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What to do about sexual frustration?

By
WebMD Feature
Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks

You want sex all the time and your partner doesn't? Sexual frustration can affect many couples. It has different causes too. It could be a mismatch of the desire for sex or the fact that the sex you are getting isn't satisfying you.

Putting aside sexual dysfunction and medical problems, sexual frustration is pretty common, especially for couples in long-term relationships.

Differing sex drives

It's quite often the case that one partner has a higher sex drive than another and wants sex more often. It's usually portrayed as the man wanting more sex than the woman. That's usually true but it may be the case that the woman in the relationship wants more frequent sex than her male partner.

"It's very common that libido levels in couples go up and down over time in any long-term relationship," says Vena Ramphal sex expert and erotic wellbeing mentor. "Mis-matched libido is normal and not always to be regarded as a problem."

There may be certain times of life when either partner experiences a drop in desire. Giving birth and having a young baby to look after can affect both parents' libido. Stress, anxiety, depression and hormonal issues can also have an impact.

Couples may be more understanding with one another if it's a particularly tough stage in life that's the root of the lack of desire in one party and consequent frustration in the other.

If it's a longer term issue that is causing ongoing problems couples may need to think about what they can do to ease the situation.

Understanding sex drive

Generally men seem to have a simpler and straightforward need for sex. One statistic that's often bandied about is that men think about sex every 7 seconds. There are plenty of studies on this, but one at Ohio State University reported in the Journal of Sexual Research suggested young men thought about sex around 19 times a day whereas young women thought about it half as much.

So even on that conservative study men think about sex twice as much as women do. For men thinking about sex often leads to arousal, but for women it may be the other way around. Research in the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy suggested that women need to become physically aroused before their desire for sex kicks in.

So it may be that women seem to want less sex than men because they don't get as aroused as easily or don't reach orgasm, and so there is less of a feeling of personal reward.

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