sexually frustrated couple

Check your email and chances are you will find spam. Even with a filter to block out unwanted messages, some junk slips through. These ads frequently offer to enhance your sex life.

But what if you don’t want a more active sex life? We frequently hear from women who would prefer to dampen their partners’ desire: “Can saltpeter lower a man’s sex drive? If not, is there a natural herb that will?”

Saltpeter (potassium nitrate) has been used in fertilizer and fireworks. It was also used at one time to cure meats. Although it has a reputation for lowering libido, this is a myth. Potassium nitrate could be dangerous if consumed, however. It can cause kidney damage or anemia as well as headaches and digestive distress.

As for natural herbs to reduce libido, there is only one we know of. It is chaste tree berry (Vitex agnus-castus). This herb was known as “monk’s pepper” and was purportedly used to dampen libido in the Middle Ages.

Women aren’t the only ones who are interested in suppressing sex drive. One reader recently contacted us with this question: “I desperately need your help. Neither my primary doctor nor my psychiatrist is interested, so I turn to you.

“What can I take to reduce my libido? I have a lovely wife who for the last seven years has not been interested. She is the only person in my life. Your input on this would help keep me from driving myself nuts as well as her. I’m currently taking lithium, sertraline, lorazepam and trazodone. After the ridicule both doctors put me through, I certainly hope you can help.”

Your physicians should not be giving you any grief, especially since the combination of medicines you are taking could be hazardous. What’s more, trazodone may be aggravating your situation.

Ask a urologist or a specialist in sexual medicine whether a medication for prostate enlargement might be safe for you. Drugs such as Avodart or Proscar can sometimes lower libido as a side effect. That is because they block the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT).

Progesterone is another hormonal treatment that may be useful in suppressing sexual interest. This drug does have numerous side effects, however, so you will need to discuss it in detail with your physician. The herb Vitex appears to have a mild, progesterone-like effect and may be safer.

Counseling is essential, regardless of drug treatment. Although your wife is not interested, physical intimacy is usually part of a wholesome relationship. Invite your wife to join you in therapy with an expert who specializes in human sexuality.

We would like to send you a CD of a recent hour-long radio show interview we did with one of the country’s leading experts in sexual medicine. Irwin Goldstein, MD, is Director of Sexual Medicine at Alvarado Hospital in San Diego and Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Sexual Medicine. During the interview, he addressed problems of both high and low libido as well as erectile dysfunction and other sexual problems.

Join Over 75,000 Subscribers at The People's Pharmacy

Each week we send two free email newsletters with breaking health news, prescription drug information, home remedies and a preview of our award-winning radio show. Join our mailing list and get the information you need to make confident choices about your health.

  1. DB

    I have been with my absolutely perfect girlfriend for almost two years now and I know that she’s the one. We’ve looked at rings and even started planning the wedding. For the first 7 months our sex life was amazing and that’s even an understatement. We were two people craving eachother and I couldn’t beleive that such a beautiful, sexy girl could want me as her man but I felt like I was living in a dream. Then it stopped, it went from twice every other day to twice a month to now once every month or two. I don’t know what to do. We can’t talk about it cause everything we do she tells me that I’m no better then another guy who tries to push their girl into sex. I am so attracted to her, I don’t think about anyone else ever. I want to marry this girl and now that it’s been like this for a year now her patience for me is weakening.

    If I try to make an advance and kiss her neck while feeling her perfect body she pushes me away and tells me to sleep on the floor or in the other room. I don’t know what else to do. I don’t want to lose her. I workout a lot and I worry about taking something to kill my sex drive cause I worry about it effecting my workouts as well cause I know that if I lose my poster boy body she won’t ever want to touch me… Someone please help me

  2. fame

    I am so shocked that women have sexual desire and that they long to make love to their spouse’s, mine is a case that I find difficult to understand, my wife of seven years has never had any sexual advances towards me. I am always the one who seems to be on fire for sex this desire is driving me crazy, I am a strong believer in principles of the bible to be faithful to one wife for the rest of your life but I am forced to seek for sexual fulfilment via the Internet by watching women who are hot for their sexual partners, I don’t know how to reduce this crazy desire for sex, o am so stressed up

  3. Max

    My desire for physical intimacy has outlived its usefulness, and I wish I could eliminate it forever. As a man with two failed marriages behind me, chronic and severe mental problems which prevent me from working or being in any way useful and productive, and an increasing desire to shut myself away from everyone, I despise the physical urges that still remain. Physically, I am utterly repugnant, with a personality to match. As a person, I am at best defective, and at worst a monstrous failure. After forty one trips around the sun, I have come to the conclusion that, for me, there is no quarter from life’s misery and that until I die, things will only get progressively worse. The mere thought of sex is a torment that I am forced to endure, and I do not want this anymore. It is just another facet of myself that I loathe, another weakness and failing that haunts me. I wish I could either rid myself of it or just kill myself outright, but as with everything else in my wretched excuse for a life, I fail every time.

  4. jaymetal
    washington dc

    I wish I had the drive as strong as my sex drive to end my life because as much as I desire sex and never receive is making my life miserable. I am in my 50s. Single and alone and have never felt desirable. I never dated and am ugly, heavy and lost hair. Yet, sex feelings are taking over my life. I can’t control the wave of thoughts anymore than I can the ideation to harm myself grossly… I’m at my ends wit. Done.

