Is His Low Sex Drive A Dealbreaker?

Is His Low Sex Drive A Dealbreaker?

My boyfriend and I have been dating for 3 years now. He is sweet, patient, loving, and all the things you can ask for in a BF/Husband. One issue is that my sex drive is higher than his. I’d say I’m at an 8-9 and he would be at a 4. On an average, we probably have sex 5-9 times a month. We’ve fought about it plenty of times starting during our first year together. At this point, I never ask for it or try to start it because I know it may not go anywhere and I don’t want to argue or be reminded of how sexually neglected I feel. It’s THAT BAD. Now I feel that we have just become best friends who live together and once in awhile sleep together. When we do have sex, sometimes I feel my mind thinking elsewhere. I believe I have programmed my brain to not want to have sex just so that I don’t feel lonely and rejected when he says he’s not in the mood. I think I lost that spark and special connection with my boyfriend who I love VERY, VERY much. Sometimes I ask myself if I’m happy almost every day because of it. What do I do? Is sex something worth breaking up over??? —Sexually Deprived Female

While I’ve tackled another version of this question before, I think it’s a subject worth revisiting since there are three times more people reading this blog now than a few years ago…

And although I’ll weigh in with my normal blend of facts, reason and personal anecdotes, I’d really like to hear from you in the comments below.

Is sex something worth breaking up over?

You’re not wrong or shallow to ask the question. After all, if you’re only going to have sex with one person for the rest of your life, you’d better be content.

Which is why I would never advocate that anyone marry a man where there’s ZERO attraction “just because he’s nice”. A guy’s gotta be able to turn you on and be a good, game and giving lover — otherwise, you will be perpetually dissatisfied.

The question YOU’RE posing, SDF, is a slight twist on that.

It’s a lot easier to find a guy with a high libido than it is to find a guy who is marriage material.

See, you have the perfect boyfriend. He’s sweet, patient, loving and he’s continually demonstrated his worth over the course of three years.

His only flaw is that he’s got an average sex drive while you have a high sex drive.

It seems to me that the only person who can really answer the question as to whether you should break up with this man is YOU.

People impose arbitrary dealbreakers all the time. We can quibble about which ones are reasonable and which ones aren’t, but ultimately, it’s subjective. And my subjective judgment probably doesn’t mean all that much to you if you feel sexually deprived if you’re not having sex 5 times a week.

Listen, you’re not alone. In the past month, I’ve had two clients tell me, point-blank, that nightly sex was important to them and has been a dealbreaker for them before. That’s their right. It’s also my right to point out that it’s a lot easier to find a guy with a high libido than it is to find a guy who is marriage material. If you have to choose one to marry, I’d choose the guy who is marriage material. But that’s just me.

Alas, the invariable blowback from the gallery is “Why should I have to choose? Why can’t I get BOTH? Why do I have to compromise on something so important to me?”

And that’s where sex is really no different than any other dealbreaker: height, weight, age, education, income, sense of humor, geography, kids, blahblahbah. People who are looking to get married must realize that you don’t get EVERY SINGLE quality you’re looking for in a partner, but if you get most of them, you’re a very lucky person. My wife and I have similar libidos — closer to your boyfriend, for what it’s worth — so this is one thing that we didn’t have to compromise on. But we did compromise on religion, politics, geography, education, and a host of other things. This is what adults do — assess realistic expectations and either adjust or stay true to your list of demands.

This is what adults do — assess realistic expectations and either adjust or stay true to your list of demands.

If you are insistent upon your partner having any quality that may be somewhat extreme — a man with a PhD (3%), a man who is a millionaire (4%), a man who runs marathons (.1%), etc — you are CHOOSING to limit your dating pool. There’s no judgment on you; but it will, by definition, take you a lot longer to find love.

