Help my kill my sex drive and save my relationship.
January 6, 2009 9:17 PM   Subscribe

I am a 30 year old male who wants more sex than my partner, which causes all kinds of frustration and resentment on both sides. What can I do to lower my libido?

I want to have sex way more often than my partner does. This leads to immense frustration on my part, and irritation/sadness on hers. I know this is the biggest relationship cliche out there, but this time, I'm the one who is going to change. I honestly don't think that there's any possible way to get her more interested in fucking me.

When we do have sex it is usually pretty amazing for both of us (she certainly isn't motivated enough to fake her orgasms, so that part is legit), it's just that it doesn't happen as often as I'd like it to (I'd consider once a week or 6 times a month to be a very good stretch). I'll ask her for a handjob or blowjob and you'd think I just asked if I could shit in her mouth (literal disgusted reaction).

I am very open with her in describing my sexual desires. I am not asking for anything crazy at all, I just don't want her to have to guess at what I want. Usually this leads to her calling me a "jerk" and falling asleep.

It's getting to the point where I'm completely over it. I don't want to cheat on her, and I'm happy with all other aspects of the relationship. We own a house together, we will likely be married in the next few years, have plans for the future, etc.

We have been together for about 8 years. The sex thing has been an issue for us for about the last 5-6 years (basically ever since she started her career). She knows how I feel (a couple months ago after a bit of a dry spell, I had a crying breakdown and told her that I felt trapped in the relationship due to her lack of sexual interest) but seems unwilling/unable to change.

I want to do something (other than masturbate 3 or 4 times a day) that will greatly lower or even eliminate my sex drive. I want to avoid masturbation as well as that turns into a huge time waster for me, and sometimes starts to escalate into areas that I'm not really comfortable with anyway.

We will eventually want to have kids, so whatever I try shouldn't be permanent.
posted by anonymous account to Human Relations (106 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Can you clarify - how many times, say, a week, would be your ideal for sex?
posted by tristeza at 9:27 PM on January 6, 2009

Hmm, I guess I wasn't really clear with that.

It's not so much a number, it's just that so often when I want it, she doesn't.

I understand that it is not her responsibility to be up for sex just because I want it.

To that end, I want to reduce my desire to a level at or below hers.
posted by anonymous account at 9:32 PM on January 6, 2009

Usually this leads to her calling me a "jerk" and falling asleep.

Sex or no-sex aside, this is seriously not ok behavior. I'd call it abusive, honestly, and if it isn't abusive it's completely unloving and assholeish.

So I say it's time to move on, and find someone who loves you and treats you as well or better than you deserve. No one deserves bad treatment, regardless of your libido.

With luck your future partner will have a more compatible libido, and even if she doesn't a loving and caring person will be willing to work with you to find solutions and compromises that make both people as happy as possible, and strengthen rather than hurt the relationship.

we will likely be married in the next few years

Geez, please don't do this. Take a vacation, or go on a spiritual retreat or something -- you only, not you and her. Talk with someone (therapist? priest? best friend?) who can give you an outside perspective and remind you about how you deserve to be happy and loved.

And yes, there is a middle ground between staying in a bad relationship, and packing your bags -- options like couples counseling, for example. But that requires both people to be invested in the relationship and to desire change, and your question here doesn't give much hint of that. But if, in fact, you can find that middle ground, and heal rather than break your relationship, obviously that would be a wonderful thing.
posted by Forktine at 9:34 PM on January 6, 2009 [23 favorites]

How about really, really upping the stress in your job. Really push for the next tier management position, or move into something where you really need to struggle to keep up.

That should do it. And you might make more money, too.
posted by mr_roboto at 9:36 PM on January 6, 2009

Do you ever read Dan Savage? He gets this question a few times a year.

Here's his answer:


The importance of sex in marriage can be overstated--the importance of sex can be overstated, period (especially in sex advice columns). It is, as NSP says, only one aspect. But the importance of sexual compatibility within marriage, at least at the starting gate, cannot be stressed enough. "Sexual compatibility" does not mean going at it like howler monkeys at every opportunity; it means having similar sexual expectations--at least being on the same page.

posted by roger ackroyd at 9:44 PM on January 6, 2009 [8 favorites]

Ooh maybe you should try having kids as soon as possible, then she'll have a reason to deny you and you can feel much calmer about making yourself miserable!

Or...DTMFA. Come on. Sounds like it isn't going to get better and it's important enough to you to cry and post about it. Plenty of women do have a more compatible sex drive, or at least they don't make you feel like crap when you ask for some action. I'm judging a lot just based on that passive aggressive comment you made about her "literal disgusted reaction," but she's the jerk, right, SHE IS THE JERK REALLY. You're just the sap who's rationalizing your own desires away.

Now are you really going to break up with her? No, of course not. You love her right?
[CNRTLF+'love" = word not found]

So don't try and suppress anything. Realize this is a huge deal and not a healthy relationship at all and go to therapy and try to work it out etc. You could come to discover that this lack of sex is actually about lack of intimacy, lack of communication, her own shame or your basic crippling inadequacy to really plow her a good one cuz yr too busy wondering if you're doing it right and MAYBE you'll figure it out and fix it over years of self-study and sacrifice on both your parts and you'll be together forever. But it's not like you guys are a great couple except for the sex. The car is still moving but the engine is asploded. Eventually the vehicle is going to skid out, hit a tree, flip over, and cause a busload of school children to veer off a narrow California coastal highway over a cliff and into the ocean, much like in the pilot episode of the hit WB dramedy Veronica Mars. Don't be like Lily man, DTMFA.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:46 PM on January 6, 2009 [9 favorites]

Heavy use of alcohol is fantastic for the job---which is solving a relationship problem without recourse to addressing anything in the relationship. That's right, isn't it?
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 9:49 PM on January 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

The more you badger her for sexual favors, the less interested she will be in fucking you.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 9:50 PM on January 6, 2009 [12 favorites]

You're not sexually compatible with this person.

Your commitment to her is so strong that you're willing to make drastic changes to yourself emotionally and physically to counteract the lack of sex in your relationship.

Yet she isn't willing to meet you halfway? Isn't willing to recognize this for the problem that it is?

Something is not right there my friend...
posted by wfrgms at 9:51 PM on January 6, 2009 [3 favorites]

Yeah, sorry I asked for a number (in fact, I flagged my own answer). BUT, I think a number may be relevant in that - say you want sex 28 times a week, it might not seem so unreasonable that she couldn't handle it and maybe you should chill and it MIGHT be hard to find ANYONE who can keep up with you, ever.

If, however, you want it ONCE a week and she flips, well...that's more of a problem on her end, I think.
posted by tristeza at 9:53 PM on January 6, 2009 [3 favorites]

I'll ask her for a handjob or blowjob and you'd think I just asked if I could shit in her mouth (literal disgusted reaction).

not okay.

I am very open with her in describing my sexual desires. I am not asking for anything crazy at all, I just don't want her to have to guess at what I want. Usually this leads to her calling me a "jerk" and falling asleep.

not okay.

She knows how I feel (a couple months ago after a bit of a dry spell, I had a crying breakdown and told her that I felt trapped in the relationship due to her lack of sexual interest) but seems unwilling/unable to change.

not okay. in fact all of everything that you have said in regard to her reaction to you communicating your needs to her is so not okay that it is, as forktine said, assholeish. sorry to say this to you but she's a fucking selfish twat. you have done everything you can to make this work and she has done what? squat. this is NOT OKAY and it's not your responsibility to be the only one in the relationship making the compromises.

please, for the love of god, do not marry her. if it's driving you mad now, do you really want to spend a lifetime with a woman who could not give a shit about your needs? seriously? people want to downplay the importance of sex but sexual compatibility is a big deal and you need to find someone who wants it as much as you do or will up their game to meet you somewhere in the middle. because, i swear to god, you will either end up cheating on her or you will divorce her in the end.
posted by violetk at 10:00 PM on January 6, 2009 [22 favorites]

The more you badger her for sexual favors, the less interested she will be in fucking you.

This is very, very, very true.

Maybe she's not feeling up to it due to other stress. On top of that, she's got a partner who wants something she doesn't feel up to providing, AND she probably feels a little guilty about not wanting it. All of these things put together are libido killers.

Why not help her relax first? Show her how much you value her as a person first and not just as sexual vessel. But if she IS just a sexual vessel or if she never does come around, then I'd say it's better for the both of you if you go your separate ways.
posted by katillathehun at 10:00 PM on January 6, 2009 [9 favorites]

I honestly don't think that there's any possible way to get her more interested in fucking me.

Maybe you need to work more on the us and less about you.
posted by JujuB at 10:01 PM on January 6, 2009 [2 favorites]

I understand that it is not her responsibility to be up for sex just because I want it.

It is also not your responsibility to numb or deaden a very important part of yourself to fall in line with her wants. This is an area where compromise is essential if there are two different viewpoints, and she is completely closed off to it - and has been for five or six years, so I can't imagine it will change much in the future. I cannot agree enough with what roger ackroyd quoted above. Based on the information given, I would advise you to reconsider entering into a marriage with this person.
posted by frobozz at 10:04 PM on January 6, 2009

P.S. - I had a partner who wanted sex with me several times a day every single day. I ended up being sick for about a year and could barely function, but he still wanted to get it on like clockwork. It didn't matter to him how I felt. He wasn't willing to meet ME halfway. Yet he would lecture me about my priorities. It destroyed my interest in sex with him even after I was healthy again. Clearly we were a bad match for each other. To say the least. So, try to consider how she feels. Consider if what's killing her libido is temporary or permanent. Walk out of this relationship for her sake, too, if you're not willing to wait.
posted by katillathehun at 10:06 PM on January 6, 2009 [3 favorites]

Maybe you need to work more on the us and less about you.

really? jujube, really? this guy wants to suppress, deny, and deaden a fundamental part of himself so he stay with this woman who could not even be bothered to give him a handjob without making him feel like a piece of shit for asking. so really? he's not working on the "us"? cause it sounds like she could care less about him or the "us."
posted by violetk at 10:06 PM on January 6, 2009 [5 favorites]

Seriously, I think you should just get a mistress. This is not a joke comment by the way, I'm quite serious. You love this girl and want to marry her, fine, but your sex drives are incompatible. So get a someone to bridge the gap, what?
posted by atrazine at 10:08 PM on January 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

This is a serious compatibility issue that needs further examination. After all, you've been together for years and you've had these problems for much of that time.

Killing your libido is a stopgap, not a long-term plan. Even if you could (and should) do so, it would hurt you and would inevitably backfire.

