Coping with Partner's Low Sex Drive

Q: I am a 22 year old woman in a year-old relationship with a 26 year old man. To give context, I have yet to date a partner who has been able to match my sex drive. My partner admitted very early into our relationship that he had trouble keeping up with me and it was an embarrassment for him. He also had trouble getting and staying hard during sex, a problem he had had throughout his sexual life, but that he was mocked for in past relationships. It took months of talking to help him understand that his sex drive and trouble keeping hard were fairly normal, and that I was comfortable not having sex as often as we originally had. For me, the trouble comes from a combination of the amount of sex that we have now (once every two weeks to a month) coupled with his frequent masturbation habits. My partner masturbates at least once or twice a day every day. It is so hard for me to separate this habit from his desire to initiate and have sex, and it makes me feel insecure and undesirable. For further context, my partner was single for 5 years before we began dating, during which he did not have sex, so his masturbation ritual is fairly ingrained in his schedule.

I would love tips on how to feel sexy and secure with my partner, or how to ask for more frequent sex in a way that doesn't make him feel as though he has to perform sex for me when he doesn't want it. Is this something we could work on as a couple, or do I have to resign myself to having sex a dozen times a year?


A: There are so many parts to this post so let’s jump right in.

My initial thought is WTF. Your partner is getting a nut at least 365 days out the year and you’re only getting sex like 24 times a year. Not cool! I totally understand the struggle to find someone who matches your sex drive, #beentheredonethat. However, you are still young so I am optimistic that you can and will meet someone who will meet your sexual needs. Sorry to say, it may not be your current partner. Before I tell you to run for the hills, I will share a couple tips on how to work with your current boyfriend to get what you want.

1) You mentioned that your partner has had trouble getting and staying hard during sex. Shout out to you for being patient and understanding! You’re right, it’s pretty common and could be due to physical, behavioral, or psychological issues. Physical causes include diabetes, blood pressure issues, high cholesterol, or using meds like antidepressants. It could also be behavioral or lifestyle causes like smoking, too much drinking, little to no physical activity, or lack of sleep. Finally, psychological causes like stress, depression, anxiety, or past sexual trauma could be preventing him from staying up. Visiting a health care provider would be a good place to start.

2) On to the main issue. There is absolutely nothing wrong with masturbating on a regular basis. However, this sounds like a case of chronic masturbation. Your partner is using masturbation as a primary source of sexual pleasure and is probably not able to get aroused by intercourse because of it. It’s not that your aren't sexy and attractive, it’s really that he’s programmed himself to get an orgasm in a specific way. If your partner is open to it, it might be helpful if he gave up masturbation for a while- like start slow with 3 days to a week. It will be hard but if he wants this to work, he will have to put in the work. Be sure to get rid of triggers that tempt him to masturbate or try to recreate them together: Talk to him about what turns him on. Does he look at specific porn when he masturbates? Is there a specific porn star or action that he fantasizes about when he gets off? If so, see if you two can recreate those things through oral or sex instead of him masturbating alone. If he is really struggling to give up masturbation for just a couple days, ask if he’s willing to seek professional help. It could be a deeper issue at the root of the problem.

3) Finally, you are amazing and sexy! Don't let the frequency of sex with this partner distract you from that. If your partner is meeting all of your other needs outside of the bedroom, be patient and stay the course. Above all else figure out what you need to be happy. If you need sex at least twice a week, TELL him that and ask him to try harder to give you that. ("Babe i would like to have sex at least twice a week. What can we do to get there?")  However, if you find yourself thinking about sleeping with other men on a regular basis or have a strong sense of FOMO, you may want to get out of the relationship now and find someone who can give you want you need.

Good luck to you!


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