One final point that you seem to have missed is this: you feeling lonely and rejected when he doesn’t want to have sex is YOUR decision. He’s still your boyfriend. He’s still attracted to you. He still sleeps with you. He just has a different biological makeup. It’s like being a chef who gets angry that his patrons don’t want to eat at 1pm after he just fed them a big lunch at 12pm. You can’t take this personally.

So once that’s off your head — and you stop judging him and judging yourself because you’re different, ask yourself: can I find happiness with this man or is sex important enough that I will continue searching for the man who a) can give it to me every night and b) also has all of the wonderful qualities of your current boyfriend.

You’re not wrong whichever way you choose, but it’s clear that the path of accepting your normal boyfriend is a surer route to a healthy relationship than blowing things up for a random guy with an equally high sex drive and keeping your fingers crossed that you’ll also love him VERY, VERY much.

Unless YOU don’t think so, in which case, I wish you the best of luck.

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  1. 161

    Hahah,, the same women that are telling the others to leave their “good guy” because lack of sex are the same women that always say “Where are all the good guys at”. Notice most are single. Like someone else said,, As a woman with this attitude,, you’ll find plenty of sex,, but true love will be unattainable. Is true love all about sex? Maybe some of you already let that ‘One’ go

  2. 162

    Your kidding right? I WISH my bf & I had sex 5-9 times a month! Instead I’m lucky if we have sex ONCE a month! He’s wonderful in every way but that. You should be thankful.

  3. 163

    Perhaps my story will give you some insight in how a so called “sexless” relationship can affect you? I was in a relationship for six years, while in my early thirties still fit and relatively attractive. He never initiated sex even from the beginning and it was never really good when he finally put out but he was kind and caring in other ways so I had faith we could work on it. We moved in together and blissfully shared the bills and the chores. After only one year together we were down to about three pity f***s per year. By the third year it was down to twice a year and nothing at all the last year. I took care of the way I looked and made sure to flatter him, I tried  communication, tried keeping my distance, saying nothing, being nasty and being nice, all while that dark cloud of resentment grew larger inside the pit of my stomach and until I didn’t even want him anymore. The feeling of rejection absolutely broke my heart and shattered my confidence. He might have been a good man but certainly not good for me. My only regret was not taking my needs and wants seriously enough to end it sooner. I will never get back those years.

  4. 164

    I wonder how many women who are commenting on here are porn widows ? In the last ten to fifteen years there has been a massive increase in women not having enough sex and the partners not seeming interested and an increasing number of men under the age of 30 suffering from ED.   They prefer porn and masturbation and can’t perform with a real woman.   Many must watch porn to orgasm.   Doctors are surmising this is directly related to the availability of internet porn.   No woman can compete with the variety that internet porn provides and so the men come to prefer that.   Plus it is no work.   I never heard of such a thing until I dated a guy that had this issue and it was bad.   I am not saying that porn is bad in every relationship but if your partner is not satisfied and is wanting sex and you are instead masturbating to porn that’s not okay.   I just wonder how many of these men with “low drives” turning down their partners for sex are taking care of themselves to porn and have nothing left to give. I know it sounds crazy but check out no fap the site thousands of guys with this issue.

  5. 165

    Firstly, this page is so great. Finallyyy!!! People with genuine real life responses that I can relate to.

    I’m female, 27. Ive been with my boyfriend for a around 18 months and we probably make love 2-3 times a month.

    I find it astounding that I have this problem with my partner as we dated briefly years ago when we were much younger and he was a very sexual person, and still is, (but only 2-3 times a month). This is why I’m extremely confused and frustrated; the quality of our sex is phenomenal, I orgasm more with him than I did with any previous partners, but it’s not always about the big O for me. I want to feel desired more often than twice a month.   I have expressed to him that I would be more than happy to have a ‘quickie’ occasionally and I don’t ALWAYS have to climax. I say this in the hope that he’ll be more willing and open to show me just how in ‘lust’ with me he is and will take me at every opportunity. He says all the right things, but I often feel like his mate, someone he lives with that’s quite handy to have around. I’ve expressed my desire to have more sex and he always responds saying that he would too but nothing ever changes. I do try.

