Unreliable sex drive


Unreliable sex drive


your avatar   Ann (34 year-old woman)

I am very frustrated by a steady decline in my interest in sex. This started around the beginning of the summer and is getting worse and worse. I have a steady, sweet boyfriend who is very understanding, perhaps too understanding... but for his age (35) he has a very strong sex drive and I get upset when I am just not interested no matter what he does or does not do.

Once in a great while, I will suddenly want sex, and then it's great... but this is maybe once or twice a month at most. Quite a decline from where I was a year or two ago, when I had three lovers and was always interested in sex. That may be part of the problem -- I finally got to be "wild" for about 6 months, but then went completely monogamous with my boyfriend when I don't think I was quite ready to.

But I am not interested in just 'any' sex with just 'anybody' now. Or maybe I should say that I am only interested in sex 'in theory' and am completely unresponsive physically. I should say that I am on medication that is known to reduce sex drive in some people, but I have been on it for three years now, with no problems until this year. I also have diabetes, which is well controlled with no complications.

So my question would be, where do I go from here? I am deeply in love and do not want to lose my boyfriend over this. He is crazy about me, too, and says I won't lose him, but I don't quite believe him.


    Robert W. Birch, Ph.D., ACS Certified Sexologist

Dear Ann,

Sexual desire is a devious thing.... here one day, gone the next, or in some cases absent until suddenly overwhelming. We do not know all the reasons for changes in libido. The fact that you are taking medication that suppresses desire could be a factor, even though you have been taking it for a while. The fact that you are in a steady relationship without the variety (and challenge) of three men could be contributing. Men with diabetes tend to have more sexual problems as a result than do women with the condition, and even then, it is more of a problem with erections than a loss of desire. If you have changed the prescription or dosage of a birthcontrol pill, that would become suspect.

You said that you still want sex in theory, but have no physical yearnings. At least you are not turned off to the idea in the abstract, but it would be a turn off if you are being pressured (by your boyfriend or by yourself) to engage in sex when you are not interested.

One of the problems with sex is that we tend to believe that it should be something that begins spontaneously, is mutually desired, that culminates in intercourse, and results in both partners reaching orgasm (ideally at the same time). That concept results in feeling of pressure if desire is low, and a sense of failure if desire, arousal or orgasm is missing. Men with high desire tend to make the mistake of pushing sex on the misguided assumption that it they can accomplish it, the woman will want more. All too often, women who begin by doing their partners a favor end up feeling used and resenting his sexual advances.

It is important to talk with your gynecologist about your dramatic loss of desire. It is also important to reach an agreement with your partner that there be mutually agreed-upon playtimes. Someone once wrote about the importance of scheduling time for play, which is much different from scheduling foreplay. The first thing the two of you must work on is the creation of a nonpressured, relaxed and playful atmosphere in which there can be a sensual exchange without the pressure of becoming sexual. As you learn to relax and enjoy nonsexual touch, you might find that your sexual interest returns... although do not expect it to be as strong and demanding as it once was.

Sexual encounters should always be playful and should start as sensual exchanges in intimate touch and words of affection. A romantic atmosphere created with candlelit and soft music might help. Things should move at your pace and should end when you feel you can go no further. This could be quite frustrating for your partner, but hopefully he will come to understand that this slow non-demand process is an investment in your long-term ability to be mutually aroused.

It would help if you sought the help of a qualified sex therapist if the sexual scene has become too negative. Bad sex can devastate an otherwise good relationship. Don't hesitate to ask for help!

Robert W. Birch, Ph.D., is a retired sex therapist, now identifying himself as a sexologist and adult sexuality educator. He now devotes his time to writing educational and self-help books for adults.For more information visit: http://www.oralcaress.com/

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