Time to buckle down and address the issue behind the sex.
posted by big open mouth at 10:09 PM on January 6, 2009

Consider if what's killing her libido is temporary or permanent.

katillathehun, the OP stated that this has been going on for damn near six years. i wouldn't call that a temporary situation. and even if, like you, there were physical health issues mitigating the situation, you talk to your partner about it. you don't ignore him/her, call him/her a jerk, or make him/her feel like a piece of shit.
posted by violetk at 10:09 PM on January 6, 2009

(I'd consider once a week or 6 times a month to be a very good stretch). I'll ask her for a handjob or blowjob and you'd think I just asked if I could shit in her mouth (literal disgusted reaction).

Dude. Have you considered that you are not sexually compatible?

There's a difference between one partner wanting sex four times a week while the other wants it once a week and a partner being viscerally disgusted at the suggestion of an utterly normal part of a healthy sexual relationship.

There's also a big difference between one partner having a stretch where due to outside factors their libido is nowhere to be found and your partner being uninterested or disgusted by sex for six years out of an eight year relationship.

If you get married without working this out you are likely going to be miserable for a long time. Or cheat on your spouse. While bugging the hell out of her. The solution isn't to eat saltpeter or whatever and kill your libido. It's to figure out whether your libido can be compatible with your significant other's libido. From what you've written it doesn't really sound like it is, but obviously after such a long relationship it's worth working at for quite a while.

I strongly suggest couples therapy. But don't bloody well marry her without working this out! I just can't emphasize that enough.
posted by Justinian at 10:11 PM on January 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

I think it's a little strange that people are jumping all over the OP's GF for calling him a "jerk" when he tells her his fantasies. Sure, it could very well be that she is abusive and calling him a jerk for no good reason. But there are a lot of ways this could be playing out. I mean, did she ASK him what he wanted in terms of fantasies? Or was this you being like "here's what I want you to do..."

Let's say she gets in bed after a long day's work and her BF starts telling her how he wants (for example) the standard fantasy of a threesome, anal sex, or light bondage, and she's obviously not in the mood to talk about it/uncomfortable with her own sexuality/feeling oppressed by his high libido/feeling unsexy for whatever psychological reason she may have-- well yeah that could come off as pretty damn insensitive on his part. To be bombarded with fantasies which might be really upsetting or unpleasant for her to discuss, especially if she can't even have vanilla sex with the guy, right at bed time, seems like it might trigger feelings of not being respected, cared for, listened to, etc.

OR maybe she's a horrible frigid abusive wench. Very well might be. All I'm saying is that in my mind, the OP MIGHT not realize that he is coming off as a jerk, when he lists his sexual requests to his tired, sexually-uninterested girlfriend.

Also, having sex 6 times a month when she's stressed out doesn't exactly make her frigid. Yes you two are sexually incompatible, but I just feel like she's getting a bit of an unfair rap, here.

However I do agree that if you want to have kids with this woman, who is already not sexually interested due to career stress, you can kiss all hope of sex goodbye once you have kids. If you are okay with that, then go ahead and marry her. I don't have any suggestions on how to make you stop thinking about sex, there's nothing wrong with it. But if you think you might, a few years into a sexless marriage, start cheating on your family out of sexual desperation... I would not get married to this woman. It wouldn't be fair to either of you.
posted by np312 at 10:11 PM on January 6, 2009 [13 favorites]

katillathehun, the OP stated that this has been going on for damn near six years. i wouldn't call that a temporary situation.

I agree that they should talk about it. That's exactly my point. But even the OP said this started happening when she started her career. If they talk about it, and he helps her relax a little, she might be able to get rid of the job-related stress or she may decide it's time for her to make a change. But this conversation with her will never work if she feels like she's only wanted for sex.
posted by katillathehun at 10:14 PM on January 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

Just checking in to nth what others are saying about not getting married to this woman.
posted by dunkadunc at 10:14 PM on January 6, 2009

Np, he said "sexual desires" not "sexual fantasies." There's a huge difference.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 10:15 PM on January 6, 2009

violetk we only see his side of it, and there are some clues in the way he describes their interactions that make me suspicious that, while he isn't badgering, he's likely not just clearly communicating his desires either.

I hate playing pop-psych guessing games with these anonymous questions, but since the asker paid a whole five dollars for his account rather than using the standard anonymous method, he deserves to know that his methods of trying to clue us in to the fact that it's all her fault aren't very subtle.

My guess is that she doesn't outright call him a jerk really, nor does she ever look totally disgusted. She just sighs and rolls over when he tries to prod her non-verbally. Nobody makes this much of a self-abnegating cry for help of an ask-me question (not after being a member for 1.5 years and knowing what the likely answer is going to be) if they're being honest with their partner or themself. I doubt the OP has ever had a long and honest conversation about how frustrated he is, though I bet the woman in question is totally against it too.

My point being that he probably hasn't really done any work because he can't really be honest with himself about how big a deal it is enough to tell her anything useful so she can stop crushing his balls (metaphorically) every few days.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 10:18 PM on January 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

But this conversation with her will never work if she feels like she's only wanted for sex.

considering he's not getting any, i doubt that the only reason the OP is sticking it out with her is for the sex. i mean, if that's what he wanted, he would have either dumped her or cheated on her by now. and in six years, if you haven't been able to at some point talk to your partner about what your reasons are for now wanting to fuck him when it's clearly been so upsetting to him that he broke down and cried in front of you, then sorry, you are either seriously disturbed or a cold-hearted bitch. i mean, if someone i loved had a crying breakdown in front of me, i'd want to do something about it so it doesn't happen again, regardless of who is really at fault or what the reasons were.
posted by violetk at 10:22 PM on January 6, 2009

violetk we only see his side of it, and there are some clues in the way he describes their interactions that make me suspicious that, while he isn't badgering, he's likely not just clearly communicating his desires either.

yeah, that's the nature of this forum. of course we can't get both sides. but we are here to respond to what the questioner has asked, with the "facts" s/he has given us.
posted by violetk at 10:24 PM on January 6, 2009

First of all, on preview, what mandymanwasregistered said. Nothing is less sexy than desperation. I know that puts you in a tough spot. But it's true.

Killing your sex drive is not something you want to do, unless you want to become an emotional shut-in. But I wonder if you're confusing "reducing desire" with "dealing with desire that isn't going to get fulfilled." That's a quintessentially human problem, but it's also one we're pretty good at if we really want to be.

I'm not casting aspersions when I say this - you two might have an otherwise blissful relationship, I don't know - but I do notice that "We own a house together, we will likely be married in the next few years, have plans for the future, etc." doesn't say anything about your actual relationship, or your feelings for her, only your shared living arrangements and tentative plans as a domestic unit.

Ask yourself these questions - really ask them. Why are you together? How do the two of you experience intimacy with and express deep fondness for eachother in non-physical ways? Why is it such a problem that you aren't getting laid more than a few times a month?

Assuming for now you actually do have a healthy, loving relationship outside the bedroom, ask yourself some more questions. Where else are you getting feelings of union and ecstasy in your life in general? How good are you at being still and alone with yourself? What activities in addition to sex could you do for hours on end and, like sex, emerge from more relaxed and energized than when you started?

We tie up so much of our self-worth with sex; men especially often rely on it to varying degrees as their only real form of pure emotional release. I think this makes it easy for us to have really unhealthy relationships with our own sexual desire.

Don't get me wrong, I love to fuck. I've got no shame about it or anything like that. And maybe you don't rely on sex at all. I don't know you. All I know is that unregular(?) sexual release is only a problem when I'm thinking about it. When I'm on the road for a long stretch, for instance, (which usually involves couch-surfing) and it isn't even appropriate to masturbate, that's ok, because I'm usually also pretty focused on all the experiences of travelling - and I'm happy enough that I'm not looking for a pick-me-up.

That's all a roundabout way of stating my immediate reaction, which was that you might consider looking in to a meditation practice. No cults or any bullshit like that. Just building a habit of observing yourself, seeing where impulses are really coming from, and sitting back and letting them go where they're really headed. I'd highly recommend Wherever You Go, There You Are - it's low on flakiness, entirely rational and secular. But please don't go in to anything with a desire to "kill your sex drive." If after a long period of reflection you still see really no other alternative, leave her.

For now, at the very least, what else can you sublimate those blueballs in to? Hit the court, or the pool, or something. Take up writing. I don't know you, so I don't know what to suggest, other than trying to discover how eroticism extends well beyond sex.

I do agree with Forktine that there are cases in which the sex thing is just a dealbreaker, no way around it, and you're just denying yourself pleasure unnecessarily. Maybe that's the case. Maybe she's being cruel. Maybe you're being a glutton for punishment. But unless you have a healthy working relationship with your own sexuality, and are taking a look at your whole relationship with your GF, that's a hard call for you to make, let alone for Dude On The Internet, MD.
posted by regicide is good for you at 10:26 PM on January 6, 2009 [7 favorites]

Tell her the sex thing just might be a deal breaker on the marriage thing. Not in a manipulative way, like oh yeah, well you better or I'll leave! More like a fact. It bothers you. It's an issue for you, you can't make it not. You think she would be ok with having to have sex on your schedule all the time? Of course not. Then why is it ok for her to make you stick to hers always?

If she doesn't take you seriously, ask her permission to "cheat." She might take that a bit more seriously. If she tells you to go right ahead, I think marriage isn't in the cards for you, my friend.

She's happy the way it is. She has no incentive to change other than that she cares about your feelings and needs. Hmm. Think about that for a second, and then think about what it means that she's not working with you on this.

Unfortunately, if she doesn't want to, then she doesn't want to. Doing it just to make you happy is going to cause resentment down the line. (It's also not going to be that great of sex.) I hate the DTMFA answer, but sometimes you gotta know when to fold em.
posted by ctmf at 10:30 PM on January 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

You don't need to lower your libido.
You need to broaden your horizons.

If you've already given up hope of the situation improving, why aren't you moving on? Your reasons are no one's business but your own... but there's no getting around the fact that the two of you aren't sexually compatible, and I'd be willing to bet you're less compatible out of the bedroom than you think.
posted by 2oh1 at 10:31 PM on January 6, 2009

Just some input: her calling you a jerk and going to sleep is just her reaction to you because she's hurt that she can't satisfy you. I've been there, when I dated guys and just wasn't ready to have sex for a while... it hurt knowing you couldn't make your partner happy and just feel like you're not good enough because you can't give them what they want.
posted by KateHasQuestions at 10:32 PM on January 6, 2009

I agree with a lot of people above that there are some real red flags in your description of this relationship, and maybe there isn't much hope... But I keep thinking about the following circumstances:

You get home from work, after a long, stressful day that has left you physically and mentally numb. You are tired. You know you still have some chores left to do, and you just want to get them done and then chill out in front of the TV/computer/good book/whatever. You finally get to your nice, warm, comfortable home, and your significant other is there to meet you. You still just want to chill out, but he clearly has something else on his mind. He makes the advance that you knew was coming, and, for the life of you, you just don't have the energy to even consider all the exercise that goes into a really good romp. So you say no. He responds, "Well, will you at least jack me off, huh?"

