Caitlyn Harkins is an English sophomore, Mustang Daily copy editor and sex columnist.

We’re college students. The perception of us in media and popular culture is we are sex-crazy and reckless with our partners. But is that true?

It is rarely acknowledged that there are stereotypes surrounding sex drive, gender and age. Although there are sexually active young adults on campus, the amount of sex they actually desire can vary and differ from preconceived notions.

Men are perceived to always want sex. Have you heard that old wive’s tale that men think about sex every seven seconds? This isn’t always the case. Believe it or not, there are young men who have minimal sex drives or are asexual. In a survey conducted by Ed Laumann, a professor of sociology at the University of Chicago, 17 percent of men showed a lack of interest in sex.

Whereas women are often shown turning down advances, there are women who have stronger libidos than their partners.

These harmful stereotypes still exist though, instilling the concept that men who aren’t as prone to sexuality are somehow less masculine, and women who openly enjoy sex have to endure slut-shaming.

Regardless of either partners’ proclivity to sexual activity, differences in sex drive can be a point of contention for straight and LGBTQIA couples alike. Unless you are asexual or abstinent, a relationship without sex is a glorified friendship.

It can be a frustrating experience to be with someone who has a sex drive different from your own. If your partner has a much lower sex drive, both parties can grow resentful over the course of the relationship because one side feels denied while the other feels pressure to perform.

What it comes down to is making sure everyone in the relationship is happy lest it ends or one person cheats. The partner with a stronger libido has to accept the fact their partner doesn’t require sex like they do, but the partner with the weaker libido should, in my opinion, put out to maintain monogamy.

As love advice columnist Dan Savage says, “You can have strict monogamy or you can have a low libido … but you can’t have both.” If you continually deny your partner sex, eventually they’re going to find it elsewhere — unless you can work out a deal.

Communicate with your partner that you have a low libido. Certain types of prescription medications, dietary choices, amount of physical activity and hormone levels can all affect your libido. A drastic change in your sex drive can signal one of the above factors needs to be assessed by a doctor.

However, having a low sex drive naturally isn’t abnormal, but still needs to be acknowledged. If the type of sex your partner always suggests tires you, such as always wanting vaginal or anal sex, ask if you can vary your routine to include nights of oral or manual sex without intercourse.

If you are consistently rejecting your partner, it weakens the foundation of your relationship. Your partner with a higher libido may feel unworthy or unwanted, neither of which should be true if you are dating them. So please, indulge your partner not begrudgingly, but out of a willingness to keep them happy and maintain a strong relationship.

Similar tensions can arise if you have a higher sex drive than your partner. Communicate with your partner about how often you would like to have sex, whether it is daily or multiple times a week. From there, you and your partner can establish how often you have sex or engage in sexual activities to be satisfying for both parties.

Of course, even bringing up the topic that your partner has a different sex drive from yours can be awkward. Bring it up in a non-sexual environment so there is no pressure or expectation to suddenly change either of your bedroom habits. Address it calmly and without accusation or threats. Working together to make both of your sex lives fulfilling and complete should be fun, not scary.

However you define the terms of your sexual activity, I sincerely hope you find a frequency that works for all members involved.

Everyone deserves to be in a sexually satisfying relationship.

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7 Comments

  1. Because the Anna Cahn story is not published on the Daily’s Web site, I leave this for you and for whomever else happens to come this way.

    Can’t believe Daily kept “Even though she lives by herself … she has plenty of gadgets around the house to keep herself in good spirits.”
    Then, immediately after this setup, Ms. Cary’s quote says. . . .
    ” … And she has a foot-massager-vibrator thing that she’ll post up on the couch with and use for hours.”

    Wow. Really?

    I know Prazak is an aspiring sex-advice-giver-person, but c’mon. If I were Cahn I’d be pissed. Shouldn’t have kept that in the story, sorry. And you know I’m correct on this one.

    Good job on the LBGTQIA story, though.

    1. Hi Anthony,

      Thanks for pointing that out but I think you are taking the quote out of context. Prior to that, Cary also says that “(Her house) looks like the home shopping network. She has a stationary bike from the ’40s that she actually still works out on.” The foot massager that Cary brings up was not in reference to anything sexual. I think you’re letting Karlee’s past as the MD sex columnist distract you from the real meaning of the quote and so we stand behind our decision to leave it in the story.

      Glad you liked the LGBTQIA story though.

      — Leticia Rodriguez, editor-in-chief

  2. Caitlyn, I think you might be approaching this in a way that’s biased against low-libido/asexual individuals. Additionally, I think you presume monogamy as the foundation of a relationship. I think the point here is that both partners should be open about their sexual drives and willing to negotiate, not argue. The less sexually-driven partner doesn’t have to put out so the other person won’t leave, but they do have to respect the ways that dismissal can negatively impact the relationship. In my opinion, there are three options: find a more compatible partner, find some way for both individuals to compromise that’s satisfactory, or consider a non-monogamous relationship.

  3. Caitlyn, I think you might be approaching this in a way that’s biased against low-libido/asexual individuals. Additionally, I think you presume monogamy as the foundation of a relationship. I think the point here is that both partners should be open about their sexual drives and willing to negotiate, not argue. The less sexually-driven partner doesn’t have to put out so the other person won’t leave, but they do have to respect the ways that dismissal can negatively impact the relationship. In my opinion, there are three options: find a more compatible partner, find some way for both individuals to compromise that’s satisfactory, or consider a non-monogamous relationship. Additionally, no matter what option is chosen, be open and willing to listen and adjust the course of the relationship as it continues.

    1. Hi Anonymous,

      I apologize for giving the perception that I’m biased against low-libido/asexual individuals. Participants in a relationship absolutely have the right to deny sex and to have a partner (or partners) who accept their sexuality and libido. I do presume monogamy in my articles, although I support healthy polygamous and open-relationships as well. I believe the pros and cons of open relationships best saved for a future column, though. As for your points about openness, willingness to listen and communication, I couldn’t agree more. Those elements are essential to any relationship: monogamous or polygamous, serious or casual. You brought up some excellent points. Thanks again.

      -Caitlyn, copy editor and sex columnist

        1. Ah yes, thanks for the correction. I was going by Google Chrome’s autocorrect spelling, which unfortunately gave me the completely wrong term. Thanks!

          -Caitlyn

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