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Sex Drive Disparity Strains Relationship

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Q. I have a problem and I don't know where to turn. My partner and I don't have sex very often anymore. We have been together for over five years.

I became depressed because of work, family and medical issues but worked through it with his help. He is a great man and I love him more than anything. The problem is that we only have sex three times a month if I’m lucky.

He says it’s not me, but rather that he is under stress from work, family and friends. Is there anything a woman can do to slow down her sex drive? I love this man and will do anything for him, even give up sex if I must.

A. It should not be necessary to give up sex. According to Dr. Ruth Westheimer, a difference in sex drive between two partners is not unusual. She suggests that in a loving relationship, one partner can help the other achieve sexual satisfaction even without intercourse.

Couples counseling can be helpful. He may need a medical checkup to rule out problems with low testosterone. If he is heavy, weight loss may help. A new study suggests that overweight men may have hormonal imbalances that diminish sex drive (Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, April, 2009).
No drugs are approved for lowering libido, but many antidepressants have this effect. So does the herb vitex (chaste tree berry).

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My husband slowly lost all interest in sex. He was only in his 50's but his doctor said it was normal. He went to a urologist who said his hormone levels were normal but he had abnormally high prolactin levels. This Dr. sent him to an endocrinologist who started him on carbergoline. In a matter of weeks, his interest was back and our love life was great again. A urologist can be really helpful. My husband had just been too embarrassed to mention it.

I've heard that the opposite situation is also common (i.e. male with normal sex drive and female with low sex drive) and it can break relationships.
My wife has been "off sex" for over 4 years now. On average we have sex less than once a month, sometimes going for 3 or 4 months without sex. From what I've heard, this is particularly unusual.

We have sought lots of medical, and other advice but although there have been many theories (anti-depressants, stress, hormones, etc) no solution has yet been found. My wife ensures me that it's her problem, not mine, but the associated feelings of guilt, low ego and frustration serve to compound the problems.

I love my wife but I'm aware that this is a major problem for me.
I find myself much more inclined to notice the attention of other women and I am deeply concerned that this problem will one day break an otherwise perfect relationship.

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