a young couple in bed has problems and crisis. divorce and separation.

This article was written several years ago in response to a question from a visitor to this web site. Since that time we have received nearly 400 comments from other visitors to this page. Many are heartbreaking. It is clear that a great many women are experiencing frustration because their partners have a low libido or zero interest in sexual activity. These women think that the only answer to this dilemma is to suppress their female sexuality. Many of these women are relatively young. We find that tragic. But we also understand that many people are willing to sacrifice sex to maintain their relationship. 

You Are NOT Alone!

Q. Wow. After reading dozens of other posts to this website I can’t believe so many others know what this is like. My sex drive is slightly above average. My boyfriend’s is well below average. Other than the lack of sex my relationship is perfect.

I wish this one thing didn’t hurt so much. We’re both in our mid 30’s and healthy. He just doesn’t desire sex. Apparently this has been an issue for him before. On average we have sex once every 6 weeks or so. Its driving me crazy. At this point once a week would sound good to me.

It hurts so much to feel so undesired. Even when we do have sex it’s only to please me. The sex is really good when it happens. Every time we do I get my hopes up that it’ll be more frequent but my hopes are always crushed. Between rejection and knowing sex does so little for him I want to give up. That’s why I’m searching for something to kill my sex drive. Never could I have imagined this would be my life.

A. It has surprised us how many women have experienced the same problem you are going through. It is almost as if there is some environmental exposure that is dampening desire of millions of men. To see what other women are going through, here are two links on our website:

Seeking Ways To Suppress Sex Drive

and

Women Who Want Sex More Than Men

We are always reluctant to suggest strong medications that might dampen desire. This seems like a terrible solution to what appears to be a growing problem in America. Suppressing female sexuality with powerful drugs makes no sense to us.

Antidepressants that Alter Female Sexuality:

Most of the antidepressant medications such as citalopram, fluoxetine, paroxetine, sertraline and venlafaxine will have an impact on male and female sexuality. Adverse reactions include dampening of desire (low libido), difficulty with sexual arousal, inability to achieve orgasm, pain and general dissatisfaction with sex. The incidence of such side effects can range from 40 to over 80 percent (Mayo Clinic Proceedings, Sept., 2016).

You won’t see these kinds of numbers in the official labeling for most antidepressants. That’s because people are often reluctant to discuss something so personal with a heath professional. Here is what the FDA mandates in the official prescribing information for some antidepressants:

“Reliable estimates of the incidence and severity of untoward experiences involving sexual desire, performance and satisfaction are difficult to obtain, however, in part because patients and physicians may be reluctant to discuss them. Accordingly, estimates of the incidence of untoward sexual experience and performance cited in product labeling, are likely to underestimate their actual incidence.”

Drug-Induced Male Disinterest in Sex:

One of the contributors to a lack of male libido could be related to medications. Not only do antidepressants like duloxetine (Cymbalta) cause sexual dysfunction in men, so do drugs for urinary difficulties brought on by benign prostate enlargement (BPH).  These would medications such as dutasteride, finasteride and tamsulosin.

Many other drugs can also contribute to low sex drive. Before a couple gives up on sex, it is important to consider medications as a factor and ask a health professional whether there are alternatives that won’t dampen desire.

Other Antidepressant Side Effects:

If a woman asks a physician for an antidepressant prescription to kill her sex drive she should know about other consequences. That’s because such drugs have a long list of side effects that are quite worrisome.

In addition to decreased libido, antidepressants can cause weird dreams, drowsiness, dry mouth, sweating, hot flashes, insomnia, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, tremor, blurred vision, headache, fatigue, dizziness, nausea, irregular heart rhythms, diarrhea and weakened bones.

Stopping antidepressants suddenly can trigger withdrawal symptoms including nightmares, brain “zaps,” dizziness, vertigo, headaches, anxiety, irritability, nausea, diarrhea, tremor, fatigue and visual disturbances.

Spearmint To Lower Libido?

Here is an alternative to antidepressants that might be safer. A reader shared this story about female sexuality:

“I read on your website about women desperate to reduce their libido. I used to suffer from the same unwelcome sexual desires. I think my sex drive was due to excess testosterone.

