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Low Sex Drive


My husband and I have only been married for about 5 months now. We have only had sex about 3 times in those 5 months. We can go two to three months without it. We don’t talk about it and neither of us ever really initiate it. The topic just doesn’t come up. We both seem happy with our relationship, but the more I read about what is "normal" the more I get scared that we’re not! What should I do to help me with this situation, or help us for that matter? I have heard that lack of sex can lead to divorce and that is the last thing I want! I love my husband dearly and want to make sure we are both happy and healthy. I just don’t feel like our sexual desires and also activity is normal or healthy. Please help!

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The word ‘normal’ is frequently misunderstood. What it actually means is ‘average’. What people think it means is ‘recommended’ or ‘ideal’. All normal refers to is what is most characteristic of a group of thing. What is most characteristic is not always what is best.  This is particularly true when dealing with things that are matters of personal preference.

Think about music for a moment. The most popular music (the most average music as measured by what an average person is likely to be listening to at any given moment) is the ‘Top 40’ stuff played on the pop radio stations.  Some of that music is worth listening to, but pop music is by no means the best music in the world.  There are many different kinds of music styles out there, and only a very narrow sliver of it could ever have a chance of ranking on the Top 40 charts. Jazz music for instance is wonderful stuff, but you’ll never hear it on the radio (except on some public station or on satellite). I happen to like music that is sold under the genre labels ‘World’ and ‘Ambient’ but you will hardly ever hear anything from these styles played on the radio. The point is that we each have our own ideas about what sorts of music we like and much of it is not the popular stuff; is not ‘normal’ and that is perfectly okay. Musical taste (ideas about what music is best) is and should be a personal choice and not something dictated by a popular Top 40 radio station. The same is true of sex.

Sexual preferences are very personal. That includes not only what varieties of sexual activity we each like to participate in, but also how much sexual activity we like to have. People naturally vary in how much sexual ‘drive’ they have. Some people need sex every day. Others can go for very long periods of time without desiring it. People who must have sex every day and people who don’t care much if they have it once a month aren’t having the average amount of sex (and thus are not normal), but it doesn’t really matter because they are having the amount of sex they desire. Where I’m going is that if the amount of sexual activity you and your husband have is pleasing to both of you and you are balanced in your desire for sexual activity then there is little cause for alarm.

I do think it would be useful to share your concerns with your husband, either by just starting a conversation between the two of you, or possibly in the context of marriage therapy if the topic is too sensitive to address otherwise. It is important to know why each of you is desiring less than the average amount of sex. If that is just the way each of you are made and you each are happy enough with the status quo, then you should consider yourselves blessed to have found each other. Sexual compatibility is always a good thing. If there is a mismatch between your actual frequency of sexual contact and desire on either of your parts, however, then your apparent compatibility is illusory. In that case, you will be well advised to work out in as non-judgmental manner as possible why it is hard for the partner(s) who wants more sex to ask for it. Particularly if you come from households that are hung-up about sex, it may be hard to talk about it. There may be feelings surrounding sex that make it dirty and shameful instead of the wonderful sharing, caring, lustful experience it can and ought to be. What you are shooting for is a situation where both partners are able to express their desires and concerns with one another in an open and honest manner so that no hidden frustrations or embarrassments stay lurking about waiting around to grow into larger problems.

More "Ask Anne" View Columnists

  • Kat

    While I understand and agree w/ the above interactions, my question is this....I have no sexual desire since I had my second child and my husband has given up on a sex life w/ me. He never initiates anything and I always forget that it is achore on my list of things to do to make our marriage work. Any suggestions?

  • John

    Sometimes we give up on initiating lovemaking with our wives when our wives have made it clear that they are not interested, and especially when they have said that they have no intention of compromising with us. We have to retain at least a little pride or self-worth.

  • Anonymous-1


  • his wife

    I was married to S for 5 years. His family and most of his friends knew he was a gay/bi man. I was last to know, My advice is not to be afraid to ask him is he is bi- sexual or Gay. I am now getting a divorce. His attraction was for other men, it had nothing to do with me.

  • sarah

    OMG, you are me, I don't know how to feel. I have no sex drive, and would rather be left alone than cuddle or talk, and just detest the thought of sex. I have two small children, and I am exhausted. My husband does not understand why I would want to go to sleep rather than be intimate. He feels rejected, we fight, and I feel like it's an obligation. I wonder if it is just me and struggle with just not feeling "attracted" to him. Should I have my hormones checked, is their some magic wand that I can borrow, how do you deal with it. I can't talk about it, you don't want anyone to know, but it dosen't just go away.

