If you’re in a long-term relationship, you probably remember the early “honeymoon period”—those first few months when you couldn’t get enough of each other (and maybe couldn’t keep your hands off each other). But, if you’re like most couples, your sex life has changed between then and now.1 In fact, it’s likely that there are (more) times in your relationship when one of you wants to have sex, but the other is not in the mood.
In a new set of studies,2 my colleagues and I looked at how couples manage these situations when partners have different sexual interests in ways that are satisfying to both romantic partners. We were specifically interested in this topic because desire discrepancies between partners are common in relationships—in one of our studies, 80% of people had experienced a desire discrepancy with their partner in the past month; in other study, couples reported some degree of desire discrepancy on 5 out of 7 days a week. And we know from past research that disagreements related to sex can be very difficult to resolve successfully.