  5. CO distressed

    I have got a wonderful man for a husband and will marry him over and over again.
    We’ve been married for over three years now and in the first year of our marriage,
    we had a great sex life. Making love like once or twice every other day. By the end
    of the first year, I was pregnant and we both were overly excited. Sex became infrequent and that worried me a bit. When I talked to him about it he just explained
    to me that he sees and loves me in a different way due to the pregnancy. That didn’t sound too good but I was ready to be patient and understanding nevertheless.

    After our son’s birth, it got even worse. I have tried everything from working on my post baby body to wearing sexy lingeries to creating time for romantic evenings and even sincere heart to heart talk but none of that has worked. Its not like he’s tired from work or anything he’s just never in the mood. Seems like I’m the only one wanting him and that doesn’t make me feel good. I want to be wanted too but he hardly ever notices my sexual needs and cravings. I’m lucky if we make love once in 3 to 4 months and thats after I have begged and cried for it. There’s a kind of inner glow and confidence that making love with my husband brings me but now I’m beginning to lose my self esteem.(feeling fat and ugly even though obviously I’m not)

    I love my hubby so much and I know for sure he loves me too. He’s been a loving and caring husband in every other way and God forbid that I cheat on him. But this continued unfulfilled sexual yearning is breaking me and am just plain tired of being rejected all the time and crying myself to sleep. I just want to quench this sex drive and be on the same frequency with my husband,at least that way we’ll both be happy (hopefully) Any help for a distressed housewife?

  6. Jim

    I wish I could just cut off my testicles and be done with it.

  7. Aimee

    I am a woman who has a high libido. My partner does as well, but not like mine. I want it all the time, and when I get it, I feel great in terms of confidence, my day, and life.

    Yet, I wish I could be “hard to get.” I can’t figure out what to do about this. I want to be the girl who is high sex driven and fun, but my partner wants me to be coy and subtle. How do you just turn it off? It seems no one knows the answer.

    Yet, I wanted to give my opinion to the men. As a woman, it may sound crazy for a man to reject me over and over. In my mind, it would mean that they did not care about my feelings and needs. For those men out there who say that their wives and gfs could care less about sex, that is not ok, in my opinion. I am not saying to leave them (yet), but I do think you deserve to have a conversation about meeting somewhere near the middle.

    You should have a healthy sex life, which means sex sometimes. Not never. Those women who don’t want to have sex when their men want to, they should realize they are in a relationship, not your in a relationship with her.

  8. distressed

    Just knowing I’m not the only one suffering, has made me feel a little better.
    I’ve got a really wonderful man for a husband and we’ve been married for
    over 3yrs now. We had a great sex life the first year of our marriage, making
    love like every other day or even twice a day. At the end of the first year I found I was pregnant which we both were excited about and then suddenly the sexual coldness started creeping in. We would manage to have sex once in a month. It was a bit worrying for me but when I talked to him about it he just explained to me that he sees
    nd loves me in a different way as I’m pregnant. It didn’t sound too good to me but I tried to be understanding all the same.

    Fast forward to after our son’s birth and things moved from bad to worse. I have
    tried everything from working on my post baby body to sexy lingeries to romantic
    evenings to sharing my feeling with him severally but none of that has worked. I literally beg for sex most times of which I’m turned down. Not that he’s tired from work or anything hes just always nt in the mood, no matter how sexy im looking (or think I’m looking). I’m lucky if we have sex once in 3-4mnths initiated by me with lots of plea of course and this is affecting my self esteem.

    I really really love my husband and I know he loves me too. He’s a wonderful husband and father in every aspect and God forbid that I cheat on him, but this continued
    unfulfilled sexual need is turning me into an emotional wreck. I’m tired of feeling
    rejected hurt and crying myself to sleep. I just want to quench this sex drive and be on
    the same frequency with my husband at least that way we will both be happy (hopefully). Any help???

  9. jacinda

    I want it all the time but my boyfriend almost seems to not want me at all I’ve done everything I could to get him to notice me I feel so worthless I’m tired of begging an getting mad about it wish I could stop thinking about sex cause I’m just not wanted anymore

  10. Divyang

    You may tell your husband to masturbate as earlier when you don’t feel like having it.

  11. Amy

    My husband has dealt with chronic testicular pain since the onset of puberty. The only thing he’s found that consistently provides relief is ejaculation, so during his teens, he masturbated regularly (nightly). As an adult, once he married (the first time), he felt he’d be ok.. but she wasn’t interested in being a consistent sexual partner and they divorced after 27 years (7 of which were a solid dry spell due to her unwillingness).

    We married about 9 months after his divorce. It’s been hard for me. I so often feel like a piece of meat for his pain relief… instead of a wife. We don’t “make love”.. it’s sex (or worse). So now I’m following in her footsteps because I don’t like sex being a chore.


  12. Xarium

    I am fed up with my sex drive and have always felt I’d be more productive if I could just switch it off. I am determined to find a way! I do have kids and a wife, but she could care less about sex. It is so destructive to have this constant nagging, similar to an an insatiable hunger.

What Do You Think?

We invite you to share your thoughts with others, but remember that our comment section is a public forum. Please do not use your full first and last name if you want to keep details of your medical history anonymous. A first name and last initial or a pseudonym is acceptable. Advice from other commenters on this website is not a substitute for medical attention. Do not stop any medicine without checking with the prescriber. Stopping medication suddenly could result in serious harm. We expect comments to be civil in tone and language. By commenting, you agree to abide by our commenting policy and website terms & conditions. Comments that do not follow these policies will not be posted.