I'm straight, female, 35. I've been in a relationship with a wonderful man for a year and a half. We live together and have similar plans, goals, and hobbies. We both want to have a committed relationship and a family. However, we have mismatched libidos. I would like sex every day; he likes it once or twice a month. He just doesn't have much interest in sex. He seldom masturbates, is indifferent to porn, no kink at all, etc. The sex we do have is good, not the best either one of us has ever had, but loving and satisfying. If I were 25 or 30 I would keep looking for a better match. But at 35 I'm tempted to settle because I am so ready to settle down and have children, and I just plain don't have that much time left.

I love this man, he loves me, we have a happy life together, and we both want a monogamous committed relationship. (Both of us need emotional involvement prior to sexual involvement, and don't think we could have that with an outside person without threatening the relationship, so "momogamish" is not a possibility for us—and yes, we've talked about it.) I know how you feel about mismatched libidos, but I'm not asking how to increase his libido. I'm asking if the person with the higher libido is ever able to be satisfied over the long term if in every other way the match is a good one. I have always been slightly dissatisfied with the amount of sex I get from him, but the sex I do get is good quality, I love masturbating, and I'm not constantly bemoaning the lack of sex because I'm so happy in every other way. So what do you think, Dan; is it possible to stay happy when you know you're settling to meet larger, more important life goals?

Sort Of Unsatisfying Sex Life

My response after the jump...


Yes, SOUSL, it's entirely possible for a higher libido partner to be content in a long-term, sexually exclusive relationship with a lower-libido partner. Also: nobody gets everything they want (not even the "monogamish"), anyone who has successfully settled down has done a little settling for, and there are lots of parents out there who would be happy to be having sex once or twice a month.

One word of warning: the amount of sex a couple has tends to fall over time. So...

Ask yourself how you'll feel if your once-or-twice-a-month routine becomes a once-or-twice-per-annum routine. Because it could. If that's just too little sex for you to stay married and stay sane, SOUSL, make that clear to your boyfriend now.

Basically, SOUSL, you need to have a "price of admission" conversation. Here's the price of admission that you're gonna have to pay in order to be with him: you're going to swallow the frustration of having much less sex than you'd like to. You're going to be cheerful about the sex you do have, you're not going to complain or allow yourself to get bitter, you're not going to cheat on him or leave him. You're going to enjoy the hell out of those once-or-twice-a-month sex sessions and you're going to wear out countless vibrators over the course of your marriage.

And here's the price of admission that he's gonna pay: He's not going to complain about honoring your entirely reasonable demand for once-or-twice-a-month sex and he's going to make sure the sex never falls below that once-or-twice-a-month mark. He's not going to complain about feeling pressured to have sex once or twice a month, he's not going to piss and moan about having sex once or twice a month, and he's not going to treat you like a sex maniac for expecting it once or twice a month, and he's not going to sabotage the sex—he's not going to be intentionally lousy in bed—in the hopes that you'll stop demanding "so much" sex from him.

Good luck!