of. An important thing for both partners to remember is that intimacy does not need to mean sex. Cuddling does not have to lead to petting. Petting, even the heaviest, does not have to lead to intercourse.
It is possible that the person with a higher libido's needs can be met in other ways than PIV sex. When you stop to think about exactly what it is that you want more of, you may well find it easier to compromise with your partner.

And really, compromise is all you can do. It is not possible that your parter's libido will magically in- or decrease to match your own. Sex given because of guilt or feeling one "should" is never terribly good sex. Both of you need to examine your expectations of sex and sexual activity and make sure they are realistic and reasonable.

Talk about it.

This will be very difficult, as neither of you wants to hurt the other, or to be hurt yourself. Some people put this talk off for years so as to avoid confrontation. But it is important to remember that without honest discussion, this difficulty is most unlikely to pass.

It is best not to have this conversation in the place you usually share sex. Talking about sexual problems in a situation where sex might occur is much more likely to be seen, by the person with a lower libido, as a stronger criticism than if the conversation happens in a less emotionally loaded place. 

Play with it.

One idea is to each make a list of things you would like from one another, in an intimate situation, ranging from "30 minutes of vigorous PIV" through "snuggling together and touching gently" to "watching TV side by side" with absolutely any alone-together activities either of you would like more of. Then exchange lists and take turns trading off.

If all else fails, see your doctor.

Of course, it is possible that one of you has a hormonal imbalance. If you work for compromise and fail to reach it, you could consider discussing the possibility with your doctor, together.

Huge thanks to El_Zoof who helped me recover this after a mean programme crashed.

Excalibre notes I should have pointed out that mismatches libidos can aslo be a problem for homosexual couples. They can. I'm sorry if this w/u was too heterocentric.