“I fixed this problem by drinking spearmint tea in the morning and the evening for several weeks. Spearmint is available in health food stores or Latino groceries, where it is sold as yerba buena”.

We were surprised to read that in Turkey, mint tea has a reputation for lowering libido. Animal research suggests that it may have an impact on testosterone.

Researchers treated 21 women who had unwanted facial hair suggesting high testosterone levels (Phytotherapy Research, May, 2007). A cup of spearmint tea twice a day for five days lowered free testosterone.

A British trial randomized 42 women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and high testosterone levels to take either spearmint tea or placebo tea twice a day for a month. At the end of 30 days testosterone levels were lower in the women who had consumed spearmint tea (Phytotherapy Research, Feb. 2010).

Spearmint tea seems much less likely to have undesirable side effects than certain other remedies people have tried, including saltpeter, chaste tree berry or licorice.

Licorice to Lower Libido is Risky

Another Option re: Female Sexuality:

Dr. Ruth Westheimer

NEW YORK NY – FEBRUARY 24 2017: Dr. Ruth Westheimer attends ‘As You Are’ New York Premiere at Village East Cinema

Perhaps a better solution would be to ask your partner to listen to our interview with Dr. Ruth. We talked with her on the radio about exactly this problem. Her suggestion: have the partner satisfy the person with the stronger sex drive.

We won’t get too graphic here, but Dr. Ruth does not mince words. At her age and with her experience in sexual education, she can be surprisingly candid. In a loving relationship, the partner with the lower sex drive should be happy to help the other achieve sexual satisfaction. Here’s a link to Radio Show 680: Enjoying Sex After 50. You can listen to the streaming audio for free by clicking on the green arrow inside the black circle just under the title.

What do you do to deal with different levels of libido? We would like to see your story. Post a comment below and share your own experience with this common problem. There are hundreds of comments. Take a few minutes to read some of these poignant stories. Here is just the tip of the iceberg:

Amelia shares this sad story:

“I am 50 going for 51. I was divorced and single for four years. Then I got married to a wonderful man. I love my husband so very much.

“My physical drive for sex has not diminished. I feel lost and would rather stop my need to be pleased rather than be rejected. I experience pain and am left frustrated and in tears.

“I tried to inquire if I was asking too much of him. He says no, that he loves me, but he has to be in the mood and that is infrequent. I am going crazy. We have been married over a year and the sex part of our relationship is becoming more and more difficult.”

Tracy is also in a challenging situation:

“I feel I’m in the same situation as many of the women who have shared their stories on this website. I am more than happy to have sex once a week, but my husband shows no interest anymore. If I try to initiate something, he pushes me away and makes excuses. He blames stress a lot of the time.

“The only time he tries to initiate sex is after he’s been drinking. I feel he needs alcohol to want me.

“Am I greedy thinking I have needs too so he should at least try occasionally to satisfy my needs? Maybe I need something to lower my sex drive. Who knew at 43 I’d be the one not having sexual relations.

“Except for sex we have a great relationship.”

R says:

“I was married to a man who never wanted sex after the first 2 years of marriage. It got so bad that I divorced him and am now remarried to a man 9 years younger.

“The sex is fantastic but even he doesn’t want it as often as I do. I still feel such a deep rejection, and it brings up so much disappointment and insecurity. At times I feel that my sex drive is a curse. I will try the spearmint tea and see if it helps.”

Share your own story in the comment section below.

Revised: 2/14/19

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  1. Hannah
    Kentucky
    Reply

    I am going through this right now. I am 18, and my boyfriend is 20. We have been together for about six months. We really only end up having sex about a 1/5 of the times I want to. It hurts my feelings. I have tried masturbating but that just seems to make me more sexual. I hate it because it’s making him feel like he’s inadequate for me, and he’s not. I think he’s a very good boyfriend.

