From The Straits Times    |

what to do if you and partner have different sex drives


Some people are up for sex all the time, while others can keep their libido on the back-burner for months. Whatever the case, physical intimacy is key to a healthy relationship. Ignore your partner’s desire and your marriage may suffer. But how do you tackle such a touchy topic? 

Inspired to normalise talk about sex, Erin Chen, chief maven and founder of Lila Sutra, left her management consultant job to run sexual wellness workshops for women and curate quality products for them in the bedroom. Here, she suggests how couples with differing sex drives can bring balance to the bedroom, without trampling on anyone’s ego. 


Don’t leave sex to chance. Schedule it in. You won’t be sacrificing spontaneity either. Think of it as making a dinner reservation, but not deciding beforehand what you would order. “Similar to food, pleasure is something you can create,” says Erin. “All you are doing is making time to be present with your partner and prioritising the sexual part of your relationship. What happens during that block of time can be every bit as fun as you want it to be – you can take turns surprising each other or try new positions in new places!” 


“We tend to fall into the habit of saying “no”, or there might be fear of rejection for being too affectionate,” explains Erin. “For instance, the less affectionate person might worry that kissing an affectionate partner could be misinterpreted as him wanting sex when all he wants is a kiss or cuddle. This could lead to a vicious circle of no one acting like how they truly feel.” Whew! Talk about complicated. 

To boost communication, Erin suggests playing a simple yet effective game, which author Carolyn Evans wrote about in Forty Beads: The Simple, Sexy Secret for Transforming Your Marriage. Here’s how it works: the husband gets 40 beads; when he desires sex, he can drop one bead into his partner’s bedside bowl. The idea is for the other party to initiate sex within 24 hours. 

Obviously, you can negotiate the details, including the time period during which you have to respond, or who holds on to the beads (it may be that you have a higher sex drive). But the point of the exercise is for “the person with the higher sex drive to initiate sex, and to allow the person with the lower sex drive breathing room and space to ease into the mood,” says Erin. “The idea is to break the habit of saying no and remove the pressure of sex behind displays of affection.”


Erin recommends a cheeky app, Desire. In this adult game for couples, you and your partner compete against each other to get more points, reach higher levels and attempt steamier dares. You can pick from more than 20,000 dares that have been sorted into categories like “love sensations” and “dress code” to send to your partner. Complete the dare on time to earn points. What better way to fuel that competitive streak and be more adventurous? 


Fun and games in pairs aside, individuals with a high sex drive might want to employ other means to lower their libido so as not to completely exhaust their partners. Perhaps you could turn to activities like running? Some might find this useful for decelerating their arousal. 


If you’re looking to broaden your knowhow about sexual well-being, or just want a fun night in with your girlfriends, try Lila Socials (these are like slumber parties for grown-ups of any age) organised by Erin. You can host your own private session, or join one of Erin’s open-to-the-public RSVP-only workshops, each limited to 20 women (visit


These are some possible reasons

He’s stressed: “Some use sex as a stress reliever while others might be too stressed to care for sex,” says Erin. And don’t assume that nookie comes easily for men. “Some may crave an emotional connection. [Conversely], some women would be happy with a quickie.” 

He’s going through life changes: Milestones like having a first child or discovering a medical condition can dampen one’s drive. Other libido killers: hormonal changes and ageing. 

His diet’s off -kilter. “Being healthy and eating well helps you get more energy, and become more focused and present – which in turn contributes to a healthy sex drive and feeling good in your own skin,” shares Erin. 

He thinks you’re not up for it. Yep, that’s right. According to a study published by the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology in June, men in established romantic relationships tend to underestimate their partner’s sexual interest.


This story was first published in the December 2016 issue of Her World magazine. 


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