anonymous on September 12, 2011

I’m a woman and I want to decrease my high libido for the sake of my low libido husband. Any suggestions?

My spouse works a lot and is usually too tired for sex. I, on the other hand, could go for it anywhere, anytime, all the time. So what can I do to decrease my sex drive so he doesn't have to feel like I always want to jump his bones? I want him to be happy and I am tired of being frustrated. Your help and advice are appreciated, thanks for your time.

answered by Annette Fuglsang Owens, MD, PhD on September 12, 2011

Thank you for sharing your frustration with us…I’d like to help.

First, it’s well-known that difference in desire can cause problems in a relationship. So I understand why you would want to reduce your level of desire to make your husband more comfortable.

But I’d like to offer you a different perspective…namely celebrating your desire and sexuality, and possibly learning some news ways to manage it. For example, do you masturbate or otherwise self-express your sexuality? That might be one way to take some pressure off your husband.

Couples often think that they "shouldn't" be masturbating if they are in a relationship, and that they "should" reserve sexual energy only for their partner. But that can block the natural flow of eroticism, and put too much emphasis on the other person to fulfill every sexual need.

In other words, it's important for both people in a relationship to maintain responsibility for managing their own sexual energy. For people who have a stronger sex drive, this usually means releasing sexual energy on a fairly regular basis…in one form or another.

So, when you feel the desire to be sexual, go ahead and follow through with that. This can be in a solitary experience, or it might be when you are lying with your husband and he is holding you or caressing you. There's no rule that both people have to be actively sexual at the same time in order to share a good experience.

That said, have you considered why your husband’s libido is lower than yours? Are there any factors that may be affectinghis erotic desire? Or, is his pattern simply a reflection of his natural erotic rhythm?

Each of us has our own, uniquely individual erotic tempo and flow of sexual energy. But sometimes health problems, emotional issues or other stressors can impact sexual desire. For example, you mentioned that your husband works a lot and is often tired…well, stress, anxiety and depression can all contribute to low libido. Additionally, some medications for blood pressure or depression are known to lower sex drive. And if your husband has any health issues – such as a hormone imbalance, diabetes or heart disease – that could also be at the root of the problem.

So, before accepting your husband’s lower libido as “normal,” I would encourage him to see a doctor to make sure he’s in good health. It might also be beneficial for either or both of you to speak with a sex therapist or clinical sexologist to help identify any potential emotional or psychological issues that might be getting in the way.If you need a referral, check out the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists website.

Thanks again for writing, and I hope that – with open communication and perhaps some expert insight – you and your husband will find a way to feel mutually fulfilled in your sex life.

Related info:

Annette Fuglsang Owens, MD, PhD

Dr. Owens is an AASECT-certified sexuality counselor. Her areas of expertise include the medical aspects of human sexuality and sexual problems, as well as the impact of STDs ⎼ and other diseases, illnesses and disabilities ⎼ on sexuality. Dr. Owens was educated at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.

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