Welcome to the second half of my coverage of psychologist Sandra Pertot’s 10 libido types.
Each sex drive type has specific relationships with sex, including reasons they seek out intimacy and beliefs about sex.
Understanding your type and your partner’s type can help you work together to create a sex life that feels alive and engaging for you both.
Make sure you check out part one too!
Core belief: “My sexual satisfaction only comes from pleasing my partner.”
Some Reactive types genuinely enjoy making sex all about their partner, while others self-sacrifice in order to keep their partner interested. There’s a big difference!
If your partner is Reactive, you’ll want to try to get a sense of your his actual motivations for sex. Is he being too giving, or is he truly aroused by your satisfaction? If self-sacrifice is the major theme, you can help your partner recognize that their pleasure is important too.
Core belief: “Although I feel sexual desire, I avoid sex because I worry I can’t please my partner.”
Stressed libido types feel an enormous amount of performance pressure and anxiety, and often have trouble tuning in to their authentic needs and desires.
If your partner is Stressed, you have to be very cautious about not putting pressure or expectations on her. Create a team atmosphere around sex, so it doesn’t feel like she is the only one responsible for your sex life. Practice good initiation and rejection.
Core belief: “I don’t think it would bother me if I never had sex again.”
Whereas Stressed types avoid sex out of fear, Disinterested types are genuinely uninterested in sex. Some Disinterested types may feel fine “going along” with their partner’s sexual initiations, but they don’t desire sex on their own accord. Pertot doesn’t explicitly mention asexuality, but many Disinterested types also identify as asexual.
Two Disinterested partners can be great together, as sex is not a priority for either of them. You can connect physically in other ways (like cuddling), or enjoy a more companionate type of relationship. If your partner is Disinterested and you’re not, things can get a bit trickier. It’s possible that the disinterest developed from past trauma, which can be worked through with therapy, but many Disinterested types are not ever going to desire sex. You’re going to have to make some very tough decisions about how important sex is to you.
Core belief: “I’m not worried about sex; it’s just easier to relieve sexual frustration with masturbation.”
This type is different from Disinterested in that there has been a recent change to their sex drive, as opposed to the life-long patterns generally associated with Disinterest.
If your partner has recently started acting Detached, get curious about when and why she started pulling away from sex. Is there a way you can help her reconnect to her natural desire? Would she be interested in getting a medical evaluation or seeing a sex therapist?
Core belief: “I find it difficult to arouse and enjoy sex unless I involve a special object or situation.”
Compulsive types have specific fetishes and fantasies that they need to incorporate into their sex lives. Some Compulsive types enjoy behaviors that their partners can engage in with them, while others like solo behaviors. I find the name “Compulsive” a little judgmental, as I think many people have perfectly healthy relationships with their sexual fantasies.
If your partner is a Compulsive type, you have to decide for yourself if these types of sexual activities are ones with which you feel comfortable. You may enjoy indulging your partner’s foot fetish, but feel wary of enacting a rape fantasy. Talk through the specifics of your partner’s fantasies to get a sense of what you are and aren’t up for.
Need help figuring out how your and your partner’s libido types can work together? I’d be happy to help. Head on over here to set up a session!