How can I increase my partner’s libido?

Dear Sex Educator,

How on earth do I raise the libido of my partner? I would like to make love three times a week, but we do it once a month. We have been together for three years, and we love each other very much. The frequency was a bit more in the beginning, but it has been like this for two years now. Something has got to give. I can only “sit tight” for so long … (no pun intended). We have talked about it, and her response is that she has always had a low sex drive.

Unfortunately, this is one of those things you can’t do anything about. It is the most common complaint between long-term couples, and there is nothing that can change the sex drive of someone who has always had a low sex drive. Sex therapists report that those people with typically “low” libidos are the least likely to change their libido, even when they want to do so. Each of us has a different baseline, and that’s not an easy thing to change.

The reason your partner’s drive was higher at first is that we all experience hormonal changes at the beginning of a relationship that are designed to make us more sexual, thus increasing our bonding with our new partner. Over time (usually about 6-12 months) these hormonal surges subside, and we return to our baseline libido.

This has nothing to do with how your partner feels about you; it is just what is true for her. If she wanted to work on increasing her libido, she would have to do so in a very focused way. But there is nothing you can do to increase her libido.

You may want to talk about ways that she can support your sexuality so that you are not quite so frustrated. Encouraging you to masturbate creatively and often, and maybe holding you or reading an erotic story to you at the same time, are things she could do that would be supportive but not require her to participate further. She may find that it sparks her interest sometimes as well, which works out for both of you. You may also talk about ways that you can find another sex partner or playmate but still remain in your relationship, if that is something the two of you can do.

I know this is not the answer you were hoping for, but I hope it helps. You are not alone – I have this conversation 3-5 times a week with both women and men in our shop. Take care.

The Sex Educator