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Licorice to Lower Libido Is Risky

Licorice to Lower Libido Is Risky

Q. I am a 21-year-old female and swear I have a male libido. Most guys would find that desirable, but of course I had to fall madly in love with a guy who has a low libido.

Every time I let him know I’m in the mood, he pushes me away or groans like “not again!” I feel like I’m constantly annoying him! I also can’t help but feel that I’m unattractive or unwanted. We get into fights frequently and I feel like I’m the cause even though I can’t help it.

I get so frustrated at him and at myself. I just wish my sex drive were gone!

I don’t want to take pills, but I have heard sodas and licorice lower sex drive. I’m cramming in as much of that as I can, but is there anything else?

A. Please stop overdosing on licorice and soda! Although it is true that natural licorice containing the ingredient glycyrrhizin can lower libido, it has many other effects on the body. Too much of this compound can deplete the body of potassium, raise blood pressure, lead to fluid retention and disrupt hormone balance. Other complications include changes in heart rhythm, muscle damage, fatigue and weakness.

We hope you can encourage your partner to engage in couples counseling. That would be a far healthier way to deal with the frustration you are going through. Sex counseling might also be beneficial. The counselor may suggest ways for your partner to satisfy you even when he is not in the mood himself.

As for soda, the effects on libido are secondary to the long-term damage it can do to metabolism and weight.

We want you to know that you are not alone. Our website has been a beacon for many other women who are going through something very similar. Here is a link to our landing page: “Seeking Ways to Suppress Sex Drive.” There are so many similar stories that may give you solace. Here is just one example:

“Wow – lots of women on here who share my problem. For so long I thought I was a real rarity! It’s a relief as well as disheartening. Makes me wonder if anyone with a high sex drive is doomed to fall in love with someone of a lower sex drive. I mean, how would you know this about someone unless you’ve had a sexual relationship with them for a couple of years or so? And by that point, you’re committed to a certain degree, and it’s harder to get out.

“I’ll share my story…

“I fell in love with my husband when I was just 16 years old. At first, things were great – he couldn’t keep his hands off me, and I loved that. I’ve always been made fun of for my body type – skinny with small breasts, etc. and as a result I had a poor body image. In comes this guy who looks at me like I’m the most gorgeous thing he’s ever set eyes on and he can’t keep his hands off me to boot? I was in heaven. In love, for sure. He accepted me for who I was and never asked me to be anything else.

“For a girl who was desperately trying to be accepted by her parents and her peers, that was all I could have wanted. Well, that and sex. I guess the fact that he wasn’t pushing me for sex should’ve been my clue that it wasn’t all that important to him, but I was young and honestly couldn’t imagine a guy who wouldn’t want it all the time. After all, that’s all you hear about on television and in social crowds. So I honestly, (stupidly) thought I’d be any guy’s dream come true. I vowed to never, ever turn down my future husband’s advances – I would baby and love him all he wanted!

“Well, here I am 11 years later and I sometimes wonder if I fell in love for the wrong reasons. If I fell in love with the sexual attention he gave me rather than the man himself because now that the attention’s gone, I don’t feel much for him anymore. I feel “checked out” of the marriage. He knows this. He’s even said that without our sex life being the way I’d like it to be that I “care about him, but I don’t love him” and it’s true. I care about him, but it feels more platonic now than anything. I always pictured a husband as primarily a lover, and he doesn’t feel like my husband anymore – more like a live-in companion – and that’s not what I want from a marriage.

“We’ve talked about separating, and basically the ball is in my court. He claims that I want a “jerk” – a guy who will just want to do me all the time and other than that, go off and do his own thing. Though I wouldn’t call such a guy a jerk, that is kind of what I want. I have my own interests (mostly writing) that take up a lot of my time, and I’m more or less a loner.

“So yeah, I think it’d be nice to have a man who’s capable of fending for himself and doesn’t need a lot of “mothering” so to speak. A man who would appreciate being given his space. Don’t get me wrong, I loved to baby my husband in the beginning of our marriage (as in, bring him a glass of tea, make his plate for him, etc.), but at the time, he was babying me as well (giving me lots of sexual attention and just affection in general). Now he acts like I should continue to baby him even though he refuses to do the same for me anymore. I’m sorry, but that isn’t fair.

“He straight up told me that after a while, the passionate stuff dies down, and that there’s no bringing it back. That all that lovey stuff is childish and was okay when we were teenagers, but not now. Like he equates maturity with chastity. For me, sex should be always fun and exciting – spontaneous and passionate – and because he was very spontaneous, very passionate in the beginning, I thought he felt the same way. I’ve told him how it hurts to feel like he deceived me. If sex wasn’t important to him, why didn’t he tell me from the beginning?

“The hardest thing is knowing that he’s perfectly content with the way things are. It seems that what he wants from a marriage is stale, boring, peace. I’d almost rather be fighting and screaming than to live in peaceable boredom. The point is that, he has no motivation to change. I want things to go back to the way they were, and he likes things the way they are. It’s not even that we never have sex, but most of the time it feels like he’s simply going through the motions. Or that it’s only when I bring up the problem that he’ll make an effort to initiate or be more into it, etc. To me, that means that passion doesn’t come naturally to him and that the problem will never be really solved. Again, it feels like there’s no hope in that regard, either.

“There’s also this part of me that’s saying he deserves someone who will love him for who he is. Not some grown-up sixteen year old who fell in love with him for all the wrong reasons. That’s where the caring about him bit comes in. I want good things for him. I want him to have someone who’ll love him in the way he should be loved. And I want the same for me. To me, it seems you are doomed to marry someone whose sex drive will be in direct opposition to yours, unless maybe you’re both physically fit and that plays into sex drive, but let’s face it – most people aren’t into exercise, me being one of them. So now I feel like maybe I should get a fresh start. Get to know a man before I jump into the sex because it will inevitably cloud my judgment. You know, make sure there is something more than sex there that will hold my interest and devotion for many years to come.” Dannielle

You may also find this link comforting: “Women Who Want Sex More than Men.” There are many other similar stories to comfort you. Knowing that you are not alone may not solve the problem, but at least you can appreciate that there are others going through much the same thing. Some have suggestions you may find helpful.

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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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