You'd be a little upset, too, in that situation, wouldn't you? You'd be likely to respond with a little bit of disgust... Not because you're completely disgusted by the idea of such an activity but because, right now, at that instance, you really just don't have the energy. You can't even be concerned about your own sexual interests, and here your partner is requesting you to put time and effort into his sexual interests. And wording it in a crass way you don't appreciate, to boot.

Now, are you wording your request in such a way? I have no clue. But the way that you word your question raised the possibility to me that the problem isn't so much about sexual incompatibility as it is about communication.

You say that the sex is great when you actually get it. Could this mean that your partner is putting a considerable amount of energy into it, in order to make it so great? Could it be that she thinks of sex as something that deserves the time and energy to make it great, and then when you are flippant about it, or when you treat it as just a means to get rid of some pressure as opposed to something worthy of savoring, it confuses and frustrates her? Again, I don't know. But it might be.

You also make it clear that you are open about what you want.. But you don't tell us anything about what she wants. Could it be that her sexual fantasies directly conflict with yours? Or could it be that what you are interpreting as openness that should be desired (because, that way, she doesn't have to guess!) she sees as some sort of demand? After all, if you don't have a particular desire to do X, it's very easy to interpret "Hey, you know, I really like X" as "Seriously, why aren't you Xing me right now?"

You also say that she seems unwilling to change. Seems? Have you spoken to her about this in a calm, reasonable way (while avoiding phrases like, "I'm trapped in this relationship!")? Have you asked her what's going on in her head, to make her feel the way she does and respond the way she does to your advances?

It may be like everyone is saying, and you and she just aren't meant to have a sexual relationship together. Or it may be that you two just aren't communicating on the same frequencies, that the two of you have different ways of viewing sex and sexual relationships, that what you mean by your words and actions is not at all what she is interpreting from your words and actions.

In short: talk to her! And if you have spoken to her about it, then I guess I'm just a little confused as to why whatever it is she said to you didn't make it into your question. That might be worth thinking about.
posted by Ms. Saint at 10:38 PM on January 6, 2009 [22 favorites]

It doesn't sound like you're making an effort to make things sexy for her. Maybe you've got to do more work on your end. Not everyone thinks that giving a handy or smoking a pole is sexy, especially when trying to get some rest after a long day on the job.

If you really want to reduce your sex drive, stop asking for so much sex. Be loving and kind and enjoy the sex that happens naturally... it might even happen more often... but when it doesn't, don't insist on being serviced. If you can't live with that, maybe you should consider finding a different girl.
posted by paperzach at 10:40 PM on January 6, 2009

her BF starts telling her how he wants (for example) the standard fantasy of a threesome, anal sex, or light bondage,

This made me smile - what I'm asking for doesn't even come close to this relatively "standard" stuff. As somebody else mentioned, these are sexual desires, not fantasies. (unless you consider getting a bj from your gf to be a fantasy)

It's more like, "Hey, how about some foreplay? I could go down on you" or "Would you touch it (my penis)" or "Can we have sex tonight" that is greeted with a negative response. Any talk of sex or sexual touching outside of the bedroom is unacceptable as well.

Potomac: I don't think it's all her fault. In fact, I feel guilty for wanting her to do something that she obviously doesn't want to, hence the question: How can I reduce my sex drive?

A lot of food for thought in the above responses. Sorry, it's late and I don't have the energy to respond to the many little points other than to say, while I appreciate your concern, I don't feel that ending the relationship is an option.
posted by anonymous account at 10:42 PM on January 6, 2009

"Would you touch it (my penis)"

...she won't touch your penis? at all?
posted by frobozz at 10:50 PM on January 6, 2009

If you could see ahead five years, ten years, twenty years, and know that your sexual relationship with this woman would remain the same -- or further diminish -- would you marry her anyway?

Only you can decide.

Every partnership has heartbreaking challenges and sacrifices. If each were paraded before the interwebs populace, all likely would be met with throaty "DTMFA!" cries. (Never mind that some of the most vocal commentators have only experienced long-lasting relationships with their PCs).

Joe down the road may be having bionic sex with his GF every night, but they rarely talk anymore. Mike at work may be banging his wife twice daily, but when they fight, they get drunk and punch each other. Larry at the gym hasn't had sex with his partner in a year, but she's the best friend he's ever had, and he can't imagine life without her. And Mark's the luckiest of the bunch -- enjoying a fantastic sex life and romantic friendship with his lover -- but they break up anyway, because Mark falls out of love with her.

Only you can decide.
posted by terranova at 10:50 PM on January 6, 2009 [4 favorites]

You say this started when she started her career. She's probably just exhausted, and you're probably approaching her for sex when she's at her most tired - at the end of the day when she's just about to fall asleep.

Sometime when you're both relaxed and feeling ok, probably at the weekend, get out your calendar. Tell her you'd like to have sex with her twice a week for the next month (not an outrageous number). When would she like to fit that into her schedule? Write it down - dates and times. The morning before work? Friday night and Sunday? Just after getting home from work? If she isn't even willing to have the conversation then ask her when she would be available to talk about it. Write THAT down. It may not be sexy to do things this way, but hey, you're desperate!

Maybe tell her that on a weekday night when she gets home, you'd like to have sex before doing anything else, and then order a pizza so there's no cooking or dishwashing that night. See what she thinks about that.

If she really absolutely won't have the above conversation ever, then I have to jump on the bandwagon and say DTMFA because in that case this isn't going to get better, and will likely get worse.
posted by hazyjane at 10:57 PM on January 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

Might want to read this article from the NYT a few months ago on couples that decided to have sex once a day, one couple for 101 days straight and the other for an entire year:
According to a 2004 study, “American Sexual Behavior,” by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, married couples have intercourse about 66 times a year. But that number is skewed by young marrieds, as young as 18, who couple, on average, 109 times a year.

Either way, those statistics put the Mullers and Browns in Olympic-record territory. That they thought a sex marathon would reinvigorate their marriages might say as much about the American penchant for exercise and goal-setting as it does about the state of romance.

But the couples may also be on to something. “There’s a strong relationship between rating your marriage as happy and frequency of intercourse,” said Tom W. Smith, who conducted the “American Sexual Behavior” study. “What we can’t tell you is what the causal relationship is between the two. We don’t know whether people who are happy in their marriage have sex more, or whether people who have sex more become happy in their marriages, or a combination of those two.”
Get into couples therapy, maybe even pick up the books the two couples in the article wrote. Or, you know, just move on—Dan Savage knows what he's talking about.
posted by lia at 11:03 PM on January 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

In fact, I feel guilty for wanting her to do something that she obviously doesn't want to.

This was me, a couple of years ago. I loved her. She loved me. I hated myself for the fact that I had an active desire for something she found distasteful. She's the only woman I've ever loved. It's been three years; I don't regret breaking up with her, because it was making both of us miserable. Feeling guilty for being human is a very, very bad sign in a relationship.
posted by Tomorrowful at 11:04 PM on January 6, 2009 [8 favorites]

Never mind that some of the most vocal commentators have only experienced long-lasting relationships with their PCs

Isn't that always the risk with internet advice? We all say we are sex gods and so good looking that even our zits have fanclubs, but who's to say what's true? Personally, I know I'm no good at guessing who is giving an honest account of their life, and who is using the internet to create an alternative persona, so I just take what's said at face value most of the time.

That said, though, I think that this is a question that resonates really sharply for a lot of people. Haven't we all been at one time or another on one or even both sides of this awful dynamic? These relationship-filter questions usually get a lot of projecting, but this one is setting records.

while I appreciate your concern, I don't feel that ending the relationship is an option.

That's a decision only the two of you can make. But I'm kind of getting the sense here that you are saying "I want to be happy" but at the same time you are taking pretty much all of the serious options off the table, leaving only the most unrealistic and self-flagellating. The list of possible solutions is, in reality, not very long or complicated (you leave, you sublimate, you find a way to work with her, you have an affair, etc) -- but all of those are really tough to actually go through with.

It's a lot easier to maximize the drama, have a cathartic moment, and use that catharsis to carry on for another few years. (And, one suspects, weddings, children, and similar events may be able to continue to provide the necessary catharses at appropriate intervals, obviating the need for difficult and scary change.) And that is an ok decision, but you should acknowledge it as a decision, rather than pretending that you are seeking other options or that you are seriously engaged in a process of change. There's no shame in staying, but there's every shame in lying to yourself about it.
posted by Forktine at 11:11 PM on January 6, 2009 [5 favorites]

"I honestly don't think that there's any possible way to get her more interested in fucking me"
"a couple months ago after a bit of a dry spell, I had a crying breakdown and told her that I felt trapped in the relationship due to her lack of sexual interest"
"we will likely be married in the next few years"

...are statements that do not belong anywhere in close proximity to each other if your goal is to have an emotionally healthy, mutually satisfying long-term relationship.

Look, you're asking for a magic bullet to kill your libido? Check into antidepressants; there's a bunch that are notorious for the negative sexual side effects. But even if you scale your interest in fucking down to once a year, you'll still be in a relationship with someone who evidently reacts with disgust and belittlement when you communicate some of your most basic needs to her. Even if you're successful in removing the sex from the equation, what else will she call you a jerk for needing or wanting?
posted by scody at 11:12 PM on January 6, 2009 [2 favorites]

she must have some magic hoo-ha for you to put up with everything you've described.

Yeah, I get the impression he actually loves her as an entire person.

It really sounds like communication and time are what's in order here.
posted by katillathehun at 11:15 PM on January 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I get the impression he actually loves her as an entire person.

that's the sad irony of it because from what he's described, it doesn't sound like she loves him in his entirety.
posted by violetk at 11:25 PM on January 6, 2009

It really sounds like communication and time are what's in order here.

