The People's Perspective on Medicine

Husband Seeking Ways to Lower Wife’s Libido

Young and middle-aged women are complaining that their partners are virtually uninterested in sex. What is behind this epidemic of low libido?

Q. I am a male and I feel horrible that I can’t match my wife’s libido any more. We are both in our 30s, and my sex drive has decreased over time while her libido has drastically increased.

I’ve been told that women reach their sexual peak much later than men, which would explain this. In our 20s, I was the one begging for sex all the time.

My wife is sexually frustrated and I feel emasculated since I can’t satisfy her as often as she would like. I also work a stressful job and that affects libido.

I read on your website that spearmint tea might help curb her cravings. Is there any science to support this suggestion?

A. Before trying to dampen your wife’s sex drive, perhaps you should see your physician to make sure there is nothing causing your low libido. For example, testosterone levels should be checked. Counseling may help you deal with the stress of your job and might also benefit the relationship.

Women’s Perspectives on Partners’ Low Libido:

We have heard from hundreds of women that their partners are just not interested in sex. And we are not talking about women in the seventies or eighties. In fact, the complaints are so common that we are beginning to think there might be environmental contaminants that could cause low libido for millions of men.

Perhaps estrogenic compounds in beverages or food are dampening the sex drive of American men. Here are just a few stories from our website:

M’s story:

“I am incredibly young (early twenties) and my husband and I have been together since we were seventeen. You would think since we are so young and early in our marriage (a year and a half) that the sex would be frequent and enjoyable.

“I feel silly, especially after reading some of the comments on this website [where women wait for months to have sex with their partners], but we have sex maybe once a week and I practically have to beg for it. And whenever we have sex it’s short and only satisfying in the sense that it gets the job done but isn’t toe curling.

“I absolutely hate having to ask for it all the time and still have him find some way out of it.”

J.E.S. is also young:

“I am 24 and I’ve been with my partner one year and two months. My partner has a very low sex drive too and I also have to beg for it.

“Besides the sex life we have a brilliant relationship. I adore him and so does my little one. I feel so bad being rejected. It feels so good to see stories from other women on this website who are dealing with this too.”

K’s story:

“This is honestly the most frustrating problem. I’ve been with my boyfriend for almost a year now. I really love him, and we get along really well. He’s my best friend, but he’s almost never in the mood and I keep feeling rejected because of how little sex we have.

“The first six months of our relationship were amazing, with us having sex around twice a week. Now I think the last time was around two months ago. I don’t even want to initiate anything anymore just because I know I’m going to get shot down. I love him very much but I just really need the intimacy that comes with sex.”

We do not know what is behind this strange and seemingly widespread lack of sexual desire among young and middle-aged men. So many women have written to us seeking ways to to suppress their sex drive that we are confounded. Here is a link to over 100 heartbreaking stories.

What About Spearmint Tea to Lower Libido?

There are a few studies of spearmint tea showing that it reduces free testosterone, which might affect sex drive (Phytotherapy Research, Feb., 2010).

We think spearmint tea is a poor substitute for trying to discover what is behind this “epidemic” of low libido. Counseling remains an important tool to understand the dynamics of the relationship. And checking hormone levels must be part of any medical workup.

Please share your own story below and vote on this article at the top of the page.

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.” .
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I too have a stronger sex drive than my husband, but it’s not as much of an issue now that we’re close to retirement age. I resort to masturbation when necessary; better than nothing!

Regarding the “epidemic” of men’s lowered desire, I wonder if it’s the estrogenizing effect of weight gain. Could be, since there’s a corresponding epidemic of obesity.

At retirement age, my sex drive has greatly improved after being put on a low dose testosterone regimem. The problem is that my wifes drive has diminished with age though, never that great from day one. If your husband is willing, Androgel might be the answer.

Why is it that the wife’s libedo has to be repressed to sort this problem? Yes I think it is a good idea that this guy gets a medical check-up to make sure that there is not some underlying cause. But he should be thinking of other ways of satisfying his wife, it’s not just penatrative sex which gives satisfaction, perhaps he needs to loosen up a bit, be more playful and use his imagination more and find other ways of providing her with stimulation, and he could even ask her what she would like him to do!

