It’s after midnight, and your boyfriend wants to mess around, when all you want to do is sleep. Or worse yet, your ready to get hot and heavy, but your girlfriend just wants to go to bed. Sound familiar?
We have all heard the generalizations before, men love to have sex and want it as often as they can and women just do not crave it as frequently. Though there are always exceptions to the rule, men hormonally do have higher sex drives than women.
In her article “Sex Drives: His and Hers,” author Michele Weiner Davis, a psychotherapist and marriage educator speaks of this hormonal difference.
“Testosterone, one of the hormones responsible for sex drive, is 20-40% more prevalent in men than women,” Weiner Davis said. “Though it is not always the case, it is very common for men to desire sex more often than their wives.”
[sex2] Erin Williston, a sexual health advocate at Olin Health Center agreed and said that hormones do have an effect but are not the only factors that influence a person’s sex drive.
“It can depend on how we were raised, how we identify with our own sexuality, how comfortable we are,” Williston said. “It differs for each individual.”
Though there may be obvious differences both hormonally as well personal issues that may factor in, this does not mean that these differences need to lead to sexual frustration within the relationship.
“It is not the sex drive that causes problems,” Williston said. “Communication, or the lack thereof, not being comfortable with oneself and feel able to communicate one’s wants and desires are the issues that often lead to problems.”
Weiner Davis agrees that communication and trying to understand one another is key to alleviating some of this frustration.
According to Weiner Davis: “It’s really important for both of you to become more understanding of each other. This means you both need to try to imagine what it would be like to live in each others shoes for a while.”
Although communication and understanding help, often partners begin to get frustrated with and feel resentment toward one another. Weiner Davis said that women often need to feel an emotional connection with their partners to desire sex. However, men need to feel physically close before they will invest themselves into a relationship.
“She’s waiting for him to be more intimate emotionally and he’s waiting for her to be more tuned into him physically,” said Weiner Davis. “The resentment that results in this waiting game is so huge, it’s beyond belief.”
Meghann Dalton, an English senior at MSU agrees that other factors like being busy, tired, stressed and overwhelmed also affect sex drives within relationships.
“In general, I think men do have bigger sex drives than women,” Dalton said. “However, within relationships it is completely situational, so it depends on both people.”
To help you and your partner avoid some of these aggrevations, Williston encourages couples to use “I” messages.
“Do not aggressively attack your partner,” Williston said. “Instead say things like ‘I enjoy it when you do this,’ instead of saying things such as you, ‘you are not doing this right’. Listening to one another is key.”
Using this approach to actively communicate will often help couples find ways to approach sexual problems within their relationships in healthy ways, making bedtime a more enjoyable experience for everyone.

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