  2. Nicole
    LA
    Reply

    I do not have trouble with low libido. I sometimes have the opposite problem. Sometimes my libido gets too high and at inappropriate times. I have a good sex life with my boyfriend of almost 5 years. He’s the only partner I have had, and I hope it stays that way forever because I love him dearly. The problem for me is when one of us has to be away from the other for extended periods of time. If we have to be away from each other for more than a few days, I have urges that are hard to control. I’m going on a trip with family for almost two weeks in July, and I’m worried I will have urges that will interrupt a fun vacation and cause distress and frustration. Any suggestions with how to control the urges so that it doesn’t cause problems while I’m on a fun family trip? I really don’t want to be over-concerning myself with that the whole two weeks.

  3. Kristen
    Wisconsin, USA
    Reply

    My sex drive is pretty high, and always has been. My husband has been having a decrease in his over the 10 years that we have been married. With-in the first year of marriage, we were down to once a week. He constantly said that he was “too tired” as the reason. Now he told me that, while is is still attracted to me, he just has no sex drive at all. He isn’t even 40 yet! He is almost 38 and I am 35. I have no self-esteem anymore. I wish I could kill my sex drive! Other than this, our marriage is great! I would happily have sex multiple times a day, and he can go months with no issues at all. I don’t know. I just wish I could totally shut my drive off.

  4. Ellie
    Suffolk
    Reply

    I’m 27, nearly 28. My boyfriend is 29 & never wants sex with me. We been together for nearly two years. When we first started dating he was all over me. Then I moved in with him & I’m lucky if we have sex once a month. Yet he told me he used to have sex 8 times a day in one of his relationships. But he still plays with himself every night. I feel like he doesn’t really want me anymore.

  5. Grace
    Tobago
    Reply

    Just today I was speaking to a very close friend of mine about taking something to kill my sex drive. My friend recommended that my husband, who is 12 years older than I am, should visit a doctor and have testosterone shots. I have been experiencing such rejection that I am thinking about leaving him. I feel comforted knowing that I am not alone in this and that many other women understand my pain. I came to the conclusion that it is probably how my life is supposed to be.

  6. john j
    South Carolina
    Reply

    Well, here is one for the books: I have a great desire to have sex with my wife. However, there is one major problem. I had cancer of the prostate in 2014 and had to have surgery. I think I have tried everything, but to no avail. Unable to have an erection. I tried E.D. pills and Trimix,but no results. Anybody got a solution for may problem? Even my urologist ran out of ideas. I really enjoyed sex back in the day, and really hate that I can’t satisfy my wife.Well, it’s not fair to her, either.

  7. Mary
    Greensboro
    Reply

    Can’t imagine needing to suppress libido. Get some toys and masturbate as often as needed. No drugs, convenient, fun, and satisfying,

  8. Heidi
    Puget Sounf
    Reply

    I remember those days, and then menopause hit. Desire still there, body response is not – quite the opposite in fact, pain. No one talks about this. I’d love to see something written about how a menopausal woman can get her groove back.

  9. Mary
    TX
    Reply

    Wondering if men viewing porn has any relationship to their not wanting to have sex with their own woman. Maybe she can’t compete with what’s on the screen, either in looks or actions. Maybe he’s done what he needs to do to fulfill his urges and so isn’t interested in more. Maybe porn use is a symptom of deeper marital issues.

  10. Barbara
    NY
    Reply

    I have an MS symptom that has left me constantly “in the mood.” Vitex supplements, and Licorice Root supplements, have been a huge help. Has been years since the symptom hit, but when it did, these quickly relieved the problem.

  11. Marco
    Reply

    I’m a 55 YO man with a sex drive that never gets out of high gear. My wife has health issues and sex is out of the question. So, I feel your pain.. But, I do not wish to do anything to change my physiology on the issue. My wife’s doctor offered to prescribe something for me to diminish my drive. I said a flat no. I’ll just take the pain thanks. I figure there must be some karmic reason so, I’ll deal with it.

  12. Tom
    Ohio
    Reply

    In the beginning we did it all – 10 years later not so much and it’s been that way ever since – now wit me 67 and her 64 no matter what I try she is just not into it. When we do I am always able to bring her to multiple O because I have done my research. I wish I could give to her some of what these women have.

