Sandra Pertot, an Australian sex therapist and clinical psychologist, and author of When Your Sex Drives Don’t Match, developed the concept of 10 libido types. Do you see yourself in one – or more – of them?
Snapshot: You find emotional intimacy more important during sex than physical performance.
Libido meaning: Sex connects you emotionally with your partner. It is the physical expression of your relationship.
Advice: If your partner turns you down, you may feel rejected. Ask your partner to say no more gently. (Here’s when to worry about a sexless marriage.)
Snapshot: You need sex to feel loved and reassured, or to deal with stress.
Libido meaning: You learned in adolescence to use sex and masturbation to deal with boredom or frustration.
Advice: Look for positive, non-sexual ways to cope with negative feelings.
Snapshot: You feel desire, but avoid sex because you’re worried you can’t please your partner.
Libido meaning: Your self-doubt may stem from a difficult time, such as illness, when sex was not a priority.
Advice: Talk to your partner (and maybe a counsellor) about expectations when it comes to sex.
Snapshot: You’re not worried about whether you have sex; it’s easier to satisfy sexual needs with masturbation.
Libido meaning: You’re distracted by other demands in your life such as work.
Advice: Discuss ways to deal with life pressures, and build intimacy through non-sexual “couple time.” (These are the early signs your relationship won’t last.)
Snapshot: You feel an emotional closeness only with someone who is sexually passionate.
Libido meaning: To you, sex is the most important part of a relationship, and you need to feel hotly desired.
Advice: Have fun, but also pay attention to your partner’s needs (which may include plain old vanilla sex but it doesn’t have to be boring!).
Snapshot: Your find it difficult to resist sex with other partners despite being in a relationship.
Libido meaning: You are likely using sex to bolster low self-esteem or to enhance high self-esteem.
Advice: Counselling is a must.
Snapshot: You get satisfaction only from pleasing your partner.
Libido meaning: You’re comfortable with your sex drive but pleasure comes mainly from giving pleasure to others.
Advice: To ensure you too get sexual satisfaction, tell (or show) your partner what you want.
Snapshot: You feel you should get the sex life you want because you’re in a committed relationship.
Libido meaning: You may be placing too much emphasis on the hot sex you think everyone else is having.
Advice: A reality check may help: Very few couples have sex every day!
Snapshot: You find it difficult to become aroused or enjoy sex unless it involves a special situation or object.
Libido meaning: Researchers aren’t sure why fetishes – from mild to extreme – develop, but they generally form early.
Advice: Talk to a counsellor if your fetish is negatively affecting your, or your partner’s, sex life. (Remember, fetishes are not the same thing as sexual fantasies.)
Snapshot: It wouldn’t bother you if you never had sex again. (Here, meet three women who are living happily without sex.)
What’s behind it: You may have progressed from “stressed” libido, or you may have a naturally low interest in sex.
Advice: To boost your desire, focus on one good reason to have sex, rather than all the reasons not to.
Many people have a mixed libido type. (The “erotic/sensual” combo is the most common, Pertot says.) And it’s no big deal if you and your partner have different sexual appetites. Look at your and your partner’s libido types not as a fixed label, but a starting point. “Once you accept your sexuality more confidently, you can focus on what’s right for you both rather than on what’s missing.”
Next, discover 31 natural ways to boost your libido.