I suggested couples therapy for this reason. But he's given it six years already and there doesn't seem to be much reason to assume that he's not communicating as it is. Which is why he and his partner might benefit from a professional being involved.
posted by Justinian at 11:26 PM on January 6, 2009

Yeah, I get the impression he actually loves her as an entire person.

also, that's not exactly what i meant when i said she's got some magic hooha…
posted by violetk at 11:28 PM on January 6, 2009

having been in a mismatched situation myself, I have sympathy for you - sex is such a personal act, and we all carry around so much baggage of expectations, secrets, fantasies, shames, and such that there is really no simple answer to something like this. Counseling would be a really good idea - there may be a lot of things affecting your partner's sex drive that need some help to uncover, and the longer that you continue in this situation, the deeper they are going to be buried. Another thing to consider is birth control - lots of women suffer a loss of libido when on the pill.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 12:26 AM on January 7, 2009 [2 favorites]

I think stress negatively effects the male libido... so you could take up some high stress hobbies... Running with the bulls and such. Maybe a job on wall street?

Antidepressants have been known to cause libido lost. I think it's hit or miss though, some cause it for some people and others for others. I wouldn't actually suggest that route... Though your doctor might know of some harmless drug with similar effects.
posted by magikker at 12:35 AM on January 7, 2009

I think you should find a specialist who knows about sex/relationship issues and try some couples counselling, if your partner is willing to go with you. There's no shame in it, whatever the problem in the relationship is (even the best relationship has issues). If your partner isn't willing to go with you, then that's a problem!
posted by Eastgate at 12:59 AM on January 7, 2009

Help me kill my sex drive

Damn, dude, if everything she's said and done so far hasn't murderized your libido, I don't know what you're expecting from us.

Tired is one thing. Outright hostile is quite another.
posted by sageleaf at 1:13 AM on January 7, 2009 [3 favorites]

It really is possible to find someone who's on the same page with you. I assume there's a lot of great things about this woman, otherwise, why would you have been with her 8 years?

I think you're fooling yourself if you think things will get better in the future, at least in this respect. If you really are serious about reducing your sex drive to eliminate this point of conflict between the two of you, though, then I guess that's a viable option. If it were me, and I was that serious about reducing my sex drive, I'd probably look into some sort of medical option. Not castration, but some sort of pill to reduce sex drive.

In the long-term, however, it seems unwise to be sacrificing such a powerful relationship tool(sex) and just caving to the desires of one person instead of it being a compromise among two equal parties.
posted by Happydaz at 2:08 AM on January 7, 2009

I mean, this seems like a venue for compromise just like anything else in a relationship and if she won't, I'd be concerned about how or whether this is or will be reflected in other matters. There's no reason for both parties in a relationship to be into sex at the same moment every single damn time. Sometimes you just go with it and get in the mood as you go, and sometimes you've had a hard day and there's just no way. I think 2 - 3 times a week after eight years is reasonable, but it's not what I think, and really this is more about how you communicate than anything about sex.

Ex-Mr. Llama wanted sex pretty much constantly and was pretty much asking me to get him off every time I turned around. Seriously. I walk my dog less in one day than that man wanted sex. After a while he kind of seemed like one big penis walking around going, Hello? Hello? Blow me?

We had a zillion other problems and this is not the only reason he's ex-Mr. Llama, but it's a compatibility issue -- this is important -- neither one of us was really inclined to work out. And that's the part that really matters.

With current Mr. Llama, for example, our sexual expectations are compatible, but he'd like us to be more social. I'd be pretty happy curled up on the couch with him and the baby and the laptop and the dog and the cat seven nights a week, having romantic little dinners and so on. He likes that too, but he'd also like to see other people and have a social life where we go and see other people, and I do it, goddammit, because he needs it to be happy.

So, that's the part to focus on and be concerned about. If your question is genuinely 'how can I reduce my sex drive' and not the subtext I'm responding to here, the answer is 'you can jerk off a lot.' Or you can go on antidepressants. That'll kill your sex drive. But even if you do either of those things, you still have this issue of 'why doesn't she work with you on this'? Is it because your demands are unreasonable? Are you a giant penis walking around going, Hello? Or is it as it seems -- she's phoning it in, being selfish, secure in the notion that you won't leave her, and having convinced herself for some reason that you don't deserve sexual satisfaction, and that this isn't a need she's required to fulfill, in what is clearly a relationship you've both invested a lot in.

(Also, as I'm sure others have said, if she's on any medication or depressed, she could have her own independent chemical/physical reasons for a lack of interest that might be able to be addressed.)
posted by A Terrible Llama at 2:10 AM on January 7, 2009 [6 favorites]

Also, nothing against anyone's actual penis, but I couldn't give someone oral sex out of a sexual context. If I'm not in the mood for sex, I'm not in the mood for a penis in my mouth. So I would in fact find the suggestion revolting, as if someone brought me a steak half an hour after Thanksgiving dinner. It's not that steak is so damn awful or anything, it's just like, right now? How about tomorrow?

But like I said, I don't think that's really the issue -- the issue is her unwillingness to compromise and all of the things that go along w/that.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 2:21 AM on January 7, 2009 [9 favorites]

I seem to recall seeing somewhere that monks in monasteries used Marjoram to help reduce their sex drive. I googled, and found this.

I have no personal experience of this, and this is not a recommendation. Just a data point.

BTW, the google term you're maybe looking for is anaphrodisiac.
posted by Solomon at 2:52 AM on January 7, 2009

Good question. In my relationship, I'm on the opposite side of this equation, and it's caused some frustration.

First things first: SHE has some issues. The way you describe this, it's not like the way I'd be disinterested. I might say, "I'm busy/tired/really don't have the time to do the 40 minutes of foreplay you like right now/haven't taken a shower in 3 days and would likely give you a disease if we screwed in the bathroom", but god dammit, I never call her an asshole, and I never act grossed out because she's asked me to engage in this or that kink. Sexuality is huge in a relationship, and if you're with someone, you need to acknowledge and respect their kinks as an essential part of who they are. If you don't, you're basically invalidating that part of your partner's personality and needs. When she does this, it's the equivalent of you saying, "Well fuck you then, I'm gonna go find a prostitute". It's an outright denial of what you need, it's insensitive and destructive, and before you move on to ANYTHING else, she needs to come to this realization. Everything you can do in this relationship is a non-starter without her acknowledging her own fault in this, and committing to solving her problem, whatever the source of it may be.

You're obviously on the right track: any approach to sexual issues needs to be conciliatory and understanding of your partner's desires and needs. You're obviously trying, and that's huge.

Now, that said, let me tell you some of the reasons why I don't want to have sex as much as she does:
- I'm busy, she's not. I have 2-3 career tracks and a huge mess of obligations that I likely need to trim, but I love them. I can adjust, and I have been, but for my part, I'm accommodating a housewife who hasn't figured out how to manipulate her passions in life like I have. I can honestly get absorbed in something for days, forgetting to eat and resenting interruptions. She's not found anything that captivates her like that.
- We have a cultural, linguistic, and habitual divide which she and I both find difficult bridging, but her especially. Our friends are all bilingual and have substantial experience in multicultural environments; not her. Our friends are single or in hugely dysfunctional relationships; she isn't. She's the only person I know who's allergic to alcohol. She is an incredibly headstrong and social person, but her previous wells of camaraderie are drying up, and she often feels insecure, insufficient, and bored. Sex is one way she copes with that as we're merging our habits, discarding the ones we don't need, and exploring new ones. That process of transition to married life is a difficult one. Through it, she tends to run to me; I tend to run away.
- She and I both have slightly different sexual appetites, as well as past sexual baggage. We've made amazing progress on that front, and we both know that the process is long and slow, but it still has an impact. We're also both very curious sexually, and we have arguments about what to try next, as well as how to go about it, with who, and to what degree things are acceptable. This can and does produce resentment. The sexual baggage, both hers and mine? A lot of insecurity, much more on my part than hers. I won't talk about her specifics, but for me, I'm not used to being an object of desire. Most of my experience is drunken flings. I both miss them and am still afraid of functioning sexually outside of the frat boy matrix.
- Exercise. Oh, it makes a difference. I don't work out anymore, and she vacillates between religious commitment to her body and bouts of insomnia. My desire is steady, but sedate, hers is ON and then OFF. I'm thinking it's about time I started working out again.
- Sleep schedules & biological clocks: mine rotate around a month-long cycle, shifting between staying up all night and retiree hours, while she has her insomnia. Some days we don't see each other, others she's moody, others she's excited. And I know a lot of people will say that you shouldn't drag out PMS, but it's true that at least for my wife, there's a phenomenal difference before, during, and after, and her sexual needs vary significantly during those periods.
- She's 30 and in her sexual prime; I'm 25 and the halcyon days of mine at 18-22 are long-gone. I'm still, even now, struggling to cope with the transition from multiple, casual partners, to synchronizing sexual rhythms and desire with one woman. I'd be lying if I said it wasn't a struggle.

A lot of people will look at that list and say we're incompatible, but that's so, so not true. We have wonderful sex, and often. This is the best sex, and sexual relationship, that either of us have experienced, and we're committed wholesale to the idea that marriage and sex ain't cake, balloons, and ponies. It is work, and sometimes it will feel like it.

If you choose to stay in this relationship, there are lots of minor libido hacks. Alcohol, high-stress hobbies, exercise, masturbation, and all of those work just as well to increase your libido as well if you cut back on them. But you have to realize that there may be a lot of reasons why she's not interested at the moment; there sure are a lot for me. Sometimes I resent her for being so irregular, sometimes I resent what I mistakenly call weakness, sometimes I am way, way too busy, or just not willing to reprioritize, or more often than any of those, just not confident in myself as her ideal partner (what a joke that one is - I'll never get there if I don't try!). And just like some of my issues aren't my fault and some are, so are hers. Unless you, as a couple, are making honest appraisals of what your issues are and acknowledging each other's efforts to overcome them, then this relationship isn't what it should be. I recommend counseling with everyone else in this thread, but I also think you need to understand that your sexual needs are valid and should be fulfilled. It doesn't sound like she even willing to try right now. Eight years is a long time to build up deep-seated issues, and that needs to be looked at carefully too.

The best of luck to both of you. It can work between any two people, but the will needs to be there. I'm scared, from the way you describe her, that it's not.
posted by saysthis at 3:16 AM on January 7, 2009 [5 favorites]

Things that reduce sex drive:

Being around very young kids a lot
Seeing your partner having diarrhea
Exercising until you feel like you can't move
posted by sondrialiac at 3:33 AM on January 7, 2009 [3 favorites]

In a college class on Zen and Buddhism, I was told that monks suppress their sexual desires by thinking that women have seven orifices and are oozing out of everyone of them.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 3:51 AM on January 7, 2009

The part of this that concerns me isn't that your sexual drives are incompatible, but that she calls you a jerk for expressing your desires. That's truly worrying. Respect is the corner stone for a good relationship. I read somewhere once that there was a study predicting which couples would stay together based on 10 minute interviews with a psychologist. He was able to predict with 90% accuracy the 2 year history of a group of couples. The #1 factor that predicted a couple would break up was contempt. It sounds like she's showing contempt for your sexual needs, which is a big red flag. I know from personal experience that when a previously healthy relationship of mine began falling apart, the first thing I noticed was the sniping that crept in out of nowhere - once we started picking at each other, the end was all but said and done. I would never call my partner a "jerk" for asking me to have sex, even if I didn't feel like it. I would, of course, respectfully decline (and do, when I'm not feeling it), but never, EVER with any kind of put-down to him.