After twenty years of happy marriage, my husband no longer wants frequent sex -unlike myself. This problem started a couple of years ago. I miss the intimacy, the fun and are frustrated that my spouse seems happy with the arrangement. Something is missing – I don’t just want to be friends. We are in our early fifties. I love mint tea but it does not have the above mentioned effect…

Hi Martina, I am in exactly the same position as you and struggling with what to do. Any advice greatly appreciated

I sought help from an Endocrinologist (MD) back in 2000. I had low Testosterone but the injections did not help. The doctor said it was – Psychological / Relationship Issue(s). I then sought out a Naturopath (ND) who checked my Male Hormone levels but also my Female Hormone Levels. My Estrogen Level was 4x the normal. He placed me one a Female Hormone Blocking Agent.

My wife & I suffered because this MD was not current on treatment !

A few years ago, I saw a documentary on television about how a growing psychological problem in America is addiction to pornography. In the documentary, a newly married couple with serious intimacy problems was interviewed, and it turns out that there had been no problems between them prior to the husband’s commencement of viewing on-line pornographic videos. Over time, he apparently became addicted to the activity due to powerful brain imagery that was connected to extremely heightened sexual arousal patterns. Like Pavlov’s dogs, the sexual pattern became paired with idealized images – so much so that he was no longer aroused by normal intimacy with his wife.

This only came to light, by the way, when his wife unexpectedly walked in on him masturbating at the computer and confronted him. As a teacher, this disturbed me greatly, and I remember bringing it up with my students in class in hopes of discouraging them from even accessing such pornography out of curiosity. With so much of this material available on line now, I wonder if this is another possibility, at least in some cases. I don’t doubt hormones could play a role in some cases, but this scenario is bound to be commonplace.

In reading I’m wondering if men aren’t forgetting the comfort and intimacy of spooning and pillow talk instead of a quickie.

Im 47, Doctor gave me a T shot, now I have acne on chest, back and face, man boobs, and balls shrink, why did I take this to boost sex drive? nothing sexy about it.

My wife and I are in our 70’s and have been together for over 50 years. We enjoy sex at least 5 times a week and have our entire lives together. It keeps us close.

Add me to the list of women whose partners are absolutely not interested in sex. Five years ago he sat me down & announced that he was done with “all that”, yet had no answer as to what I was supposed to do now. We’re both in our 60s now, but it was never more than once a week and I had to beg for that. He’s on testosterone therapy now, but has given no indication that it’s effected his desire. He’s also been a diabetic for years, and is (in my estimation) an alcoholic, as he drinks from midafternoon until late at night daily, either of which could account for his lack of libido. Regardless, it’s devastating to a woman.

Sadly, my sexual relationship with my husband was deeply impacted when he started watching online pornography. Through counseling, I learned the term “sexual anorexia?” Are you familiar with this term? Apparently the condition is affecting thousands of marriages now that pornography is easily accessible online.

I believe that men viewing pornography is a chief reason for less sex with wives/girlfriends.

is it really an “epidemic of low libido” or in the relative new willingness to discuss the problem, folks are speaking out in their search to find help? I have a similar condition and there are two conflicts : 1) my urologist is reluctant to treat low testosterone due to the possible physiological conflict between the drug and prostate cancer, and 2) there is a pharmaceutical solution for ED, but despite the slick media ads, who can afford nearly $250/month = $3000/year.

Let me guess why men might feel emasculated. Hint: it has something to do with the increasingly institutionalized narrative about men and masculinity that, by means of rewards and a pervasive sense of threat of life-altering social, legal and economic consequences, encourages a compromised, shaming and punishing relationship with their masculinity. Some men will be affected much more than others. Perhaps avoiding popular culture would be a good start to healing.

I’m so impressed that this guy is being man enough to ask for help. Everyone assumes it’s the men getting rejected. In my 20s I was also married to a young man who had very little interest in sex (at least with me). To make matters worse, he refused to talk about it, and acted as though it was somehow my fault. There were other problems, as well so I don’t want to imply that ending the relationship is the only solution. However, I have been married to a wonderful man for over 25 years. We’ve both slowed down, but we also continue to have a very satisfying sex life together. Good communication and a willingness to work together (and in this case, seeing a physician) can really make a difference. It would be nice to hear from men and women who have turned things around!

There is recent evidence that early exposure (elementary/middle school) and use of Pornography on the Internet and all online platforms is warping the male brain of maintaining sex activity and acheiving orgasm. Unlike the dirty magazines of the past, the Internet has created ‘perfect sex partners’ that cannot be found in real life thus men begin to rely on/ orgasm thru online customized Pornography. There is a report that even Hugh Hefner now requires ‘computer Pornography’ to achieve which he watches while in company of his special bunnies. Women should be asking about their husbands pornography use and if it is used as a more pleasurable experience than real physical intimacy.

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