  • DJ

    It's intresting to hear both sides of this problem. However, both parties have a responsiblity to the other to support and meet their respective needs. I've been married for over 13 years, have two great kids and a loving wife. She's become self absorbed in her work and show's no intrest in me what so ever. I've tried numerous things to keep the intrest there and do things that I believe she would appreciate and support. Nothing works. We have sex maybe once a year if things work out and even then I'm the one who has to initiate and then feel guilty for doing so simply because she shows no interest. I've discussed it with her numberous times and always get the same story that she realizes it and will work on it - nothing changes. I'm trying to be supportive and figure out what the problem(s) are but she avoids talking about sex evey time we start to discuss it. This problem is significant for men and when there needs are not meet at home they tend to search elsewhere. For me sex once a week even one a month would be nice. For me the analogy is like having your favorite dessert around but you're only allowed to have a bite of it once evey six months - you get the the point of not wanting it at all because that one bite has to last for a long long time.

  • Anonymous-2

    I have heard so many comments about the woman having no sex drive but what if it's the man? My husband has lowered his sex drive considerably in the past two years or so, and talking about it has made it worse. He used to work away from home and told me multiple times he sometimes masterbated as many as three times a, living back at home daily, he doesn't and we rarely have sex. 'I' feel rejected constantly, and while I do not want to seek other companionship, I can't help but worry that it's me. My husband is unbelieveably honest and trust worthy. He is home every night and we spend every second together during the weekends. He's not gay, that's a cop out bad answer...what is it???

  • sad

    I love my husband with all of my heart, we have been married for 6 months, I am 28 and never been married, He is 35 and was divorced before marrying me. He has such a low sex drive I dont know how to deal with it. He has to be asked to touch me! He has never kissed my body. He always says he is to tired.We make love only a couple of times a month. We are both attractive people. I dont understand the problem. I feel so awful, all I want to do is enjoy him and please him. What should I do? This makes me so sad.

  • Beyond Frustrated

    I've been with my boyfriend for 7 months. Even from the beginning he never showed much interest in sex, unless it was purely for his pleasure. The only time we have sex is when I initiate it. That being said, he's obviously not all that interested in being physical with me, so when he is, I still don't get the kind of physical attention my body really craves. This is frustrating because I put sooooooo much into his pleasure, and it's because I love making him feel good, it's never a job or an obligation, it's because I love him. I'm really frustrated because he doesn't show the same interest in me. So as far as I'm concerned, "I do my job" to quote one of the above comments, but when's he gonna pull his weight?? I'm a very attractive woman and at only 28 I can't be confined to a realtionship where sex is virtually non-existant. Help? Anybody?

  • Confussed

    I can fully sympathise with everybody here as I have been experiencing the same problems since I got with my current girlfriend an year and a half ago.

    Im a 28 year old guy and would consider myself attractive and desireable and I am in a relationship with a beautiful 22 year old girl. We look like the perfect couple and get on so well however things are far from perfect.

    My girlfriend has no sex drive what so ever and has never initiated sex once in the whole time we have been together. When we do have sex there is no passion or no effort made on her part and she shows no emotion, she just lays there still and silent looking distant. I have not put her under any pressure, have tried things to help her feel relaxed or spice up our relationship but she sometimes even refuses to participate.

    I did think that perhaps there was a reason she was having problems expressing herself, especially since such emotion shouldnt be difficult when 2 people are in love but despite trying to talk to her, seeking advice and counselling she assures me that she loves me and that there isnt any wrong yet shows no ambition to resolve this and it is causing me to distance myself from her.

    I used to have a very high sex drive and I have never had a problem satisfying my previous lovers, in fact it was something I was considered very good at but despite me trying my very hardest to provoke a response from her to no avail I now have no interest in sex or at least do not find her sexually attractive. It just seems such a chore and I am starting to lose my confidence, I am even considering having an affair in order to seek the passion and attention I crave and have been neglected to for so long.

    What do I do? Do I count my losses, move on and leave the girl I love dearly, do I get the best of both worlds and find somebody who can fill the void or do I make the sarifice I have already been making since we met and just cherish the good points in our relationship instead of letting the bad points turn me sour?


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