I'm not the sort who recommends counseling at the drop of a hat - or really, ever. I think I've said "go to a therapist" ONCE in AskMe, so this is the second time I'm going to say this. If you want to stay in this relationship, it sounds like the two of you could use some mediation getting on the same page - emotionally speaking. Not only do you need to become sexually compatible for a marriage to work, but you need to be able to express your needs without getting insulted for it. Not saying that she should say "yes" all the time, but there are a lot more respectful ways to say "no."

For you, specifically, my recommendation would be meditation. Instead of masturbating, take some quiet time to center yourself - accept your sexual desire for what it is, but don't feel like you absolutely need to act on it in any way. Just sit quietly and say to yourself "Yep. I'm horny." and try to find some stillness. This works for me when I get angry and want to pick a fight, which is my biggest relationship stumbling block. Sure, I still end up blowing up every now and again, but far less often if I can just sit wherever I am and just accept my feelings as feelings that will pass. Not trying to fight it off or "overcome" it, just sitting with it until I feel something else. It really and truly makes a huge difference to accept your feelings as valid, and also accepting them as feelings that don't need to be acted on.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 3:52 AM on January 7, 2009 [2 favorites]

I don't feel that ending the relationship is an option.

I can understand that after eight years it might not seem possible to be without this person, but please try to open your mind to this possibility. There are women out there who want sex several times a week or more and who will be good partners and companions in other ways. If this situation is as you've described it, it's a no-win. You can suggest couples therapy, but if she won't go to that, you need to leave because this person isn't prepared to work with you to resolve issues.
posted by orange swan at 4:07 AM on January 7, 2009

If you stop acting like you want it all the time then she'll start to wonder why.

Supply and demand. Play it.
posted by jhighmore at 4:31 AM on January 7, 2009


Things that reduce sex drive:


Simply false.
posted by jhighmore at 4:32 AM on January 7, 2009 [6 favorites]

Good gravy.

A relationship is a multi-faceted thing, of which sex is just one facet. Importantly, the OP is not saying these two people are sexually incompatible - when they do get it on, everyone seems happy with the outcome, so I think calls to DTMFA are seriously premature here. People who are overall very happy and in love with each other should not DTMFA over something that can be fixed if they are in fact committed to the relationship.

There are two real issues here. One is of sex frequency."How do I kill my sex drive?" is probably not the solution here. Because a relationship is a partnership of two people, what's most appropriate here is that both partners work towards a compromise that works for everyone. A couples' therapist is absolutely key here.

The more important issue, however, is totally key to marriage or any long term relationship, and that is conflict resolution. Mrs Anonymous doesn't seem willing to address something that is a key issue for her partner, and Mr Anonymous (I suspect) is probably focusing much more on his need to get it on rather than laying down the fundamental groundwork of relaxation and intimacy.

In short, conflicting sex drives are not that big of a relationship hurdle. Your mutual inability to overcome that hurdle, however, is - and it's something that needs to be addressed with the help of a professional because it's key to a good marriage.

In even shorter: couples' therapy, ASAP.
posted by DarlingBri at 5:09 AM on January 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

It isn't just about the sex. Everything that is connected to sex (at least in a relationship) says "I love you I need you I want you", that is the part you would be losing if you gave up your desire, or cheated or adapted. When a woman is avoiding sex with you she is likely avoiding any touch, kiss or caress that could be construed as a come-on (I am female but gay and have been rejected by my share of females). Loving someone who rejects you sexually on a consistant basis can destroy your ego and self esteem. I think men are made to think that there is something coarse about making sex a priority, well, it isn't just about the sex.
posted by InkaLomax at 5:23 AM on January 7, 2009

posted by EarBucket at 5:25 AM on January 7, 2009 [2 favorites]

I don't know how to tell you how to lower your libido (antidepressants might be worth trying, but sometimes they just make it more difficult to orgasm rather than reducing desire, which would just make the sex you do have less enjoyable). However, I second the recommendations above for meditation or something of the kind. Look into the practice of mindfulness. It's less about changing your desires than learning to live with them, and learning to exist peacefully with the negative emotions that we (people) commonly try to escape.

If you're fighting the urge to masturbate several times a day, maybe you're using sexual release to avoid dealing with normal stress and negative feelings? I'm not saying you're an addict or pervert or anything like that--just that you should maybe focus less on killing the desire for sex and more on figuring out why you feel the need for this release all the time. Just hypothesizing here: you seem like a self-aware person, and maybe being conscious of the pressures (besides physical) that lead you to seek sex will help you find other ways of dealing with them.

As for your girlfriend, I'm not sure why she came in for so much hate in this thread, as her schedule seems pretty typical of LT relationships (see NYT story above, in which 66 times/year is considered to be skewed high). If you feel belittled or disrespected by her responses to your advances, then that is definitely something to discuss with her. I agree with what a couple others have said above, though, that it's not necessarily selfish to react negatively to a request for a BJ when one is not in the mood for sex at all (not that there's anything wrong with your asking). You do not say whether she is willing to talk to you frankly about her desires and her reactions to yours. This kind of talk doesn't come easily for everyone, but it is important. If she won't get into it with you, then you really should get couples therapy if you want the relationship to last.

Finally, I have great respect for your commitment and your desire to change yourself rather than your partner (even though you probably both need to change some to meet in the middle). Don't DTMFA, and best of luck to you.
posted by torticat at 5:52 AM on January 7, 2009

It's more like, "Hey, how about some foreplay? I could go down on you" or "Would you touch it (my penis)" or "Can we have sex tonight" that is greeted with a negative response. Any talk of sex or sexual touching outside of the bedroom is unacceptable as well.

I'm a male who's been in your position and, no joke, you're going about this the wrong way. Reading your question, I sympathised with your partner. I'd say Ms Saint's response is the best so far. "Would you touch it?" is just not a sexy approach, even if it feels like a simple request.

I went through a long period with one girl where she was stressed at work and not up for sex much. It went down to about twice a month in the worst times (though we weren't living together). I didn't deal with it well. I was a bit like you. I got stroppy, felt like if she didn't want sex that was fair enough, but how big a deal would it be to give me a hand job instead? I was kind of pushing her constantly, trying to initiate sexual situations, trying harder when this didn't work. I'd say, "OK, I get that you're tired today, I understand, but we'll have sex on Saturday when you're not working, yeah?" and she'd agree, and then it didn't happen. And more than once I did the "crying breakdown" thing.

After months of frustration, I realised that the way I was going about things was turning sex into an obligatory chore for her that she felt guilty about not being able to perform. Everything I was doing to try to make us have sex was just making her want it less. She stopped wanting to cuddle so much even, because, I sensed, she thought I always hoped it would lead to more.

So I came up with a new strategy. I just tried to accept that we were not going to have sex for a while. We did a lot of stuff involving bodily contact, nakedness, massages, baths together, and I mostly tried not to do anything that resembled foreplay. And, after a while, when she got the message that being affectionate towards me didn't necessarily mean that sex was going to happen, she started getting comfortable and turned on again. Still, I went a long time not initiating anything. If she felt that she wanted sex, I just let her show me. Sometimes she did, sometimes she didn't. But more and more often she did.

This was a hard process, and took a lot of patience, willpower and time. It was sometimes very frustrating, but I'd been frustrated anyway. And eventually sex became an almost-daily thing again, went back to normal, so it was worth it.
posted by cincinnatus c at 5:56 AM on January 7, 2009 [32 favorites]

People who are overall very happy and in love with each other should not DTMFA over something that can be fixed if they are in fact committed to the relationship.

People who are actually happy do not end up in the situation where one partner is whining at the other for sex. My generalization can beat up your generalization!

Anon: I know you didn't say it was her fault, but you implied it. And you did it again. She makes you feel guilty. For wanting to have sex with her. As others have implied, nothing on earth turns a woman off more than a guy saying "Hey uh, please um, can I has a bj?" But instead of being sweet and accommodating, she brushes you off coldly, making the next time even more awkward.

So what's missing isn't sex, it's romance and intimacy. That is well nigh impossible to fix. But maybe if you concentrated on what's actually wrong rather than "I wish I didn't want to have sex so much!" you guys might make it to the end of the year.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:57 AM on January 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

I know from your posts that you love this woman. However, there is a serious mismatch here (which you acknowledge) in terms of your sexual compatibility. If you get married to this person, this problem WILL NOT GO AWAY. You really need to understand that and recognise that the problem you have now will not right itself and getting married could ultimately rob you of many years of wonderful sex, the upshot of course is that you get to spend many years with the woman you love but how long can you last?

Get help. I like hazyjane's idea of scheduling sex or at least scheduling time to resolve this issue as best you can. You are clearly willing to give up so much (damn it man, how could you?!) so I think it is only fair for your partner to come to the party as well (so to speak).

Couples solve problems together and this is not a great way to start the rest of your life - don't make a mistake now that you will regret in 10 years. Good luck.
posted by micklaw at 6:04 AM on January 7, 2009

Actually...OP, on review, that title is godawful.

"Help me kill my sex drive and save my relationship" is a bit like "Help me cut off my arm and save my relationship." I think there aren't as many responses specifically targeting what you're specifically asking, ie., how do you kill off your sex drive, because that basic premise is kind of horrifying.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 6:07 AM on January 7, 2009

It sounds like your GF feels like she's being taken for granted. Answer honestly: How much work do you do around the house?

For years I did all of the laundry, yard work, cooking, cleaning, litterbox scooping, ran all of the errands, and paid all of the bills. All while working full time. He would unload the dishwasher. Sometimes. Of course I was exhausted all the time and I just didn't have the energy for sex. I also felt like I was being taken for granted, so even when I had the energy I just didn't want to do it.

We both worked very long hours and so we rarely had time together at home. When we did, it felt like he only ever wanted sex. Like he never wanted to be with me just for the sake of being with me. After a long day I just wanted to cuddle on the couch, but he wanted to swing from the chandeliers. He would say "hey why don't we get naked and do x" and I would get angry. Then he would get upset and I would feel horribly guilty for rejecting him. I never initiated sex and would only occasionally go along with it when he did. There were times when I felt like I was his maid/concubine, which made me resentful of his advances. The sex was great but infrequent.

