“When my husband and I first got married, I was so in love with him that we had sex what (for me) seemed like a lot (a few times a week). But now, three years into it, I feel like my baseline libido, which never was much in the first place, has flatlined. I simply have no interest in sex mentally or physically. My husband keeps asking me if there’s someone else, but in reality, I don’t want sex at all — with anyone. I’m worried he’s going to leave me, this is causing so many problems between us. Any advice?”
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It’s pretty common for sexual frequency for couples to lessen after a couple of years. It’s not always just the stereotypical “things are becoming routine” situation. Shifts in hormones can occur as time goes by and those shifts can affect sexual desire. Lots of people have a low interest in sex for any of a number of reasons. It’s not necessarily a sign of any kind of problem and if that has been your pattern for a long time; that may be simply how your sexuality is.
Do you consider your lack of interest in sex a problem? If you do, you might want to see if there are any medical issues causing it. You could have low testosterone for example. While we generally only think of it as a male hormone, women also have some testosterone in their systems and it’s often related to interest in sex. Sexual desire is quite complex and sometimes, the answers aren’t as easy as that, but it could be worth exploring.
Whether you think that your low desire is a problem or not, it sounds like your concerns center on how you and your husband talk about it and what his and your expectations are. Differences in desire can be one of the more tricky relationship challenges and almost all couples face it at some point or another. When you consider how much we (as a culture) equate sexual desire with relationship health, it’s no wonder that many of us feel a lot of pressure around it.
While I would NEVER suggest to anyone that they engage in sex that they don’t want, the two of you might want to explore other ways to connect physically. After all, it doesn’t have to be sex or intercourse. For example, would it work if you gave him backrubs? What if he masturbated while you help him or ran your hands across him? And are there ways that you would like to receive physical contact? As another possibility, are there ways in which the two of you could make room for him to get his sexual needs met, such as giving him solo time at home for some self-pleasure?
Whether you find your low desire a problem or not, you could also find a sex-positive therapist. One of the most helpful things that a therapist can offer is tools for talking about tricky topics and a safe space to do it in. Plus, sometimes an outside perspective can be really helpful. There are plenty of great people who know about sexuality issues and lots of them can be found on the website for the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists. Anyone in their directory has passed a rigorous certification process, which gives them the foundation to be as helpful with sexuality topics as possible.
Ultimately, the best advice I can offer you is to be honest with each other about what’s going on for you and how you each feel about it. With that as the foundation, the two of you can start looking for new ways to be together that work for both of you.