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February 19, 2008 5:44 PM   Subscribe

I feel my libido is too high. How can I normalize it healthily and deal with it?

I'm 22, and I've noticed my desire increasing very sharply over the past year or so. It's getting in the way of other activities I have and making it difficult to keep up with studying, as I'll frequently become distracted when even obliquely reminded of arousing things, even more than my high school years. I masturbate at least once daily, often more, but it doesn't satisfy, regardless of how long I take doing it, even extending beyond an hour. I've been on antidepressants, but I've found that sexual feelings remain, whether or not I get an erection.

I haven't done anything illegal or even particulary antisocial other than flirting with some women already in relationships, but I'm still a virgin and I think the way I approach women unconsciously as a result of this has actually cost me several opportunities for sex and sex play, among other things. I've been to multiple therapists, responses ranging from "just wait and it'll decrease naturally" to "It's perfectly normal" and that I probably should be happy my sexual stamina is so high. Other resources I've found include a Mormon pamphlet advising dunking the genitals in icewater, and some people with physical sex addiction problems that seem far distant from my experiences. Is that really all there is?
posted by StrikeTheViol to Grab Bag (32 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

I have a friend who is celibate and has a lot of celibate friends doing their celibate thing. They ALL avoid onion, garlic and fried foods. One time I was eating in a diner with my friend when he was visiting and he was eating a grilled cheese and got this little forlorn look on his face. I was like, "What's up?" And he said, "Dude, this grilled cheese is totally gonna give me a wet dream tonight."

Just thought I'd throw that out there.
posted by milarepa at 5:52 PM on February 19, 2008 [6 favorites]

Sounds to me like you are perfectly normal. At least I felt the same way at about your age. And yes. It was terribly distracting and frustrating. To the point I started to feel some serious depression.

I can only tell you what helped me: Finding a steady fulfilling sexual relationship.
posted by tkchrist at 6:06 PM on February 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

Let's go with it's natural. I'm 33, in a healthy long term relationship with regular sex and I still masturbate once to twice a day, and have been since I was a teenager. So I say don't sweat it. And enjoy your alone time.
posted by xmattxfx at 6:11 PM on February 19, 2008

I feel my libido is too high. How can I normalize it healthily and deal with it?

I'm 22,

Umm, you can't. You're a young man, you are going to have sex on the brain. Pretty much all the time. When you're fifty an watching Viagra ads with unexpected interest, you will miss these days. Just go have some sex, man. Trust me, you won't regeret the sex you had half as much as the sex you didn't have.
posted by jonmc at 6:19 PM on February 19, 2008

I say it's natural. Since my early twenties, my libido has only increased. When I hit the spare times and I'm overly distracted by the urge, I just change things up. You say you masturbate regularly; now try masturbating differently. Throw yourself a curveball.

Try the Mormon's advice and dip the boys in some icy chilly - you may be one of the lucky ones that really really really really really really enjoys it.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 6:20 PM on February 19, 2008

I'm in my 30s as well and I still have days like what you describe. I don't know if it's natural or not. But anecdotally it appears some people are wired this way. Some advice:

- find a partner that enjoys having sex as frequently as you want to
- idle hands are the devils workshop. Take up some hobbies and/or get out of the house.
- please don't do anything to your package, ie, drown it in ice water
- I've found that increased sexual activity leads to wanting more sexual activity. I have no idea why. Some kind of need for an endorphin rush? Anyway, moderate your pleasing of the weasel.
- and lastly: Margaret Thatcher naked on a cold day! Margaret Thatcher naked on a cold day!
posted by quadog at 6:20 PM on February 19, 2008 [6 favorites]

Sounds normal to me. I'm more than a decade older, and still feel like that. Well, it does change as you age -- I feel just as sexual as I did then, but now it's more like I'm in control of my sexuality, whereas when I was 20 it was like my sexuality controlled me.

So yeah, find a willing cutie (of whatever variety floats your boat) and get busy humping. And even then -- even if you are having hawt sex twice a day -- you are still going to want to rub one out on your own sometimes. It's totally normal, enjoy it, don't do the icewater baths unless that feels good and if it does feel good don't give yourself frostbite down there.

I think the way I approach women unconsciously as a result of this has actually cost me several opportunities for sex and sex play

If you are acting desperate and twitchy, this is probably true. It is one of the most unfair things in life, that the more needy you are the less opportunity will come to you. If you can fake being cool and relaxed and happy, things will probably work better. Easy for me to say, I know -- but seriously, we've all been there, and sometimes we go back there for a visit.