The problem is not your overactive libido or her lack of one. It's the way she feels she's treated, whether it's real or perceived.

Here's my suggestion: Stop asking/poking/prodding for sex. Make dinner and clean up afterwards. Clean the entire house while she's out one day. Make a sincere effort to lighten her load. If she's sitting on the couch when you walk past, just lean down and give her a half hug and a quick kiss on the head or cheek and continue on your way. Show her lots of affection with no sexual expectations. Once she feels loved/wanted/appreciated without sex, she'll want to get naked a lot more often.

On the other hand, she could just be an evil harpy.
posted by ValkoSipuliSuola at 6:14 AM on January 7, 2009 [15 favorites]

So here's the setup:

We are robots made of meat.

Our reactions to our internal milieu of hormone soup are the product of a few billion years of natural selection.

Determinism feels just like free will.

Given these precepts, commitment is the poison of passion. (The joke is that wedding cake is the only sure cure for nymphomania.) Once our coupling phase is over, our hormone regimen changes. It makes the transition from lust to contentment possible and is scientifically verifiable. Even people of the sort who will reflexively damn this post can recognize the inevitable alterations in their relationships, but usually want to ascribe them to something other than their biology. In the end, while mental tricks can temporarily fool biology, biology usually prevails.

Oddly, you chose this person for reasons you can't even identify. "It just felt right" comes to mind. Ever wonder why?

Ever wonder why it's called 'The Seven Year Itch"? Don't you find it curious that this is close to the point at which human babies are past their most vulnerable phase? Do you think perhaps that the truth percolated into the collective conciousness years before there was science to explain it? Worth considering, no? (Google social biology or evolutionary psychology. Read a few dozen titles and get back with me.)

You are a normal male and she is a normal female. You seek to justify your behavior with words, instead of explaining it for what it is. Normal. All the incidental bullshit around this masks the likelihood that she's in a different phase. People aren't quantities, they are processes. They constantly change. Some of the changes have easy explanations.

If you want to preserve passion, you must preserve the conditions that recommend it. Sadly, you are past the point where the most effective one lies... deferring commitment. Unless the golden apple of security is always unattainable, there is no motivation for girl pursuing it.

Basically, you are fucked. You caved. You can't unsurrender.

I personally do not think the solution is ditching her. Marriage does not equal sex. It is a political institution as well as a sexual one. Study it.

I would suggest confronting polyamorism. Find a sex partner. Do not be derailed by the howls of the folks here who might not be open minded enough to consider something other than what they are given by life.

Related... do you think that this is the only model for male/female relationships? You are free (sic) to invent what you want. If there is free will, it exists in action, not in feeling.

One more thing... you will be dead in 50 years. Don't forget that. Dead. Soon after that, you'll be forgotten and someone will ebay all your stuff. Not a pretty picture, is it?

Is this how you want to spend your time? In a constant state of want? Because you are afraid to do something different?

Quit looking at this as if it is a clash of personalities. It is a manifestation of basic human biology, only somewhat amenable to alteration by intent.

Pardon me if I sound jaded. It's not based on an evil personality; just a very, very thorough and concentrated three decades of considering this. If you want, email me and I'll send you a reading list.
posted by FauxScot at 6:14 AM on January 7, 2009 [2 favorites]

It sounds like your GF feels like she's being taken for granted. Answer honestly: How much work do you do around the house?

I didn't see any evidence of this in the OP's post, but it's definitely something to consider. If your partner is feeling stressed at work, and then feeling overburdened at home, if your sexual requests are coming off as "gimmegimmegimme service me touch it" instead of, "let's make each other feel good right now" I can see that as repelling.

FWIW, one of the reasons sex can dry up when young kids are in the picture isn't just because mom is tired and overfocused on the little ones-- it's because she's also pawed at and used as a source of bodily pleasure and comfort ALL DAY (if she's staying at home at the early stages) by the time hubby comes home and feels like he's doing the same.
posted by availablelight at 6:36 AM on January 7, 2009 [3 favorites]

It's more like, "Hey, how about some foreplay? I could go down on you" or "Would you touch it (my penis)" or "Can we have sex tonight" that is greeted with a negative response.

If this is actually what you are saying and doing, you are doing it wrong. Even if she is a raving nymphomaniac who jumps your bones every fifteen minutes, "hey, how about some foreplay?" is probably going to go over with all the excitement of "hey, how about I stick my wet and slimy tongue in your mouth and wiggle it around?" Right concept, wrong language, and probably wrong presentation, too.

So if that is at all an accurate depiction of your interactions, I'd suggest "rebooting" -- stopping what you are doing, completely and totally, and rebuilding your approaches and interactions from scratch. Whatever the constraints of your situation, this is not an approach that is going to turn out best for you or her.

Any talk of sex or sexual touching outside of the bedroom is unacceptable as well.

This, again, hinges on the "how" and "when" of this. Whiny pestering while she is trying to take care of the household chores you neglected? Bzzzzt. But rudely shutting you down and refusing to talk about anything important to you at all, no matter the situation? Equally bad, just in the other direction. Once you've fallen into a less healthy dynamic, these sorts of conversations can be really helped by having a neutral mediator (eg a couples counselor, etc) who can work with both of you on both how to talk about it and the substance of what each of you need to say.
posted by Forktine at 6:48 AM on January 7, 2009 [2 favorites]

commitment is the poison of passion
This is, without a doubt, the single most noxious thing I've ever read on Metafilter. If I could only un-favorite a comment once in my entire life I would spend the chit on this comment.

It sounds as though your wife feels like sex is a demand being placed on her. You say that when you actually have sex, it's great. So it's safe to assume that she actually enjoys the sex you have.

Ask yourself: What are the common elements in the circumstances that led up to those great sexual experiences? Not necessarily the minutes and hours, but maybe the days and weeks? Was the house in good shape? Was there job stress? Was there family stress or personal issues from outside of the marriage?

There's been some good advice in this thread, among the best are the suggestions that you be physically affectionate with your wife in small ways but do not initiate sex. Making someone feel comfortable with physical affection that doesn't come with a sexual obligation makes everyone feel better.

I was once in a marriage where the sexual incompatibility was so bad that I considered the same thing you are considering: fining ways to lower my sex drive. They are few, far between, and not good for you.

If you're looking to solve this problem, my advice wold be to change the goal. Don't make the goal "have more sex". Make the goal "make my wife feel more cherished and more loved". Succeed at -that-, and your sexual situation will very likely improve.

As to whether or not to marry this woman; you have to decide whether or not this is a deal-breaker for you. I'm married to a fantastic lady. If I had to choose between staying married to her with no sex ever again, or marrying someone else with all the sex I wanted, I would choose the former. She's that wonderful.
posted by DWRoelands at 7:06 AM on January 7, 2009 [8 favorites]

Break up with her, at least you'll (maybe) have break up sex.
And if she really cares, you potentially will have make up sex!

And more seriously, maybe she will then understand how important it is for you.
posted by anto1ne at 7:11 AM on January 7, 2009

This is blunt and coarse but gets to the point: Your dick wants action and that's not going to go away, especially since every night you're laying down next to someone who you'd like to have sex with. You can't kill this thing. You can suppress it, for a while, but it'll come back, probably in the form of a co-worker or neighbor who eyes sparkle when you ask for a blow job or hand job. You're not getting your needs met and there are plenty of women out there who would delightfully meet them and you're going to come across one of them someday and then you'll really have dilemma.

Address this with your SO, work on the problem or find a new SO, because this has enormous potential to blow up in your face down the road.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:23 AM on January 7, 2009

The vast majority of the comments here are about sexual incompatibility. But, friend, that is not what this is about. This is a big flashing red sign saying that there's the chance -- just the chance -- that this is a symptom of a rather larger problem: that she doesn't care enough about your happiness to inconvenience herself. Perhaps that's not the case. Maybe the problem really is just sex, which is still a big deal, but could be surmountable. But speaking as somebody in your position years ago -- before he got married -- you need to be damn sure of that before you continue this relationship.

At this stage, a relationship (indeed, "love") is about actions more than feelings -- emotions (and habit) ultimately drive the actions, but feeling mushy-gushy while treating your partner like an ass does not a good relationship make. So do me a favor: make a list. First column, all the things you do for her on a regular basis that are putting her before your own personal self-interest -- that is, you're sacrificing your time, or effort, or foregoing things you'd prefer to do, or so on. Second column, things she similarly does for you.

No one-time events here, just things done on a regular basis; this isn't about keeping score. No social obligations, either -- we're talking things done on a purely voluntary basis, out of love. And put some thought into it; this shouldn't be the first half-dozen things that pop into your head, because the nature of regular acts of love is that they can fade into the background and it can take effort to realize that either you or she is actually doing them. This exercise may seem dry and shallow, but it can help you see the big picture. Don't intentionally share this list with her (or anybody at all), that's not what it's about. And you need to see the big picture now, because it's much harder to fix a problem after the relationship becomes official and state-recognized.

Realize that this list will be fundamentally biased -- you may simply not realize some of the ways in which she's putting you before herself. That's fine, partners in a good relationship don't shove these things in each other's faces. So if you have twelve things in your column and ten in hers, wonderful -- maybe this is just about sex, and if you feel the relationship is worth suppressing your desires for the long term, that's your choice (I happen to agree, for what it's worth). Just keep an eye on it in the future.

But if your column has fifteen items and hers has two, well, there's a problem, my friend. This could mean she's a selfish twat, as violetk said. It could mean that she simply doesn't particularly love or respect you in the true sense of the words. Or it could be a communication problem: either she doesn't realize that there are things you'd like her to do for you, or perhaps you've blinded yourself to the things she is doing. Of the three, only the third bears a reasonable chance of being able to be repaired. If it's one of the first two, though, you need to seriously, seriously reconsider whether this relationship is really one you want to spend the rest of your life in.
posted by UtterlyDrained at 7:30 AM on January 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

I was in a relationship where my partner was disgusted with my sexuality too. Get the hell out, because even if you get what you want— and if she really does love you, you will eventually— you still won't have gotten what you want. I know it's hard, but you are going to have to move out, cut off all communication, possibly even move to a different city, just to be away from a woman you love but will forever make you feel inhuman.
posted by Electrius at 7:45 AM on January 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

I had a boyfriend who wanted sex more than I did - the pressure was insane. And there's little more hurtful than hearing, "Hey, how about a blowjob instead?" when you've made it clear that you're not in the mood. Guys need to understand that "not in the mood" means mood for all things sexual, not just the actual sex act. A blowjob or a handjob from someone who isn't the slightest bit turned on will make you feel worse, and make her feel worse for not being able to please you at this time. So don't badger, for the love of god. Let her make the advances, back off.
posted by Bakuun at 7:51 AM on January 7, 2009 [6 favorites]

You and your mate are not sexually compatible. This much is obvious.

