21st Dec 2017

Relationship rescue: How do you manage mismatched libidos?

How to manage mismatched libidos

Jo Lamble is a Clinical Psychologist who has been in private practice for over 25 years. She sees individuals, couples, and groups and specialises in parenting and relationship issues. Jo has been a regular contributor on Channel 7’s Sunrise and is the resident psychologist for the online magazine The Carousel.

Jo Lamble

Fred and his wife are very happy but have mismatched libidos, so he’s asked Jo Lamble for some tips to help make their relationship more intimate.

Q. Fred
My wife no longer seems to enjoy sex but, bless her, she persists. I’m starting to feel quite bad and, although my libido is still quite strong, I have found a couple of times that my ‘member’ has failed me, possibly because I feel guilty. I’m wondering how I can broach this subject with her. Do I give up on sex? Or can you suggest any ways that I can give her pleasure? It doesn’t even have to be sexual but I’d still like to have sex with her. I don’t know what to do. 

A. Many readers will relate to what’s happening in your relationship because having mismatched libidos is a really common problem. Your wife sounds lovely to want to please you and you sound just as caring to want to please her. The good news is that having conversations about sex is still intimate and good for the relationship. You don’t want to feel guilty and neither does your wife. So, fill the conversation with empathy for her and tell her how much you love her and love having sex with her but you’re aware that she doesn’t seem to be enjoying it any more. Ask her for suggestions on how you can give her pleasure. Maybe you’ll need to offer a few suggestions of your own and see what she thinks, such as giving her a massage, doing more housework, bringing her cups of tea in bed. Point out that you're not asking for sex in return for your efforts, you just really appreciate all that she gives to you and you want to give in return. The most important thing is that you have the conversation (and have it again when necessary). Avoiding the subject doesn’t increase closeness – it creates a wedge between you.

It could be that some temporary impotence is being caused by guilt and it’s possible that your wife is also experiencing an emotional reaction when your ‘member’ fails you. She may feel you’re not attracted to her any more or she may wonder why you would bother to have sex if it’s not physically working all the time. All these potential thoughts and feelings are happening without you sharing them with each other. Open up about how you feel when you lose your erection and ask her how she feels. It might be an awkward conversation but remember that when you and your wife have these really personal conversations, it reminds you both how special your relationship is. Only the two of you know what’s going on in your bedroom and that’s what intimacy is – sharing on a really personal level.

If you have a question for Jo Lamble, please send it to newsletters@yourlifechoices.com.au

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Do sexless marriages survive?
Should I have an affair?


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12th Jan 2018
"Maybe you’ll need to offer a few suggestions of your own and see what she thinks, such as giving her a massage, doing more housework, bringing her cups of tea in bed"
Ha ha I'm sure slavery in exchange for sex must still work for some really sad excuses for men, as I'm sure some women are still able to control some men using sex. Women are not required to provide sex in marriage so why should men only have one partner if she doesn't consider his needs. Women are available for easy sex everywhere.
Don't marry guys it's a really lousy deal for men stay single and only visit if you need to, keep your money and replace her when bored. After all if she'll replace you when bored if your married and take all your money as well.
East of Toowoomba
12th Jan 2018
Very good advice hey ladies. Who wants to enjoy sex on demand and a life of drudgery in exchange for money for housekeeping and / or a roof over their heads?