  13. Alpha
    IN
    Reply

    Going through similar issues. I’m a 36y/o woman with an EXTREMELY high sex drive that has been in over-drive since I was a pre-teen! The love of my life is a 44y/o man who is the sexiest thing on Earth to me but has a low to non-existent sex drive.
    I’m constantly feeling hurt, rejected, disappointed, depressed. I’ve tried EVERYTHING to turn him on, even verbally talk him through his fantasies just to make him have an orgasm while he’s with me intimately. Oh, what this situation has done to my once strong self esteem! When we do make love, it is MAGICAL. The actual act may only last a couple minutes, but the foreplay & the attention itself is AMAZING.

    I simply am at my wits’ end. I’ve even told him if he wants a room mate, then that’s what we will be because that’s generally what we’ve become just 2yrs into our relationship. What does the future hold? I was previously married to a man 2yrs my junior for 10 years & we had mind blowing sex 3 times a day at least for the duration of our marriage!
    I know I’m attractive & the only thing wrong with me is my insatiable drive. but it hurts nonetheless that my King does not desire me.

  14. Karen
    Western Australia
    Reply

    My husband and I have been together for 26 years. I’m 55 he is 48.
    When we first started out it was great as I was his first and only, I took this as a challenge to help him learn all that I could teach him, no this wasn’t it either. It seems He wasn’t experienced in any way and me teaching him embarrassed him. Blah blah blah

    Yesterday morning after 3 month of no sex he woke up needing sex, well you can imagine what my libido was like, my body reacted before I know it we were at it, 30 seconds later after 3 months of abstinence he came and that was it. All over and I’m still hanging. Now we are in the throws of a massive breakdown causing argument and I am at my wits end. What can I do to stop my sexdrive altogether as I can stand this anymore. HELP!!!

  15. Jazz
    Reply

    I’m 22 and I’ve been with my husband for 5 years, married for 2 years. We both stay very fit, but my drive has always been much higher than his, and I’ve always ridiculed him for it. Over the years, it’s grown to really be the only problem we have in our relationship. I wish we could have it 3-4 times a week, but he’d prefer once every 2 weeks, and although it doesn’t sound like much of a difference, it’s killing me.

    I started taking sertaline, not as a result of the sex thing, but because of personal problems, and yet my drive still isn’t low enough. I’ve had the realization that it’s not fair to him to ask him to match my level when he doesn’t want to, so I’ve started doing some research and read that starting birth control pills can lower drive as well.

    Hopefully, taking both of these can help me out, because it hurts so much to be rejected, and it’s come to the point where I feel like my sex drive has become a burden in my life.

  16. Nina
    Burlington
    Reply

    So im in the 20 and Im in a relationship with my girl of 6 month. When we first started dating and having sex it was great . We would have sex three times a week or more and now that we are settled in our relationship I have noticed her sex drive is not the same as it was when we first dated. I have a high sex drive then my girl. When I desire sex she dose not desire it. I hate the idea of me using my girlfriend just to please my pleasures. I enjoy sex with a partner that I can please at the same time so how can i adjust my though of Im just using her to please my sex drive. how can I get her on my sex desire or at least slow mine down.

  17. Rose
    Honolulu
    Reply

    A friend’s husband was recently diagnosed with asperger’s (on the autism spectrum). He apparently had never been interested in sex much, while she WAS interested. Will recommend she try the spearmint tea.

  18. Chris
    MI
    Reply

    I am a 31 yr old woman in a 3 yr relationship with anotherwoman. She is 26. I thoughtafteryrs of dating older women who could not keep up with my sex drive, dating younger would be different. Boy was i wrong. I just dont know what to do. We only have sex maybe 4 or 5 times a year at this point. We are engaged also. Weget along great and have a perfect relationship otherwise.

    It is at the point where I feel guilty for wanting sex. Every time I find myself getting turned on by her i instantly feel like im doing something wrong.

    I feel undesired and rejected. I’m starting to get depressed and become angered easily. I love her so much but at this point I feel like we are doomed to fail. It breaks my heart.

