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Recharging Your Love Life

Synchronize your sex drives in three easy steps
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

He's feeling amorous. But after a day of work, chauffeuring the kids, cooking, and doing the laundry, you are way too tired to even think about sex. Four days later, you are rested and in the mood; but he's so stressed about the plummeting stock market, he just wants to grab a beer and go to sleep.

You used to be so sexually compatible. Is the honeymoon really, finally, over?

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Relax. Relationship experts say your problem is just a simple case of "desire discrepancy." It's common - but if ignored, it can wreak havoc on your love life.

"Desire discrepancy," says psychoanalyst Gail Saltz, MD, "is probably the most frequent complaint that you hear and it goes both ways. Saltz is an associate professor of psychiatry at the New York Presbyterian Hospital Weill-Cornell School of Medicine in New York City and the author of several books including a new one on women and sexuality. "More often, the man wants more sex than the woman. But sometimes, it's the other way around, and women may feel embarrassed about it."

Los Angeles based sex therapist Ava Cadell, PhD, EdD, agrees. "Mismatched sex drive is the number one problem that I see couples for," says Cadell, the author of a number of books including 12 Steps to Everlasting Love.

The good news: There is something you can do! Indeed, you and your partner can take steps to re-sync your sex drives, restore sexual compatibility, and rev up your libido. With a few steps, you can get your relationship back to where it used to be.

And doing so can be as easy as 1 (analyze), 2 (compromise), and 3 (energize)!

Step 1: Analyze your love life

The first step to restoring sexual compatibility is to figure out what's going on -- or not going on -- in the bedroom and why.

Experts recommend delving into your love life to see if there is a reason one of you doesn't feel like making love. "Is it hormonal? Is it stress?" asks Cadell. "Is it because you are really angry with your partner and don't want to make love?" Resentment, she says, is the number one reason that sex drives in relationships get off kilter. But in the long run, you are much better off telling your partner why you are angry rather than putting him off in the bedroom. "Communication," Cadell says, "is the key."

But resentment is not the only reason that your sex life may be taking a dive, says Saltz. If you used to really enjoy making love but now it's the last thing on your mind, you need to rule out medications and/or medical conditions that could be causing the change. See your doctor, Saltz recommends, for an exam and any tests she thinks necessary to make sure all systems are go. If it turns out there is a problem, then getting treatment can easily put the sizzle back in your love life.

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