Rather than changing who you are, it's time to look at whether this relationship is worth staying in.

You have a lot of time invested, but at this point, that's all a sunk cost. I'd look at the situation and see if you can imagine being sexually frustrated for the rest of your life. Simply changing your attitude or need for sex is easier said than done.
posted by reenum at 7:57 AM on January 7, 2009

Run away! Seriously, I was married to someone like that once--in time, you will grow to hate her because you are unhappy, which really isn't fair to either of you.

For you, sex is a necessary part of life, and feeling loved. For her, it is not pleasant or desireable, nor does she care that you are jumping out of your skin from horniness. If you marry her, you will end up divorced, and if you have kids first, you will be seriously torn to bits having to be away from them, and also financially ruined in the process.

Don't do this to yourself or to her. You can find someone who wants you back in the same way you want them, and you are going to be shocked at how nice that is!
posted by midwestguy at 8:03 AM on January 7, 2009

I'm going to take the other side of this argument.

I've been married for 7 years, and we were together for 3 years before that. We didn't have sex before marriage because we wanted that level of commitment. It was hard, don't get me wrong.

Now we are married.
We do it about once a month, some times a couple more times, sometimes less.
If I had my say it would be at least a couple times a week. And she doesn't want to ever go down, just not going to happen.

But I love my wife and kids more then I love doing it.
To me, the Whole is greater then the sum of the parts.
Life is sacrifice.

I push that part of me down. I'm a human, not a animal. The need for sex is no different then hunger, the urge to poop, etc. Its our bodies response telling us we need to do something, but I'm in control of that, not vice versa.

Would I ever cheat on my wife?

Do I self manage?
When I get the chance, about once a week or so.

Does it suck?
Yeah, sometimes?

Is it difficult?

Is it worth it?

posted by JonnyRotten at 8:06 AM on January 7, 2009 [7 favorites]

dude, i didnt read the 9 trillion answers you got, but my wife never wanted to have sex for a good 18 months, and she decided it might be her birth control that made her feel that way, so hse stopped taking it and bang, at least once a week if not more.
posted by fumbducker at 8:38 AM on January 7, 2009 [4 favorites]

I was in a relationship like this, for a long time. Very good in many respects, but I wanted way more sex than he did. It wasn't until I was in a different relationship that I realized that the real pain came from him denying me emotional intimacy rather than from our different sex drives. This became really clear when my sexually compatible partner and I had a long hiatus due to illness. I found that because the emotional intimacy was there, the lack of sex was not as emotionally or personally devastating.

I hear in your post a certain focus on your sexual goals that can be very difficult for the partner who is less interested. The problems are linked to her starting her career, so I agree with the people who suggest that you initiate sex at times when she is not tired, but I will add that you may want to consider "wooing" her a little. Have dinner ready, clean some part of the house, spend an evening focusing on the two of you, whatever it is that you two love doing together. Free up a little of her time and energy, but don't insist on sex. Open the lines of communication by focusing on emotional intimacy instead of sex and let her know how much you love her and how much the relationship is worth. Try to think about refocusing how you communicate about sex to her in terms of intimacy rather than orgasm, and she may become more open to, if not increasing the amount of sex you have, at least communicating her needs and wants to you in a way that makes you feel good instead of bad.

Right now you and she seem to be caught in a cycle of demand and rejection that is difficult for both of you. Rather than focusing on diminishing your sex drive, think about redefining your communication. If you don't feel rejected by her, then satisfying yourself won't make you simultaneously feel rejected and lonely. If she doesn't feel like you are demanding, she may be able to rediscover some of her libido.
posted by carmen at 8:44 AM on January 7, 2009 [2 favorites]

You might find this site interesting:

Why Your Wife Won't Have Sex With You
I used to be a "frigid" wife.

I knew even before I got married that I wouldn't be able to keep up the "schedule" of sex my husband and I had established during our courtship, and once I even warned him that it was going to have to slow down. But I think that went in one ear and out the other at supersonic speed, touching nothing in between.

Sure enough, not long after we got married sex became a battleground for us, and we struggled with the problem like two fish flopping around next to each other in the bottom of an open boat: gasping for a natural breath and injuring ourselves with every pointless, ineffectual spasm.

To me it seemed simple: he wanted me to be his sexual appliance, a handy-dandy love machine that could be switched on and off at his command. I felt no desire, and I didn't want to "submit" to being handled and penetrated when I wasn't in the mood. If he really loved me, this sex thing, this "merely physical" part of our lives, wouldn't be such a big freakin' deal. And his pissy, furious responses to my refusals only made me more sure that he didn't really love me. He just wanted to use my vagina.

To him it seemed simple, too. If I loved him -- as I consistently claimed -- why didn't I want to make love?

These things always look absolutely nuts in retrospect. You wonder how you managed to get through that crazy period in your life, how you could have been so wrong, how you could have set yourselves up in such a no-win situation. It looked hopeless at the time, a total impasse. Yet we succeeded in overcoming it, and one of the things I discovered in the five or six years since I started talking about our sexual renaissance in public is that this kind of sexual recovery is not as rare as I imagined. Being a writer by trade and a blabbermouth by inclination, a blog like this was inevitable.
posted by heatherann at 9:08 AM on January 7, 2009 [7 favorites]

Free up a little of her time and energy

It's important to note that she is placing her career before sex ("The sex thing has been an issue for us for about the last 5-6 years (basically ever since she started her career)), so they both should be open to making some changes.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:09 AM on January 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

As a woman who likes sex I have to agree that the phrase "would you like to touch it?" would completely turn me off. There is no romance in that! Asking me for a bj after I just turned down sex means you aren't listening to me, which again is a huge turn-off (it isn't clear from your post if you are doing that when you ask for a bj). I don't think this is a sexually incompatible problem (since you do have great sex) as much as a communication problem. You say she knows how you feel but how does she feel? Your post and answers are almost exclusively about you, which makes me think you aren't aware of what she thinks about the situation. When you broke down what was her response? It is odd that you haven't said. If she just shrugged and said "yeah, you have a problem, but it isn't MY problem" then that is one thing; but if she said there were specific actions you could take to improve your sex lives (such as date nights, injecting more romance into the relationship, dialling back the whingey pleading) and you didn't act on them then why? You have fallen into a rut in terms of communicating and it will take some time to change both your scripts.

And for many busy people, foreplay definitely begins with helping with the boring chores.
posted by saucysault at 9:26 AM on January 7, 2009 [2 favorites]

We do it about once a month

The need for sex is no different then hunger, the urge to poop, etc.

And if you only ate or pooped once a month, it would be really bad for you.

The only difference when it comes to suppressing your (perfectly natural, human, good, healthy, God-given) sexual urges is that it harms you mentally and spiritually, not physically. If both partners are happy with the level of sexuality in a relationship, then that's fine, whether it's twice a year or twice a day. But if you're not both happy, it will eat away at a marriage, just as any other long-term unresolved issue will.

There's nothing wrong with wanting a bunch of sex, and there's nothing wrong with not wanting any sex. But this guy is either going to have to find someone else to be happy with, or get used to jerking off in the shower for the rest of his life.
posted by EarBucket at 9:38 AM on January 7, 2009 [3 favorites]

It's nearly impossible to tell, as an outsider, whether 1. She's just a cold, hurtful bitch who doesn't respect your sexual self, 2. You're making unreasonable and poorly phrased sexual demands on a tired, stressed woman, or 3. You're both basically decent people with reasonable sexual identities who aren't communicating or connecting well.

Couples therapy is probably crucial, regardless. If it's 1 or 2, the whole thing may be doomed no matter what you do. However, if it's 3, I strongly agree with the statements popping up later in this thread about focusing less on sex and more on making her feel loved, cherished, and desired.

For me, foreplay works best when it's something that happens all the time. We're 10 1/2 years in and concentrated wooing is much more important now than it was at the beginning of the relationship. Frequent, affectionate, not explicitly sexual touching is a good place to start. Sincere compliments and affirmations are helpful too. Considerate help around the house (particularly when it's spontaneous and unasked for) is great. Developing hobbies that you can enjoy together is also a great idea. One kind of bonded intimacy can easily become another. If the hobby increases feelings of no-stress togetherness, that feeling can bleed into other arenas.

All these things create intimacy and help make me feel like a beautiful, desirable woman. It also makes me feel bonded to my partner and in sync with him. These things make me feel much more sexual. But again, this kind of foreplay works best when its a part of our lives all the time and not just in the 15 minutes before we get it on.
posted by mostlymartha at 9:54 AM on January 7, 2009 [8 favorites]

Some people desire sex to feel intimacy, and some people need to feel intimacy to desire sex.

Thinking about it that way may help you both understand better how to approach one another's needs/desires without either of you being the only one who compromises.
posted by juliplease at 10:12 AM on January 7, 2009 [3 favorites]

I will throw out the possibility that in fact she should be breaking up with you, and she does not even realize it. How many other partners did she have before she started dating you? I did this to my first serious boyfriend, not realizing that my lack of desire for sex with him was not normal, that I should not be dating someone that I had lost the desire to sleep with (even though I loved him in many other ways). I strung the relationship on for too long without realizing this and it was no fun for either of us, but 6 years of this... Jesus. Are you awkward about trying to seduce her? Maybe. Is she busy at work? Maybe. But I am stressed out and busy and frequently my boyfriend or I will initiate sex with little more than "hey I have needs let's get it on". I really do not think it sounds like you are obviously doing anything wrong and it definitely sounds like you two should break up.
Forgive me if I missed this point being made in one of the many previous comments.
posted by ch1x0r at 10:49 AM on January 7, 2009

I am a 30 year old woman who wants less sex than my partner, which causes all kinds of frustration and resentment on both sides. What can I do to heighten my libido?

I want to have sex way less often than my partner does. This leads to immense irritation on my part, and frustration on his. I know this is the biggest relationship cliche out there, but this time, I'm the one who is going to change. I honestly don't think that there's any possible way to get him less interested in fucking me.

When we do have sex it is usually pretty amazing for both of us (I'm certainly not motivated enough to fake my orgasms, so that part is legit), it's just that it happens more often than I'd like it to (he asks for it as much as once a week or 6 times a month). When he asks me for a handjob or blowjob, you'd think he just asked if he could shit in my mouth.

