8 Ways to Cope when Your Sex Drive Exceeds His

couple with intimacy issuesThere is a prevailing belief in today’s culture that men are sexual carnivores and women aren’t often in the mood. Quite often, though, women have the higher desire in heterosexual relationships.

Men and women alike may feel embarrassed if the male has a lower libido than the female partner. Men may feel emasculated, and women may not feel beautiful or sexy.

It’s important for women to know that there are many reasons a man’s libido may wane. According to a study summarized in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, up to 12% of adult males experience low libido because of androgen deficiency, with age and the added medical conditions that come with it being risk factors.

As Dr. Edward Laumann states in his research, women’s drive is affected substantially by environmental factors (such as relationship, mood, age, self-esteem, body image, work issues, family issues, even weather). Similarly, men’s sex drive can be affected by stress (particularly at work), depression, substance abuse, hormone imbalance, medical issues, and aging, among other factors.

If you find that you are initiating sex a lot with your male partner or are feeling like his libido has dropped, here are some tips to deal with the situation:

  1. Don’t take it personally. As can be the case with women, a man’s libido may be tied to self-esteem, body image, performance at work, finances, and ability to provide for the family. Your man may be feeling down about himself, he may be stressed at the office, or he may be feeling inadequate for some reason. Simple, loving compliments can boost his confidence and self-esteem; tell him, perhaps, how amazing he is, how much you love him, how much you want him, etc.
  2. If you initiate and are successful, give plenty of positive feedback and praise. This may make him more likely to initiate or be interested again.
  3. If you initiate and he turns you down, try to let it go. Accept his decision and maybe give him a kiss goodnight. Don’t argue or get upset or passive aggressive with him. It’s fine to ask if everything’s OK or if he wants to talk, but don’t harp on it. It’s not the right time to have a serious conversation about it.
  4. Try something different. If your relationship is in a rut or things are getting a bit stale or boring, try something new that might excite him. You might ask him if anything in particular would appeal to him.
  5. Touch him affectionately without expecting or asking for sex. Just enjoy the experience and don’t get too caught up in who initiated it. Being goal oriented may lead to him feeling pressured, and you feeling rejected, if sex does not follow. Focus on enjoying the physical intimacy and increasing your pleasure and connection in the moment.
  6. Talk to him and tell him how you feel. Try to engage him in a conversation when you’re alone but not in the moment. He may have no idea that you feel rejected; he may simply be wrapped up in whatever’s going on with him. Talking might tune him in to your feelings and needs.
  7. Ask him how he feels and what might be affecting his interest level. Perhaps he’ll share that he has been stressed by an assignment at work. Perhaps he’s experiencing depression. Showing concern will help you both by providing him with empathy and support while reducing your self-conscious thoughts.
  8. Understand that no two people have the same level of desire. Most couples have a difference in desire levels. Talk to him about your desire patterns and find a way to meet in the middle with regard to sexual intimacy. With communication and understanding, partners can learn what sexual intimacy means to the other person.

If the preceding tips don’t seem to help, consider seeking the help of a sex therapist to help address the root of the issue.

References:

  1. Araujo, A.B, O’Donnell, A.B, Brambilla, D.J., Simpson, W.B, Longcope, C., Matsumoto, A.M., and McKinlay, J.B. (2004). Prevalence and Incidence of Androgen Deficiency in Middle-Aged and Older Men: Estimates from the Massachusetts Male Aging Study. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, Vol 89(12), 5920-5926.
  2. Laumann, Edward. (1994). The Social Organization of Sexuality: Sexual Practices in the United States. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press.

