The most common reason couples come in to see me is mismatched sex drives. It’s practically inevitable that one person in a relationship is going to want sex more than the other.
Psychologist Sandra Pertot developed a model of 10 unique “libido types”. Each type has a specific relationship 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.
Below is a quick summary of the first five types, as well as suggestions for partners of that particular type.
Which libido type do you identify as?
Core belief: “Emotional intimacy is more important to me during sex than sexual performance.”
Sensual lovers can be kind and generous partners. They use sex as a way to feel connected.
If you have a Sensual partner, express love and affection for her regularly. Focus on being present with her during sex.
Core belief: “I only feel emotional closeness with someone who is sexually passionate.”
Erotic lovers want to feel that fire and passion every single time. Sometimes it can be hard for them to recognize that there are other ways of having sex.
If you have an Erotic partner, help him feel desired and attractive. Initiate sex, and respond enthusiastically to his initiations. Help him recognize that great sex can happen in a variety of ways, and that sex isn’t the only wonderful part of your relationship.
Core belief: “I need sex to cope with my life.”
Many of us use sex as a stress relief, but Dependent types take it a step further. They often lack other coping mechanisms.
If you have a Dependent partner, odds are she will want sex from pretty regularly. Many partners of Dependent types feel drained by the constant pressure to have sex, especially when you know that sex is being used as a coping mechanism. Individual and couples counseling can be effective in helping develop other stress relievers and work on taking the pressure off of sexual interactions.
Core belief: “I should get the sex life I want when I am in a committed relationship.”
I actually do believe that we should all get the sex lives that we desire, but Entitled types often don’t understand the notion of compromise. At times, they believe that their desires are more important than the desires of their partners, and can be pushy or demanding when they don’t get what they want.
If your partner is Entitled, he needs to understand that your needs are just as important as his. You can work together to create a sex life that fulfills both of your desires. Counseling can be helpful in setting up that “teamwork” approach.
Core belief: “I find it difficult to resist sex with other partners despite being in a long-term relationship.”
I find this type to be potentially judgmental. To me, there’s a big distinction between someone who cheats secretly, and someone who recognizes that monogamy isn’t the right relationship model for them. I don’t think of people in poly or open relationships as “addictive”.
Betrayal is an incredibly difficult thing to move past. If you’re with someone who has cheated or expressed that they’re a sex addict, you’ll have to make the painful decision of whether to stay or go. If you’re with someone who expresses a desire to have an open or polygamous relationship, you’ll want to figure out if those relationship models work for you.