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I'm never horny.
August 9, 2014 11:00 PM   Subscribe

Early twenties female, healthy, reasonably happy, who simply doesn't have any sex drive. What am I doing wrong? Details inside.

I remember how exciting it was in high school to make out and get to first and second base. I had a very high sex drive for around three months around that time, and it was a lot of fun! But after those feelings wore off, I've never experienced any meaningful degree of sexual desire ever again. There was no traumatic experience associated with my early sexual experiences-- it was very nice and thought-out, with clear communication and trust between both parties.

These days, I feel like if some higher power told me that I could never have sex again in my life, I'd shrug and be fine with it. I wonder if I'm missing out on some fundamental aspect of the human condition (sexuality) by not having a sex drive-- not ever being horny feels a bit like not understanding what the color blue looks like or something. But my sex drive has fallen so low that even if I try to masturbate, I have a very hard time getting to the point that I'm even in the mood, let alone able to orgasm. I remember there was a point in time when masturbating would help me get into the mood, but these days it really doesn't.

I don't watch porn (I've tried it but it doesn't help me much), I am at a healthy weight, not depressed, not particularly anxious, eat well, exercise daily, get enough sleep, no thyroid issues, and I am in a long-term, happy, monogamous relationship in which sex does not happen very often (and we're both fine with that). I've never *really* enjoyed sex, but I think that's somewhat different than not having a sex drive altogether. I've done a little reading on asexuality and identify with some of the statements, but I don't think I'm truly asexual because I have such fond memories those early days of discovering my sexuality, and I remember what it felt like to be horny.

What am I doing wrong? Any suggestions or relevant anecdotes would be appreciated.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (21 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
Have you had your hormone levels checked? Low Testosterone can affect women as well as men. Diet, birth control and other lifestyle factors can affect T levels.
posted by Broseph at 11:20 PM on August 9 [1 favorite]


It doesn't sound like it really bothers you and your partner. So on that front, you're not doing anything wrong. There's also a term for it.
posted by MinusCelsius at 12:06 AM on August 10 [1 favorite]


I would say, get this looked into by a doctor soon. If you'd never had any sex drive, I'd say you could well be simply asexual but you'd still need to get looked at by a doctor to make sure nothing was wrong. Since you used to have a sex drive and now it's totally gone, you definitely need to talk to a doctor. I strongly suspect that there is something medical going on here.

It's not just that you're missing out on all the fun that can come from having a sex drive. Having zero sex drive could be a symptom for various illnesses. Maybe you're fine, but you still really need to get checked out.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 12:37 AM on August 10 [1 favorite]


Any difference at all in libido level during different stages of your cycle? Mine sharply peaks when I'm on. Are you on the pill? Is that dampening that down? (It's years since I took the pill.. so I have no idea if it does...)
posted by tanktop at 2:08 AM on August 10 [1 favorite]


You're really not alone on this, and you really shouldn't feel like you're doing anything wrong. I could pretty much have written what you wrote in your question. I'm 28, (biologically) male, and had the usual early sexual experiences in my late teens. But even during those experiences, I always felt like there was something missing - I had sex because it was what I felt like I should do, and it was physically pleasurable, but that was it. It's normal for people of all orientations to have sexual experimentation in their early sexual years - I had sex with both women and men, but eventually decided I'd rather not have sex with anyone.

Since then, I've had a couple of relationships, but for the past three or four years I haven't been in a relationship, haven't had sex, and I don't miss it one bit. I also get these occasional feelings that I'm missing out on some vital part of being human by not wanting or needing sex in my life, particularly when the messaging all around us - not just from media, but from friends and loved ones - is so insistent that sex is something amazing and fun and positive that everyone should love. But the great thing about it being your life is that you get to choose what you do. And what people should realise is that choosing not to do it is just as positive a choice as choosing to have non-stop kinky experimental sex. Sometimes, 'sex-positive' spaces and communities don't recognise not having sex as a valid choice (even characterising it as 'being repressed' or similar) which can often make one feel quite invalidated.

I also wouldn't be remotely bothered if I was told I could never have sex again for some reason. Something I struggle to understand is why people put themselves through all sorts of stress and drama to obtain sex and relationships - for me, it just doesn't seem worth the effort or hassle. There's always something I'd rather be doing than having sex. If you don't feel like having sex, then don't let people tell you that you're missing out - it shouldn't be anyone else's business. If you didn't like eating ice cream, you wouldn't put up with people telling you every five minutes that you really should because everyone likes ice cream! So why should it be any different with sex? You're happy with the situation, your partner is presumably happy, and I'm happy for you both. You're certainly not doing anything wrong, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
posted by winterhill at 2:31 AM on August 10 [20 favorites]


If you are on hormonal contraception, I would try stopping that for a while and see if it makes a difference. I found both the pill and the contraceptive implant lowered my libido.
posted by gnimmel at 5:59 AM on August 10 [3 favorites]


Not everyone has the same level of sex drive, and that's perfectly normal. In your case, you have a low drive, and you have found a loving partner who appears to be a great match for you: there really doesn't seem to be a problem here, like there would be if one of you had a high drive and the other low.