    What makes my situation worse is that he doesn’t like kissing very much, and would rather not. I LOVE kissing and probably yearn for that more than frequent sex. I’m concerned that the lack of intamacy will cause us to grow apart.

  6. 166

    My wife has a much higher sex drive than me. We also have great sex when we do it (2-4x a month). We fought about it for years and took a unique approach. She takes other lovers. She likes very hung dominant men (I’m average and dominant) who will leave her very satisfied. She is completely open with what she does and if I’m uncomfortable she won’t do it. We’ve been married 12 years and doing this for the last 10 and things have never been better!.

    Not for everyone, I know. But it works for us.

  7. 167
    Krystal Ferina

    I have been living w/o sex for 2 years now. I have has sex on July 6, 2016 and Nov 5th, 2016, and have been fighting for it ever since Oct 2015. I have asked, begged, offered and tried to talk to him. All I got was lame excuses, ones I could blow holes thru, then we moved away from those excuses, and I got new excuses. In around Oct 2016 I got “I don’t know why I don’t want to f&*k you”. I have asked every question, told him how I feel, cried, begged and screamed at him. All I get now is “I don’t know, and yea ok hun” which is frustrating, he says he’s not gay, he like women, and finds me sexually attractive. He has not touch my girl parts at any other time, and I feel like I am in the roommate zone. Its like he could care less about my feelings, our relationship and anything else going on, and treats our relationship like a joke. I can say that he is a nice guy, but it feels like I am being punished for wanting him, and the more I ask, the less he wants to have sex. Of course, Nov 5th 2017 will make a full year of being Involuntarily Celibate, and I am about to be 39 yrs old, and I don’t want to be celibate in a relationship with a heterosexual for no reason whatsoever. I have asked him to see a dr, I have asked him to see a therapist, and I have told him that I don’t see a future w/us if he didn’t want sex at all w/ME. He refuses to go, to get any help, and I really think its just me, and he’s gladly have sex with anyone else than me. The original comment: I wish I could get it as often as her, hell I wish I could get it once a month!

    1. 167.1
      Yet Another Guy

      It sounds like your man may be suffering from a decline in testosterone.   Most men notice a decline in libido around age 40 and an even more significant decline around age 50.   The decline is due to a drop in total testosterone coupled with a rise in sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG).     SHBG binds to testosterone making it non-bioavailable, resulting in a drop in free testosterone.   A guy will notice a drop in his free testosterone. He will experience weight gain coupled with a loss of energy as well as an increase in moodiness.     It is basically the male version of perimenopause and menopause.   It is called andropause. Men can also experience hot flashes while going through andropause.


  8. 168

    My boyfriend and I are in our twenties (27) and I know exactly how you feel. My sex drive is very high and it’s hard to not feel like you aren’t attractive enough or shallow for wanting sex. I don’t want to leave him, but it’s growing increasingly harder to essentially just get rejected all the time.

  9. 169

    I’m 22 and my boyfriend is 27. We’ve been together a year and a half. We’ve moved in together. We have 3 pets (2 were gifts, so not by choice). He spoils me like crazy, buys me anything I’ve ever said I wanted, fills my gas tank, kisses me good morning, kisses me good night. But when it comes to sex, it’s gone. When we first started dating we had sex every weekend when we saw each other. When we moved in together I realized he’s only been sleeping with me when we’ve been drinking. If he’s sober he has zero sex drive, zero desire, literally tells me to go away if I even try kissing him. I got mad at him one night because I’ve quit drinking and explained it’s not right for me to sleep with him when I’m sober and he’s drunk. He decided to quit drinking. Well the sex completely disappeared and it’s been seven months with nothing. He accidentally got drunk at a friend’s party about two weeks ago. He decided he wanted sex then and I was so pissed. I’m not going to get my boyfriend drunk to sleep with him. We work out, we’re in the best shapes of our lives. We’re in the career fields that make us happy. I feel neglected, I feel unattractive, I’ve even hopped onto Tinder just to take a look. His mother keeps saying she’s so excited for us to have her grandkids one day, I’m so close to saying that we’ve got to have sex for that to happen. He’s started joking with his friends that we don’t have sex and there’s an unopened box of condoms (that I bought) sitting on his night stand to prove it. I don’t think it will get any better and I’m almost ready to leave but it feels so shallow. I get upset because we aren’t having sex and his solution is to buy me something. That’s not what I want and I feel like my sex drive and confidence has taken a nose dive with it.