© Copyright 2014 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by Mieke Rivka Sidorsky, LCSW-C, CST, therapist in Silver Spring, Maryland

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • Alena c

    Alena c

    June 19th, 2014 at 1:22 PM

    Although this isn’t something that you hear very often, there are those of us ladies who are way more interested in sex than our guys are. It is hard to talk about that because usually the conversation goes the other way around, guys complaining that theur ladies in their lives don’t have a sex drive anymore. I don’t think that it is that as much as the other person has lost interest in pretty much everything, but it is hard to deal with that when you are always getting turned down and it feels like there are too many excuses to not have sex than there to have sex. It gets pretty frustrating for me too because my guy almost seems ashamed of that lack of drive but then when I encourage him to let’s do something about it, there are always more excuses. I never really thought that this was something that I would confront, because what guy turns down sex? Apparently it happens way more than we ever hear about!

  • Ariel

    Ariel

    June 19th, 2014 at 2:03 PM

    How could you not take this personally? I mean, all we ever hear about is that guys want it more than we do, so what happens when they don’t? What does that make you feel like as a female? It would make me feel pretty undesirable.

  • Alex

    Alex

    June 20th, 2014 at 2:04 AM

    It’s so difficult isn’t it. As a counselor I have spent so much time dealing with relationship problems regarding sex and intimacy. I think the most important point you raise is that it is caused through so many reasons. I also think that depending upon the reason there are varying degrees of motivation to change. Without addressing the reason and motivation (or lack of motivation) to change everything else might be useful advice, but not essential for long term change.

  • Keith

    Keith

    June 20th, 2014 at 4:11 AM

    This is always difficult when one partner wants sex more than the other does, for men and for women. Let’s say it is a case like this where the woman wants it more. Don’t you think that this makes the man feel bad too? Unless he just is not that into you, then there is something else going on that he knows he needs to see someone about but is either scared or embarassed. I think that if you want this to work then you are going to have to slowly encourage him to see someone so that the both of you can be sexually satisfied in a relationship. I know that there are couples who can survive without sex but you can’t tell me that this does not take a toll on their relationship and that ultimately one of them is going to go somewhere else seeking what they perceive to be lacking in their current relationship.

  • Scott

    Scott

    June 20th, 2014 at 6:01 AM

    I’m going try and take a stab at his from a guys point of view. I can only say for myself from my own experience, we are all sexual creatures it’s just figuring out what stimulates our minds. This is a very fine line of course but I know for me personally there are times when I like to start off with soft gentle kisses, I simple caressing touch.

    Foreplay I find is so important, teasing each other and building up to it – but this may not be every man or women for that matter. There are times even for myself when I feel like a wolf and just want to tear off those clothes and go at it like wild animals, lol!!! However I think it’s the little things like scent, does he smell good wither he has been working hard in the yard and is all sweaty from hard work or a nice cologne that arouses you. Let him know how good he smells or how sexy he looks sweating out in the yard.

    I believe it’s the subtle hints we drop, they smell good or something they do or say arouses you, it all plays in our minds. It’s not just a sexy lingerie or outfit that grabs my minds attention after all the brain is the largest sexual organ and that is where it all begins.

    I am a single father and I know there are times when I feel like women don’t find me attractive – they see me and I feel like “well he’s domesticated” and they want a wolf to ravage them. I think many men feel that way too, like they are domesticated and not that wolf anymore – perhaps telling them you love the fact that they do the dishes or yard work ect will make them feel like that wolf again.

    This is just from my point of view as a single father and through my own experiences, my ex treated me like a domesticated boy who did the dishes and then my past fiancé treated me like her wolf and to me that made all the difference.

  • nickolas

    nickolas

    June 20th, 2014 at 12:30 PM

    You hit it right on the head for me. My wife has the higher drive, especially now that shes pregnant. There are certain things she does, small things she either doesnt notice or doesnt want me to think she notices, that will just make me become that wild animal. Something as simple as the way she smiles at me will sometimes do it…