Sometimes the key to breaking habits that aren't working and getting a really different result is to put yourself in a different environment, where you can experiment with being someone else. Do you have the money and time to travel? Or at least to jump in, sink-or-swim, to a new activity with no one you already know?
posted by Forktine at 6:22 PM on February 19, 2008

I'd also reccomend reading this novel. I've reccomeneded it a million times for enetrtainment value (and it's got plenty of that, no doubt), but it also gets directly at what you're talking about. But in the end it just means you're a young guy with ahealthy libido.
posted by jonmc at 6:23 PM on February 19, 2008

Response by poster: Hey tkchrist! If you, or anyone else wants to read about the RelationshipFilter half of this, my earlier post is here. Also, I probably should have been specific, I don't mind answers saying it's fine, but advice is also helpful...It's a little too hard to just think of Penis 'n Me time, y'know?
posted by StrikeTheViol at 6:24 PM on February 19, 2008

Wow, I think if there were an easy way to get rid of sexual feelings, man's problems would be solved. :)

I have had problems like yours in the past where simply being around a woman drives me nuts. I found that for me, trying to avoid women because of this just made the problem worse. When I saw women more often and made attempts at interacting with them in normal ways, I noticed my issues beginning to subside.

This seems a bit counter-intuitive, and maybe it's not the case for everyone, but in some cases I think interacting with women more can decrease your sexual problems. Besides, more women in your life means more chances at a relationship.

In essence my suggestion is to let loose a bit and get comfortable with women through what you envision as normal interaction, the kind which is independent of sexual desires. I think only when you've become comfortable with women in this way will you be ready to move on to mature sexual relationships. I imagine that this would also affect the feeling of helplessness associated with sex and sexual feelings pretty strongly.
posted by Anthony84 at 6:24 PM on February 19, 2008 [1 favorite]

To paraphrase Matt "The Terror" Serra, cold showers are fine.
posted by 1 at 6:24 PM on February 19, 2008

Man, I feel (felt?) your pain. From 19-24 I was in a not-self-imposed celibacy, and I sometimes had to go home at lunch to rub one out, in addition to once in the morning and twice at night. If you're planning to remain celibate, figure out what gets you off quick, so you can us the post-wank mental silence to get something done.
posted by notsnot at 6:27 PM on February 19, 2008

Also, I probably should have been specific, I don't mind answers saying it's fine, but advice is also helpful...It's a little too hard to just think of Penis 'n Me time, y'know?

The word you want is "sublimation": take all that, uh, vigor and put it towards training for a marathon, or working to make partner, or building the awesomest model train layout in the neighborhood. Basically, do something, anything, as long as it isn't pulling your pud. And when you find yourself thinking about naked cuties, work harder at that other activity instead of stopping to run into the bathroom for a solo quickie.

But finding a girlfriend/boyfriend who has just as high a sex drive is waaaaaay better than sublimation. I've tried both, and will take matching sex drives over a funky hobby any day of the week.
posted by Forktine at 6:32 PM on February 19, 2008

And when you find yourself thinking about naked cuties, work harder at that other activity instead of stopping to run into the bathroom for a solo quickie.

what are we, the Catholic Church all of a sudden? Go find yourself a girl (they like sex as much as we do and one of them's bound to like you). You are a normal young man with normal urges. Why you feel the need to sublimate them is beyond me.
posted by jonmc at 6:34 PM on February 19, 2008

what are we, the Catholic Church all of a sudden? Go find yourself a girl (they like sex as much as we do and one of them's bound to like you). You are a normal young man with normal urges. Why you feel the need to sublimate them is beyond me.

Guilt is what usually happens. Am I right?
posted by Anthony84 at 6:44 PM on February 19, 2008

Honey, enjoy it while you can. It doesn't last forever, just consult your nearest Viagra ad for proof of that.
posted by 45moore45 at 6:48 PM on February 19, 2008

Response by poster: Well, not so much the "God will smite me for Onanism!" variety, as the "I wish I could break free of this vicious cycle, I could have gotten a doctorate in the time I've been doing this" feeling.
posted by StrikeTheViol at 6:51 PM on February 19, 2008

"I wish I could break free of this vicious cycle, I could have gotten a doctorate in the time I've been doing this" feeling.

Doctorates are great, but when you're an old man sitting in a wheelchair, you won't be thinking wistfully about your thesis, trust me. I'm not saying that sex should be the only thing in your life, but for a guy your age? Now is the time, my man...
posted by jonmc at 6:54 PM on February 19, 2008

In case anyone missed this linked thread, it's not like Strike can just go out and get laid whenever he feels like it. I agree a satisfying relationship would be the best solution, but it might not be the most useful advice for him right now.
posted by pravit at 7:29 PM on February 19, 2008

Hey, guys, before every single person on this web site chimes in with "just go get a girl", I think it would be nice to read his earlier post about trying to do that.

What's worked for me in the past is not exercising and eating unhealthy food. Kind of depressing, but there it is. Maybe it will give someone else better ideas.
posted by amtho at 7:30 PM on February 19, 2008

what are we, the Catholic Church all of a sudden?