The thing is, we're surrounded by an advertising & entertainment culture that keeps telling us everyone is supposed to be a sex maniac, looking for sex morning noon and night. All of which is a bunch of bull; sure, there are people who are constantly on the prowl for sex and more sex, but they're just one extreme at the end of the bell curve, with people like you on the other end and the majority somewhere inbetween. Neither the people with high sex drives nor the people with low sex drives are any more wrong or 'unnatural' than the people in the middle: we're all just part of the very normal wide variation of humanity.
posted by easily confused at 6:05 AM on August 10 [3 favorites]


I don't think it sounds like anything's wrong with you. I've gone through phases in my life of being extremely libido-driven to having a totally "meh" attitude towards the idea of having sex.

You're not doing anything wrong, at all. Wait, grow, meet people, experiment, but don't hold yourself to a standard that doesn't really exist.

From my experience though, if your thoughts turn to where you want to want to have sex, because your first inclination is that you don't want to have sex, and you start to feel guilty about it and you're in a situation where a partner is getting resentful, then maybe see a doctor or something.
posted by mibo at 6:20 AM on August 10


I am in a long-term, happy, monogamous relationship in which sex does not happen very often (and we're both fine with that).

vs

What am I doing wrong?

Possibly nothing, as both you and your partner seem to be happy with the low amount of sex.

But you're bothered by this and had a high sex drive for several months which just cut out. Maybe your hormones shifted in in your youth that impacted your sex drive. Maybe you've always had a low sex drive and that high drive period was just a spike.

Definitely consult with you doctor about this, with the understanding that it may be perfectly normal for you.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:33 AM on August 10


I think some people are just like that.
posted by sully75 at 6:35 AM on August 10 [1 favorite]


Hormonal Birth Control

You have a kink/fetish that isn't getting indulged in

You are actually a lesbian

Other than those possibilities, you should see a doctor.
posted by the young rope-rider at 7:02 AM on August 10 [4 favorites]


And yeah, it could be fine, but since you've tried getting it going repeatedly and you do miss it, it doesn't sound like it's actually fine with you.
posted by the young rope-rider at 7:03 AM on August 10


How is your cycle? If I were you, I would look into whether you're actually ovulating, and whether something is going on with your sex (as in male/female) hormones or your ovaries. This is something to talk to your GYN as well as your GP about. Loss of libido can be a sign of some serious illnesses. I'm not a doctor (obviously!) but as a woman, it especially stands out to me that you have what sounds like a constant amount of libido instead of it changing over the course of your cycle (for example, feeling more horny during ovulation and less horny directly after your period, etc). That makes me wonder if you're actually going through your monthly cycle.

If you're on medication, and especially hormonal BC, you might want to try going off of it or changing the type you use. Hormonal BC can have a major impact on your libido and on your general health as well (depends on how sensitive to it your individual body is, I think). This is also something to talk to your doctor (GYN or GP) about.

I don't think there's anything wrong or even all that unusual with having a low libido in general, but it sounds like you feel that something *is* wrong or strange or has changed within your body, and it is generally true that the libido can act as a bellwether for other processes happening in your body, so I do think that you should get screened to make sure that your hormones and your ovaries are doing OK.

If it turns out that this is just how much libido you happen to have and it's not a signal of something larger going on, then maybe instead of trying to make yourself more horny, try harder to foster (other ways) of being intimate, with your partner and with your loved ones? For many people, sex and intimacy are very intertwined, and part of the need for sex is in a need for intimacy. So maybe "over" compensate for the "lack" of sex by giving yourself lots and lots of wonderful outlets and experiences of intimacy and really push your boundaries a bit in terms of how intimate you are prepared to be (esp. with your loved ones).

Also, the more you fool around, the more you're going to want to fool around. Personally, I don't find masturbation or porn very sexy, either, and they don't put me in the mood anymore at all. But that might mean that it would work better to try being a bit more sexual with your partner instead of just alone by yourself. Would he be amenable to making more of an effort to incorporate sex into your lives, since it sounds like you think it would be enjoyable and enriching to have more sex in your life? You guys don't have to actually sleep together necessarily, it could just be sneaking off somewhere to make out or something.