  • Kara P

    Kara P

    August 20th, 2014 at 5:19 PM

    So what do you suggest Nickolas? My husband and I both waited to have sex until we were married. I asked him why he doesn’t touch me very much he said, ” I promise when we are married I will be all over you.” Not true….. And I’m not a nagging wife, I have not let myself go and I always say nice things to him. He is an engineer loves his job. I always want sex more and now that I’m pregnant it’s even worse. In the beg of our marriage I tried lingerie but he did not like it cuz it made him feel like he had to perform. I sent him half naked text and he said, “cool thanks!” That’s it. So I don’t do any of that. If I say I’m horny he feels like its a job for him. I have great reaction and greeeeeat expressions I’m just not sure why he feels that way!? It’s more difficult sometimes for me cuz girl parts are just more complex than a mans. I thought males enjoyed helping us? I don’t get it. Sorry just curious what u have to say

  • Tori

    Tori

    June 21st, 2014 at 5:54 AM

    Sometimes I know that hubby is not in the mood when I am, and that he would never initiate when he is feeling like that, so I have to take it upon myself to get it started.

    That’s okay with me, he always likes that, and luckily I have never once had him turn me down after I have made it a point to initiate the action.

  • Blaise

    Blaise

    June 23rd, 2014 at 4:12 AM

    We need to remember that for all of us our sexual energy and desire is going to ebb and flow.

    When you are in any kind of relationship it makes sense when you think about the fact that we are all going to be at different places sometimes just because of other things that we experience outside of the relationship. It is good to remain mindful of the fact that lack of sex drive may not have anything at all to do with the other partner; it could be caused by all kinds of things going on in a different part of his life. It is always going to be better if we try to get him to talk about it instead of always blaming him for what is going wrong in the bedroom. That in and of itself is a sure fire way to kill any sexual momentum.

  • aimee v

    aimee v

    June 24th, 2014 at 4:19 AM

    the one thing that you can’t do is to ignore it. it can be awkward and uncomfortable to talk about it and try to deal with it, but you have to confront your spouse or boyfriend and talk about not only what this is doing to you but how it is also breaking down the relationship too. sometimes you just have to be blunt and honest for the conversation to truly begin.

  • Stanton

    Stanton

    June 26th, 2014 at 1:50 PM

    Nothing short of a catastrophic event would ever make me lose interest in my wife and I tell her that pretty much every day. Therefore if I stopped coming on to her and acted disinterested, let me tell you she would notice immediately that something was going on and knowing her she would play hardball until she found out what it was. This is about more than losing interest in sex. It is about being passionately and deeply attracted to this person who you are with and having a relationship where they know you up one side and down the other. They will not be content to just let things go along without ever asking what is happening. They won’t stop until the issue is resolved. That’s the way we are, so that if there ever was a problem I don’t see us as being the couple who lets it go one month after month without talking and trying to come up with a solution, or seeking help if we felt like we needed that from the outside.

  • bryan

    bryan

    June 28th, 2014 at 12:33 PM

    Give positive feedback and praise if he reciprocates? What is he, a dog? You know that there has to be something fairly serious going on if a guy is turning down sex. Don’t you think that the bigger solution would be to try to seriously figure out what that is?

  • Kara P

    Kara P

    August 20th, 2014 at 5:04 PM

    Yes exactly Ariel! It hurts!! Especially when other men see me and smile at me. It’s hard to not visualize those other men who smile at me! We both waited until marriage to have sex it was hard but praise Jesus we did it. I wondered why he didn’t touch me more when we were dating. He said, when we are married I promise I will be all over you. Not true… I never criticize or make him feel less of a man. I tell him nice things. We help each other out. It’s been 4 years of marriage and I just realized I stopped initiating and being affectionate. I have become numb to it all. I send him a sexy pic and he says “cool thanks” that’s it every time. He doesn’t like lingerie it makes him feel like he has to perform. He is happy loves his job and enjoys time spent with me but is not a typical male so it’s extra hurtful. It takes longer for woman to get an orgasim then for men so if I say I’m horny he takes it as I have a job to do I’m not sure what to do just very hurt. I asked if he felt unloved or unappreciated by me at all. He says no your wonderful and I love you very much! I promise I’m not a critical person and I have not let myself go either. I’m hurt and I just wish he would want me and initiate sex more. Am I being unrealistic here.