He is very open with me in describing his sexual desires; he says he just doesn't want me to have to guess at what he wants. Usually, this leads to me calling him a "jerk" and falling asleep.

We own a house together, we will likely be married in the next few years, have plans for the future, etc.

We have been together for about 8 years. The sex thing has been an issue for us for about the last 5-6 years (basically ever since I started my career). A couple months ago after a bit of a dry spell, he had a crying breakdown and told me that he felt trapped in the relationship due to my lack of sexual interest, but I seem unwilling/unable to change.

I want to do something (other than throw away my vibrator) that will greatly heighten my sex drive. Tips?
The fact that your partner isn't asking this question is something that should give you great pause. I agree with others that a relationship has to be sexually compatible. Otherwise, it's just a very deep friendship — and friendships such as those are wonderful, but they're not the same species of animal as a sexual relationship that should progress to marriage.
posted by WCityMike at 10:52 AM on January 7, 2009

I'd say find a mistress, but I'm afraid you will "ask for a blowjob/handjob".

If you have to ask, then what's the pont?
posted by Zambrano at 11:48 AM on January 7, 2009

What's your timing and approach like? I've found in the past that sometimes I really want it when my boyfriend doesn't/is distracted (because he just jacked off or whatever), and I got myself worked up through a slow simmer. My boyfriends have always then, hours later after being distracted and wilting my mood, jumped me without working up to it, and often at a wildly inconvenient time (I'm sick, I'm dead tired, we have to get up in 5 hours, I haven't showered yet or brushed my teeth, I'm parched, it's ridiculously cold and I'm freezing, we're supposed to be at your mother's house in 30 minutes, we haven't eaten and we've been up for 6 hours, etc etc), AND in that way where if they would give me a second to clear the way (eat breakfast, or let me take a nap, or wait 'til we come home from the parent visit thing) and bring my mood to par with theirs, they'd lose interest. This, frankly, drives me crazy and pisses me off. It also heightens the feeling it's a favor or transaction instead of a mutually anticipated and enjoyed activity--the sudden urgency and inflexibility of it just reminds me that doing me is the equivalent of releasing pressure like a lever to my boyfriend. Which is ok SOMETIMES--but not all the time, and that "Aw, poor you, I'll take care of ya honey" damn well better be reciprocated when I'm that way too then. And boyfriends always say women are too subtle in their hinting they want to--just pay attention, too.

If it becomes this thing where it feels like only your exact timing will do, she might be getting resentful. It's really hard to describe this dynamic, but I've had it repeatedly, and it's hard to overcome without being dead-on truthful and willing to hear what she has to say and actually changing your wooing habits accordingly.

Now. That said, a lot of the advice above is absolutely true too. The whole clashing libido thing is a serious issue, and you guys should be working together to overcome it, OR recognizing it can't be overcome and parting ways (please, as others said, do not get married without first resolving this--if you can't, don't get married). But the timing thing. Just double checking you aren't doing that. 'Cause a lot of dudes do it, and I understand they don't get how important timing can be for their partner too. Approach me right and willing to help me get in that mood--sharing housework, helping me relax and release work stress, finding me sexy enough to wait 30 minutes for instead of just jacking off--and gradually I become insatiable. And I know I'm not alone in this. It's an investment, and a weird nebulous one, tending/nurturing and being responsive to some women's libidos. And it takes patience for sure. But it can be worth it...

And the porn thing is a double bind. If you're frustrated obviously you're going to turn to it. But your partner may be one of those people who then feels insecure, and that just makes her want to do it less, and thus it expands in a circle...I don't have an answer to that, and my sympathies for you. Just a heads up.
posted by ifjuly at 11:53 AM on January 7, 2009 [3 favorites]

All of this stuff about sexual compatibility is really suspect. Sexual compatability evolves over time, as does a couple's sexual relationship.

This sexual imbalance is a symptom of deeper problems between the 2 of you. Your relationship and your sex life are not doomed. When you guys work everything out and are happy together you're going to find that she'll be more accomodating and you will focus less on the physical act of lovemaking and therefore feel less frustrated.

Couples therapy or just some real heart to hearts with some reassuring groundwork laid to prevent them devolving into fights.

Good luck.
posted by muscat at 11:58 AM on January 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

Every time you want to have sex imagine trying to sell your house in this market. Or fight about selling your house. Or buy out her share of the house.
posted by sondrialiac at 12:25 PM on January 7, 2009

@ cincinnatus c - your comment is amazing. such good advice. I wish I could have articulated that in a relationship I had a long time ago - it would have saved a lot of heartache
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 1:21 PM on January 7, 2009

I will tell you my my previous relationship the sex was "ok", it wasnt bad but I always, always wanted of my pet peeves was also oral sex.....I sometimes felt that if she was rejecting to do it on me, she was plainly rejecting me (didnt like how i taste, didnt like me whatever), I then understood that thats just how she was..but unfortunately for us, thats just not how I am......somehow, someway, I always wanted to do it with her, i mean the girl was so sexy that once a day wasnt enough...and I guess in a way what i was trying to do was trying to feel more intimate and connected with her.....

Flash forward to the current person I am dating....

I dont know what she does, or how she does it...but she always keeps me "satisfied" and let me tell round of doing it with her....leaves me good....for a good 5 days....yeah i could do it more...but even when she doesnt want to i am like ok...because you know what.....the next time she gets 2 me she is going to make it worth my time....

let me ask you this...even if you found a way to reduce your libido 2 and you would only want to do it once a you think then that your wife will make it worth YOUR while?
posted by The1andonly at 2:13 PM on January 7, 2009

If you want to reduce your sex drive, knock off the porn and get used to masturbating without it.

Also, I think it's actually fairly normal for a woman to view sex and romance as inextricably connected and to be quite offended at the idea of going through the motions or performing manual or oral sex when she's not in the mood at all. You need to figure out if you can be OK with this.
posted by tomcooke at 3:13 PM on January 7, 2009

Supply and demand. Play it.

Also, don't ask, don't beg. It's not in the least bit sexy. Back off and give her some time, rather than continuously asking for it. Make her work for it even. If she propositions you, turn her down. Maybe she misses the thrill of the chase, maybe she's sick of feeling that lump in the small of her back when you spoon.

Above all, talk to her about this.
posted by robotot at 3:25 PM on January 7, 2009

nthing the "please don't marry this person" opinion.

You may think right now that you can be a big man and love and commit to her fully regardless of this issue, but it won't go away and will probably grow slowly over time. Better to detach now than at some later date with the messiness and extreme pain of divorce with kids. That's going to cause a LOT more pain but it's likely that you'll end up there - either because of your infidelity or the fact that you just can't take it anymore. Sex is a legitimate emotional need, and the fact that this need won't be filled by your potential spouse means that eventually you're going to fill it up with something else. Could be porn or fantasies, but at some point you're probably going to want a real woman who desires you sexually.

However, if you can really get together and go through some counseling - identifying both of your most important emotional needs and committing to fill them within the context of your marriage, then you can probably work this out. At some point it will probably be too late.
posted by brandsilence at 4:00 PM on January 7, 2009

The only difference when it comes to suppressing your (perfectly natural, human, good, healthy, God-given) sexual urges is that it harms you mentally and spiritually, not physically. If both partners are happy with the level of sexuality in a relationship, then that's fine, whether it's twice a year or twice a day. But if you're not both happy, it will eat away at a marriage, just as any other long-term unresolved issue will.

Yes, because I am SURE that Monks/Priests/Anyone who doesn't get sex as much as they want could not possibly be happy both mentally and spiritually.

I'm not completely happy about the lack of sex in our relationship. It downright pisses me off some times.

I'm also not happy about the lack of chocolate cake and caramel milk shakes in my diet.

But I know the benefits of being with such a awesome person outweighs my teeny tiny little bit of suffering.

I just know when the moments happen, they are awesome. Would I like them to happen more? Sure. I would also like to eat cake for breakfast more often.

I'm not saying that he should even for one horrible moment further killing his libido. I'm saying if he is as happy as he says otherwise, then he needs to consider if its a deal breaker.
I just wanted to express a point of view from the other side of the fence, because that wasn't happening very much.

Just remember, the grass is always greener. Sure he could bail for someone that may think his dick tastes like candy and want to blow him all the time. But will she have all the other qualities that he would be leaving his current girl for?
posted by JonnyRotten at 5:31 PM on January 7, 2009 [3 favorites]

Sure he could bail for someone that may think his dick tastes like candy and want to blow him all the time. But will she have all the other qualities that he would be leaving his current girl for?

It's not a zero-sum game. It's entirely possible to have a relationship that contains the other positive qualities PLUS sexual chemistry and compatibility.
posted by scody at 5:45 PM on January 7, 2009 [4 favorites]

I agree with others that a relationship has to be sexually compatible. Otherwise, it's just a very deep friendship.

Holy shit. So the person you marry is just like all your other very close friendships, except you're fucking this person and not them?

Personally, I can fuck any number of people but the number of people I want to, say, raise kids with, build a home with, and live with every single day for the rest of my life is pretty much limited to one.

Seriously, I think there's something wrong with putting sex at the centre of a relationship and using it as the yardstick by which you distinguish your romantic relationships from all others. When I hear people say things like that, I almost always think "Geeze, I hope your partner never becomes sexually dysfunctional due to accident or injury, because hello insurance paperwork, goodbye marriage."
posted by DarlingBri at 7:38 PM on January 7, 2009 [5 favorites]

Yes, because I am SURE that Monks/Priests/Anyone who doesn't get sex as much as they want could not possibly be happy both mentally and spiritually.

Yes. Catholic priests are definitely the example you want to use for sexually healthy individuals.

Celibacy (or near-celibacy) works for some people. For most human beings, it's a recipe for disaster. Hell, even St. Paul, no big fan of human sexuality, recognized that, and said that it was wrong to refrain from fulfilling your partner sexually. Not that Paul's probably the authority this guy's looking for, but if even Mr. Ideally-Everyone-Would-Be-Celibate recognized how harmful a relationship like this is, he definitely should.
posted by EarBucket at 5:31 AM on January 8, 2009 [1 favorite]

I feel like I should add to this that this was a long time ago and we've been happily married for almost 11 years. I really do think you can work it out, but it's going to take some effort. It's worth it, though. I promise.
posted by ValkoSipuliSuola at 11:33 AM on January 8, 2009

Earbucket. Awesome generalization!
Lets judge people by the lowest common denominator.

Also, believe it or not, but Catholicism is not the only religion that has abstinent priests.

But I digress, I was just saying that sex is not necessary for spiritual and mental fulfillment.
posted by JonnyRotten at 4:43 PM on January 8, 2009

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