He had requested an answer beyond "it's normal" and "go find a girl." I associate sublimation as much with the "Protestant work ethic" as with Catholic guilt, but in fact redirecting that energy works a charm.

And yeah, rereading that earlier question, my offhanded suggestion of sublimation via marathon running reads as useless at best, but the underlying point is the same. That sexual energy is part of what makes you "you," and denying it doesn't work real well. Redirecting it, however, is well within the reach of the average horny guy, and keeps your package from getting friction burns.
posted by Forktine at 7:50 PM on February 19, 2008

I'm a woman, but, well, I've had a similar problem since before puberty. Well, except when I didn't have a sex drive due to hormonal birth control. But that's neither here nor there. When everything is up and in sync ... yes, well.

What works for me: masturbation (if I have privacy). Then mathematics. And programming. Or games. Anything that requires deep focus ... I find if I get into something (anything) then I'm capable of ignoring the raging hormones. See references to 'the zone' experienced by atheletes - not being athletic, I go for more mental pursuits. If you're athletic, go for that.

Sex is all well and good, but if the urge strikes at midday, it doesn't matter how good my relationship is: my husband and I are still not physically proximate during business hours. Alternative coping methods are often required.
posted by ysabet at 10:17 PM on February 19, 2008

You evolved that way. Ancestors with a high sex drive had more chances of reproducing than their peers with lower drives. It's perfectly normal.
posted by stereo at 2:24 AM on February 20, 2008

Mate, Im a 22 year old girl thats been in a steady relationship for 3 years, which hasnt been a virgin for approaching a decade and I have the exact same problem. Im writing my thesis at the moment and every 250 words i write I pop upstairs and have a little 'reward'.
Stop trying to fight it and go with it. Good luck to you!
posted by Neonshock at 2:50 AM on February 20, 2008

More gym time. Seriously. Very heavy weight not only relaxes and tires you, but it will help you take all other problems in the world less seriously. Everyone's advice here is basically the same, and basically right.
posted by ewkpates at 3:45 AM on February 20, 2008

Are you taking a Bupropion like Wellbutrin or Zyban? These drugs are known to mildly increase libido.

To help with girls, check out the professional dating scene at sites like, these guys have figured out a system to attract women without seeming desperate.
posted by bprater at 6:12 AM on February 20, 2008

I agree....don't fight it. I'm a youngish female with a ridiculously high libido... I have a terrible time finding anyone that can match. I've ran races (long ones). No avail. Makes me that much more interested as well as increases my stamina. No excersizing helps... At least not for me. I have gone through many different stages of physical training and they have all produced the same results: sex drive, sex drive, and more sex drive.

While I have respect for being able to say no and not letting anything retain control over least any action/habit/item. I think sex (all kinds) is fantastic and natural. It brings us back to our carnal nature and levels us with the animal world (at least this is what I tell myself as a reasoning for my 22yr old male libido). Matter of fact, I have very often times explained my libido as that of a 22yr old male. If that doesn't tell you that you are very normal, well then, nothing will. (But that's not what you are seeking)

Sorry I can't offer much help. Couldn't resist responding though, obviously :-)

I'm sure there are sites online that can link you to other people that could "help" (aka: random hookups) you with this "issue". Although, not saying that the best idea is being promiscuous. On the contrary, I happen to think that is a terrible idea (but works for some people). While I very much love sex, I also respect the act in its entirety for what it means to give oneself to someone else. Maybe that contributes to why I'm so into the whole act? (I am female, so the emotional, symbolic, and physical aspect are all very important...maybe it's the same for males, but sometimes I think not)

I digress. You could definitely use that energy for other things, but I don't think the desire will go away in whole.
posted by NotInTheBox at 6:21 AM on February 20, 2008

Best answer: ** the answer you're looking for **

I am 30, and experienced much the same lifestyle you've described, and even posted a creepy/cryptic ask mefi question some ages ago, trying to decypher what exactly was going on with me.

The short version: I think you're misinterpreting sexual arousal and/or orgasm as a stopgap for a particular mysterious unfulfilling emptiness that seems to be momentarily filled by doing so, but instead resumes your discouragement, perhaps sometimes even in worse shape, in the sense that if you were only able to have like, solid hours of orgasm that you would seem to make any accomplishment to getting that feeling to go away.

The long version: It sounds like there's a particular "feeling" that you're fairly certain needs to be resolved with orgasm/etc, and although it seems very obvious that sexual experiences are the key to getting that nagging "running on fumes" feeling to go away -- you're just dancing all around it without seeing precisely the trouble.

Imagine a fuel guage whose meter indicates the level that you "feel loved," and when you achieve orgasm and/or are building up to it, that needle moves slightly away from the Empty half, but then shortly drops. However, imagine that there is a way to peg that needle on Full.