Again, it is OK to be asexual. But it sounds like you actually do miss sex and sense a lack of it in your life and don't feel comfortable with your current level of libido. And that's OK, too.
posted by rue72 at 7:07 AM on August 10


Yup, consider hormonal birth control if you're on it. Any hormonal birth control I've ever taken (including the lightest possible amount of hormones) has completely killed my sex drive. I ended up with a copper IUD which works great (despite the annoying cramps/longer periods) after trying a bunch of different things.
posted by rogerrogerwhatsyourrvectorvicto at 7:11 AM on August 10


The young rope-rider brought up a few ideas (as-yet-uncovered kink, same sex attraction) that kind of went in the same direction that mine did. You're pretty young, life is long, and you have lots to learn about yourself even well into adulthood (as does everyone, I'm not just saying this in response to your question!) Sexuality is a complex and wonderful thing, and you may find somewhere down the line that your desire comes roaring out in circumstances you might not expect.

All this by way of saying, I don't think you're doing anything wrong--but if you are feeling unsettled, as this question suggests, then I think it's a sign that something is starting to brew. Pay attention but don't obsess, leave yourself open to possibility, be kind and responsible to the people you're involved in if all of a sudden you find yourself pulled toward a new person or mode of sexual expression.

Finally, just on a lark, you may want to check out Carol Queen's book Exhibitionism for the Shy, which isn't really about exhibitionism in the sense of being naked in public, but is about becoming comfortable enough to fully inhabit ones own sexuality. Might be thought provoking... Good luck!
posted by Sublimity at 7:55 AM on August 10


In the book "The Science of Yoga," the author refers to some studies that show yoga can affect hormones, specifically raising testosterone. There is even a vernacular term for increased sexual feelings during yoga: Yogasm.
posted by conrad53 at 8:55 AM on August 10


Are you SURE this is really a problem? See winterhill's comment above.

If you're healthy and asymptomatic and you and your partner are happy with the current state of affairs, you're not missing out on all that much except contraception annoyances or pregnancy worries. It's the road less travelled, though, so be prepared for all kinds of "scare" messaging.
posted by Sheydem-tants at 11:49 AM on August 10 [1 favorite]


Are you never horny, or are you never horny for your partner? And if it's the latter, I'm not saying you need a new partner or anything like that. My point is that monogamy can be a libido killer for a lot of people. But the benefits of long term partnership may outweigh the libido cost. In any case, if you're happy and your partner is happy, just count your blessings.
posted by fingersandtoes at 12:49 PM on August 10


So be prepared for all kinds of "scare" messaging.

If she gets checked out by a doctor and she's fine, then there's nothing wrong with her never having sex again if that's indeed what she wants. But having no sex drive at all can be a real problem, especially if she had a sex drive before and now it's gone. Among other things, loss of libido can be symptomatic of hormone issues, endometriosis, fibroids and thyroid disorders. (Thanks, Web MD!) Nobody is scaring her needlessly when they tell her she needs to talk to a doctor about this, to make sure there's nothing medically wrong.

I think people who are going the "you're just asexual and that's swell" route need to read her question again. She is not a happily asexual person who has always been that way. She started with a normal libido, and then it crashed. She's looking for help to figure out how to get it going again.

I've heard stories of people who had tumors that affected their libidos, and they walked around for years thinking they were normal and wondering why everybody else was so obsessed with sex all the time. I am not saying she has a tumor, but my point is that there are indeed some scary possibilities here and she needs to get this checked, and pronto.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 1:57 PM on August 10


When you *were* into sex, what aspects of it interested you the most? Skin sensations? Emotional closeness? Power dynamics? Verbal banter? Perhaps exploring those would kickstart your drive. Or maybe you're just not into the kinds of sex you're having. Do you always do the same things when you masturbate? When you fuck your partner? I'd be bored stiff and unable to climax. Try a little variety!

Personally, my libido runs through boom / bust cycles all the time. I find that having more sex is the best way to want more sex. Think about it neurochemically. It's like smiling to lift your mood. Get those chemmies pumping!
posted by fritillary at 4:44 PM on August 10


Oh! Try sex when your adrenaline is high. Hot 'n' heavy bloodflow! Go for a run, see a scary movie, skydive, hang out in dark alleys...

And don't dose yourself on oxytocin by gazing deep into your partner's eyes, or snuggling on the couch, or holding hands and twiddling thumbs. You want dopamine! Serotonin! Testosterone!

Look at their lips -- think inappropriate thoughts about the sexy cut of their collarbones -- stroke their body with your eyes. You want to get out of your head and back into the hormonal approximation of "New Relationship Energy." If you start aping the physical signs of lust, you might find yourself more inclined.

PS You say you've never *really* enjoyed sex... yet you have fond memories of it? I would think hard about why that is.
posted by fritillary at 9:30 PM on August 10


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