Loss of libido and long-term relationships

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Dear Sex Counselor,

I have been with the same man for eight years, with an affair or two in between (not hidden; he is also comfortable w/my bi-ness). However, I just am not sexually excited by him or attracted to him at all. In fact, he kind of grosses me out. The rest of our partnership is okay - supportive and loving. What to do? Any ideas? We’ve talked about it, but it’s just not the same as good ol’ hot sex.


It is very common for long-time partners to become less attracted to each other over time, though your situation is a bit more extreme than most. I want to suggest that you answer some questions for yourself as a part of the process of sorting through this situation. Have your sexual feelings toward your partner changed over time, or have you always had less of an attraction to him than you would like? Is there something specific about him that makes you uncomfortable? If so, are you able to talk with him about it? If not, are there any outstanding relationship issues that you feel are getting in the way of your feeling intimate toward him? Those un-talked-about issues often get expressed via a lessening of sexual attraction and interest.

What you are experiencing is not actually a loss of libido if you are still sexually interested in other people or interested in being self-sexual. I want to encourage you to explore what you want out of your primary relationship, and discuss with him what he wants. Is he satisfied with your lack of sexual intimacy? Some people develop primary relationships with a partner with whom they have a lot in common as friends, and then have secondary sexual relationships with others with whom they share primarily sexual passion. While this is a difficult path for most people, it is possible to do this successfully. If you are interested, you might want to read a book to learn more about how to make multiple relationships work.

This may also be a good time to seek some short-term counseling with a certified sex therapist, especially if you feel that you want to try to develop more passion in your current relationship. Look for a therapist who is certified by AASECT (the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists). This means that the person is likely to have expertise in working with sexuality issues.

I wish you luck in your quest to resolve this. You do deserve to have a fulfilling sexual life, and I encourage you to work to have as sexual a life as you want.