The way to do that is to determine your "Love Language" -- that is, the way that you yourself naturally, by default, interpret "feeling loved" subconsciously. The book for learning yours, and without trying to sound like a copy writer, is Gary Chapman's "The Five Love Languages." Yeah, it sounds like I'm Oprah or some crazy Ron Popeil audience member, but seriously.

Once I figured out my language (the language of physical contact as an expression of love, such as by hugging, handshakes, high-fives, snuggling, sitting in close proximity, etc) I realized just how much I really did seek after those things. What I previously assumed was a peculiar enjoyment for foosball was actually an addiction to the close proximity of the other players. I also realized that most of my childhood memories centered specifically on situations where I was cuddled, hugged, embraced, hair tousled, etc. Getting enough of those particular expressions made my libido plummet and I was much less to be quite the horndog all the time, because I was getting the love nutrition instead of the high fructose corn syrup that is sexual pursuit.

The book describes four other languages: Quality Time (spending focused-upon time with someone else such as a 1-on-1 chat with undivided attention in a way that brightens you beyond measure, etc), Gifts (receiving a material gift as a symbol of love that can be looked upon again and again to brighten your days), Words of Affirmation (being told you look cute today, how much someone appreciates your help with xyz project, how much they love you in the form of words, etc that you lovingly recall that give you strength to carry on, etc), and Service (having a favor done or an errand run for you as an expression of their unfailing love for you and brighten your day).

Chances are one or a combo of these will strike very soundly with you. Getting a friend to deliberately "speak" to you in this language will make worlds of difference, and figuring out your friend's language will demonstrate to you just how powerful this simple thing is. Check out the book,

The particular fantasy (vampirism) that I had inadvertently interlaced with sex, so much to the point that I could scarcely think of sex without instantly jumping to vampirism and was fear might show up if I were to find myself engaged in such a situation -- was instead related directly to my love language. The vampire bite, to put in simple terms, was a facade that appealed to a sense of being able to be in close intimate contact with someone. The vampire imagery was of the kind that took it from the ladies as he needed, to survive. In truth I "needed" the vampire setting to survive because it appealed directly to being in close proximity with someone in a hugging-style situation, and once I have been able to get hugs regularly outside of this connotation, the vampire mindset completely disappeared.

So previously being a horndog and feeling like I needed a source to vent my perception of an overactive libido, I found out what exactly the problem feeling was and have been able to vent in that direction -- through my love language -- and can now go for close to a week with no overt need for the rumpy pumpy, whereas formerly I was under the impression that 2-3 times per day was insufficient.
posted by vanoakenfold at 8:56 AM on February 20, 2008 [5 favorites]

vanoakenfold - a lovely contribution. Yes, I think that you may have hit the nail on the head. Although, I think it's perfectly normal to have a very healthy sex drive, you are right that if it overtakes an individual and poses a problem in daily activities (as he has stated that it has), there is something missing and lacking in which he needs to look further into himself. I entirely forgot about "The Five Love Languages". Not hokey either. Sounds hokey, but StrikeTheViol, give it a chance! If it doesn't help solve your current predicament, it will provide a fantastic insight elsewhere.
posted by NotInTheBox at 9:34 AM on February 20, 2008

Another woman who has had that issue. The worst part was that when I was 22, I was in a long distance relationship, so while I did get sex once a month or so, that was all I was gonna get. I'd have trouble driving because I was considering that gear shift, man.

So yeah, just masturbate. A lot. Especially before social/women-meeting encounters. I had a friend with MS and he got a Fleshlight since he had trouble um, using his hands. Not that I know if that's part of the issue, but if women can have toys for variety, why not?
posted by herbaliser at 1:26 PM on February 20, 2008

All you gals recommending masturbation? For guys it's slightly different due to the obvious biological "product"of male masturbation, the way we masturbate, and the social stigma. Men masturbating is seen, unfairly and duplicitously, as some what pervy.

IOW: he's not going to be able to pop off to the Bathroom at work, etc. And ettiqette wise he shouldn't.

He gets busted jerking it anywhere but home it could have serious consequences. Most of spend a significant amount of time away from our safe private places. If I recall what I felt when I was going through something similar my hormonal surges almost always occurred outside of home. At the time it was torture.

And frankly like vanoakenfold said I think this issue is deeper than just hormone surges.

I have no other advice for you, bud. My instinct simply tells me you will have to ride this thing out. Good luck.
posted by tkchrist at 2:02 PM on February 20, 2008

Response by poster: Wow, vanoakenfold, that's a frightening-sounding AskMe, but I'm glad you found that book so helpful...I'll have to check it out because I too have strong desires for physical contact... but naturally this sets the stage for more AskMes... (I'd rather spoon once than get another three thousand pats on the head.)
posted by StrikeTheViol at 10:37 PM on February 20, 2008

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