Women would also be better off not marrying and just use men for sex when they want. Many women have good jobs and are able to live quite good lives without a master telling them what to do. I would hate to be your wife Tib, what a nightmare.
12th Jan 2018
Well done East of Toowoomba if youre not married don't. Make the world a better place .. For men.
12th Jan 2018
Sorry Tib, but you sound like a really disgruntled ex-husband with those comments. It's a fact of life that many women lose the edge off their libido as they age , and for most it is a very disappointing thing. Most would continue to try and please their men, but it's not easy or comfortable when the desire is not there. By suggesting that a husband do some small things for his partner the idea is not to "earn" Sex, but to perhaps put her into a frame of mind where she feels cared for and appreciated. For women, Sexual desire happens more in the head than the body.
With one of your points I am in agreement. If a partner steadfastly refuses to agree to at least attempt sexual activities then the one who has been denied has the moral right to seek it elsewhere.
12th Jan 2018
I agree with some of the things you say. But no woman has a right to demand a man do all the housework run errands and generally play slave for sex. Like everything in this world it's supply and demand , with sex there is no shortage of supply and women don't have that sort of leverage. Not to mention the fact it's morally bankrupt to use sex for advantage but I don't expect that would bother most women.
12th Jan 2018
By the way Jenny if she's not in the right frame of mind someone else will be , someone younger and better looking.
12th Jan 2018
For heaven's sake Tib, who said anything about doing all the housework or making the man a slave? Is it such a huge sacrifice to make the odd cup of tea, or dry the dishes once in a while? Or relate to your partner as to a person rather than a housekeeper? You seem to have a major problem with women.
12th Jan 2018
And yes, you could find someone younger and better looking, but you would have to pay up front, especially if you are a grizzled, bald, fat old man with a massive chip on your shoulder!
13th Jan 2018
Ha ha prostitutes at least have an honest relationship with a man. But sorry to disappoint you I've never been short of female company in my life and never had to pay. I'm 6 ft athletic build and I have a big wallet. Ha ha
12th Jan 2018
You sound a bit biased Tib Does anybody ever think of it being the other way round and the wife who wants sex and the man that doesn't?
12th Jan 2018
Women use sex to control men ...so no. I object to these sorts of articles that suggest training men like a pet with sex as are reward is acceptable. If a man is treated like that and he accepts it, perhaps it's about time he got up on his hind legs and started acting like a man.
12th Jan 2018
Perhaps you should consult Jo Lambie, Tib.
12th Jan 2018
Triss I'm assuming you mean Jo Lamble who wrote the article that suggests men should be doing tricks for sex. Pass on that I can't be trained like a dog. But perhaps she can help you?
12th Jan 2018
Just as women should not use sex to control a partner, neither should any man assume it as a right that he should always get what he wants as and when he wants it. Tib appears to have this chauvinistic attitude, as well as a very jaded attitude toward women in general. Maybe as a result of poor experiences in the past, but not really helpful in the context of this discussion. Believe it or not, there are really good, caring women out there who love their partners and would do almost anything for them. It sounds as if the man posting the question above has a wife like that, and he is acting out of concern for the relationship as a whole.
12th Jan 2018
I have no concerns for the man above he seems very decent. My concern is about the article and women generally who expect men to make slaves of themselves for sex. Let's be honest it's easy to replace you with a younger better looking partner. Most men who put up with this sort of rubbish only stay married because the divorce will send them broke, even if it did they would still be better off.
12th Jan 2018
I've said it once before and I'll say it again. You weren't worth playing slave for just for sex when you were twenty none of you are worth it now.
12th Jan 2018
Hehe Fred has aged and his libido has in fact dropped. His mind may be willing but the body is failing. His wife has probably got to the point, "Why are we waiting?" and the lack of enjoyment went with the monotony.
I think he needs to admit his reality instead of blaming his wife and start enjoy being with his best friend for life.
12th Jan 2018
Ha ha perhaps he's had to check her pulse a couple of times during sex to see if she was dead and now is looking for an excuse to visit the attractive lady next door, go for it Fred she's probably a winner.
13th Jan 2018
Oh my goodness Tib. I read your comments and think you are the exact opposite of what a woman would be attracted to. No wonder your bitter.
14th Jan 2018
A little bitter there Tib, but I see where you're coming from. The definition of the basic difference between a man and a woman. ( A man will give 'stuff' for sex. A woman will give sex for 'stuff'. Stuff doesn't always mean money but you can bet it has a value.
14th Jan 2018
This is for all you single people out there - check out your biorhytm compatibility. I am presently with a woman where we have a 96% overall compatibility, and 100 physical (there is also mental and emotional) This is based on your birthdate and highly accurate. I wish I had known earlier about this. With my ex wife we only had a 37% compatibility which explains our difficulties and eventual separation. You can google it, it's free on some websites to do a comparison.

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