  • Neglected and confused

    Neglected and confused

    April 24th, 2015 at 3:04 PM

    I met my boyfriend 3 years ago through mutual friends, and he pursued me hardcore every time we would run into each other…but due to a recent and horrible break up, I wasnt interested in dating at all. About 4 months ago, we started dating and I wondered what had taken me so long to give this amazing man a chance. He is loving, considerate, smart, affectionate, sexy, and incredibly funny. And I tell him this constantly.

    But, there is always a but…he has no sex drive (unless a significant amount of alcohol is involved). And it is causing a big problem, because I have a very high sex drive and feel like we are missing out on that new relationship passion and a vital component of a loving and committed relationship. I’d like to mention that I am 41(although I look like I am in my mid to late 20’s), and he is 32. I have never had this issue, and have never wanted for male attention. And it has really started to affect our relationship negatively, in addition to my self esteem. I feel like I have to stifle my sexual desire for him, and resort to pleasing myself rather than share an intimate and natural human response to my partner. To me, it is just an extension of affection, love, and trust in a relationship.

    We have had several uncomfortable conversations about it, and I have been very honest, yet have also tried to remain compassionate and caring. He has had no real explanation, other than saying that sex just isnt that important to him, and that it never has been. Yet he retracted that statement a couple weeks later saying that he didnt know why he said that, because it was not true? He says that he thinks about it, and finds me sexy but obviously isnt doing a good job at showing it. He does the self destructive thing a lot.

    At first, of course, I took it personally and tried everything to awaken his desire. The typical things, in addition to not so conventional things…i.e. pherome/sex attractant perfume. He has rejected me on several occasions, and I am now “gun shy” about continuing to be pushed away, so I stopped. I did finally ask him to get his testosterone checked. And although at first he was reluctant and even irritated, he agreed (it’s been a month and he has yet to make an appt). He owns porn, notices other woman, frequented strip clubs (before I came along), and appears to his huge circle of lifelong friends (who he considers his family) as a normal sexually interested man.

    I recently found out (accidentally from a mutual friend) that his father is a registered sex offender, and it involves my boyfriends young neice. He doesnt know that I have this information, and I dont feel like I should bring it up. But the fact that he has not told me, makes me believe that he has trust issues. His mom left his dad when he was a teen, and he has virtually no contact with her, or his older sister (the mother of his neice)…just his dad. I should mention that I have never met any of his blood relatives. He has said that his dad is a very negative person, so I told him that I would not push the issue. But I get the impression that his dad has bad mouthed my boyfriends mother, relationships, and women in general.

    Just this week, I broke down and told him that I was feeing very neglected in that area of our relationship. He apologized, and said that he needed to figure out what his problem is and fix it. Again with the self loathing thing every time the subject is discussed, and Im feeling like this is just a passive aggressive way of dismissing the real problem.

    Really not sure where to go from here… It has been just over a month since we’ve made love (if you can call drunken sex that), and I have decided to let things lie. I know that bringing it up all the time is not helpful, and can only add to his anxiety, even if he never initiates a conversation on the topic, or reassure me that it is important and on his mind (which is something we all need sometimes). But I can tell you for certain that it will eventually come to a head again, and the only things that I can ask is about why hs previous relationships failed, if he thinks that his alcohol consumption could be a culprit, and what his pornography habits are? All very uncomfortable questions, but I think necessary. If it were me, I would do whatever it took to make it better. Not sure if it is his ego that is holding him back from doing that…but bottom line is that he will lose me if he doesnt. I may have to insist on him seeing hs doctor, or therapy (couples or individually).

    I am in love with him and I am willing to try anything…but I cant be the only one.

  • Harish

    Harish

    April 10th, 2017 at 5:19 AM

    I am 49 years old and wife is 42, in last 2 to 3 years i am having erectile problem during the same time her desires have gone up. It was leading her to lot of frustration. Then i came across a old friend of mine aged 45 who was having just the opposite problem as his wife was behaving cold with him in bed. Though it was embarrassing and hurting however i dared and convinced both my friend and my wife to help each other. Now we are having satisfied life.

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