  19. Miranda
    Arkansas
    Reply

    It’s a little comforting to know that this is a real problem and it’s not just me, but depressing all the same. I’m 44, my husband is 47 and we’ve been married 13 years. I have an out of control sex drive made worse by his complete lack of interest in sex (or intimacy in any form).

    I’ve joined a gym, bought sexy nighties, offered all kinds of suggestions hoping he might find me attractive enough to get interested, but I still end up crying on the couch in the middle of the night.

    I know he loves me, it just doesn’t feel like he’s IN love with me anymore. I keep waiting for him to find someone that trips his trigger and he ends up leaving me. His mom moved in with us after his dad passed on and now I find myself wondering if not for her, if he would leave.

    I’ve started taking Citalopram for depression and to help kill my sex drive…still waiting for it to work.

  20. Katy G.
    Ohio
    Reply

    Can depakote lower your sex drive? I was on it. I stopped taking it, and now it seems my sex drive is high but when I was taking it my sex drive was average, 2 times a week sometimes 3 times a week, but now I want sex all the time. My husband sometimes gets frustrated with me because I seem to want it at the wrong time.

  21. Danielle
    TN
    Reply

    I am a almost 51 year old woman. I am very single and no prospects of being in a relationship in my future. Men my age don’t want me and I don’t want to be a cougar. My sex drive went into massive overdrive going into my late 40’s. I am told I am sexy, hot, pretty, beautiful… blah blah blah

    Guys both my son’s ages have called me a MILF (sons are ages 26 and 28). I have even had a kid as young as 23 want to be with me. As flattering as it is, I want a man my age that I have something in common with, that lived through the same era that I did.

    My problem is, other than my sex drive, that men my age don’t see me. The only men that I am not invisible to that are my age have no teeth in their heads, have a drug and/or alcohol problems, and have long lengthy criminal records. People tell me to stop looking and to relax, be myself… Well I have and done all of it.

    I have put myself on the shelf multiple times and just focused on my kids and 7+ years will go by, I am invisible….. If I do this again at my age.. I might as well forget it and to go back on the shelf with my massive sex drive??? It will be pure hell!!!! I need my sex drive gone gone gone!!!!

    There has to be a surgery, a pill or something I can do to kill it… Masturbating and toys just don’t do it for me…. I need the physical skin on skin and human contact… I need the kissing, the touching, the verbal communication and closeness. Well that isnt going to happen for me so I need to stop wanting it!!

    And I need to for people to stop lying to me about how I look but I know that lying to me wont stop and there is nothing I can do about that. I am hoping that there is help for me on killing the sex drive though!!

    • Deeps
      India
      Reply

      Me too; feel same…

      • Kim
        USA
        Reply

        Omg this is me. And to make it worse I am
        A very religious person. I left a parish because I could tell things were about to happen w the hot priest from Argentina. I had fantasies
        About him forever.

    • Lost
      USA
      Reply

      Same here. I’m getting so depressed. He is very very sensual which turns me on all the time, but he doesn’t desire full on sex (not interested enough to even get hard) but he is more than willing to use toys on me, but I’m tired of the toys. I want…crave…NEED skin on skin interaction. I want him inside me, not some stupid ass toy all the time. He wants to please me but I can’t handle all the attention being on me when in my head all I can think is “he doesn’t really want this. He’s only doing it to please me” how can I stay turned on knowing he could care less about sex? At this point all the toys represent to me is my failure to get him interested enough in me to want to be with me himself.

      • Matenai
        JAXBCH
        Reply

        I suggest that you see about getting a perscription to Sildenafil 20mg and then fill it using GoodRX for usually less than $0.35 each. This is same drug as Viagara but much small dose. Take up to 5 is the advice of most doctors, usally one is enough without a real case of erictile disfunction. It will help him be much more sensitive to touch and it will certainly increase his pleasure and yours. I realize this sounds like a stupid or “typical” over simplification, but, more stimulation cannot hurt and may help.

    • Marcy
      AZ
      Reply

      Wow! I can totally relate.

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