  10. 170

    I’m at the same boat. Frustrated and doubted and not happy in the physical part… I choose not to   live in   a dead   relationship without love i.e. passionate physical intimacy. ..happiness is more important than the superficial comfort. Deep down we know that.   But, i do feel he deserves to know the issue prior to the break off. Cheating is not the way to go. It makes you are the *bad’ one ; in reality may be him or both parts ..I’m seriously preparing how to deliver the message, i.e.not making him feel bad or wrongful   but convey the importance of the issue and I’m not wrong either. Probably keep as friends and start dating others …it may end up   be a win-win situation in the long term for both sides.

  11. 171
    Lost between desires

    My sex drive is way higher than my boyfriend’s and I feel so lonely. I feel depressed, sad and hopeless. The topic has come up on many occasions but nothing has really changed between us besides the fact I feel more lonely and rejected. I’ve tried putting my energy elsewhere, by exercising, making music, masturbation, painting, and cleaning. Let me tell you, our house is spotless because of how much I clean it.

    He makes me happy in every other way. He’s everything that I wanted and still want in a partner. I still love him, very much. But it’s hard to cope with this feeling of rejection and loneliness.

    I tried talking to him about low testosterone and how it could cause a low sex drive and possibly lead to infertility. And he said… The only reason he would look into it is because of the possibility he might be infertile. I (having a high sex drive) pretty much died inside knowing he didn’t care much about his libido and all the while him knowing how high mine was.

    I love him so so much. I’ve tried putting my energy elsewhere to help me with my sex drive, but it hasn’t worked well for me. I tried talking to him about it, and it doesn’t seem like he cares.

    He cares for my happiness. I know he does. But I don’t think he understands how important sex is to me even though I’ve repeatedly brought it up.

    I found all of these comments from the blog and it’s helped me understand things a lot more. I was literally laying on my side, crying and all the while he’s snoring right next to me, not even hearing my cries. I cried because I didn’t what to do after he rejected me again, so I looked it up and found this. I’m still crying because I’m just not sure what to do.


    1. 171.1

      I am so sorry you are dealing with this. Does your boyfriend use porn   and masturbate?     This was a huge issue in my relationship, and what was happened was two fold.   First he was expending all his sexual energy onto the porn and masturbation, so it was not that he had a low drive, he just had a low drive for me.      Second, he had developed porn induced dysfunction, so he could no orgasm from anything but porn and his hand, and as a result he began to avoid sex with me becuase he knew he would fail.      More often than not porn and masturbation have something to do with this in younger men.      My partner also had his testosterone checked, he went to doctor after doctor, and knew very well the whole time the answer was to stop the porn and masturbation, but he would have done anything not to have to do that, including taking pills and injecting his penis with things.     The issue I see in your case is that your partner is perfectly fine with the current situation.   The only reason he is going to be tested is to see if he is infertile.   If he’s happy with his low drive, and you are not, you either need to come to some sort of agreement where you all have less sex than you want, and more sex that he does, meet in the middle, or you need to leave.     Sometimes men are embarassed by going to a doctor to address this issue, so that could be part of the problem, but I doubt it.   What I read is he is happy with the way things are.   And while some people do just have a lower sex drive, when they are expending that drive elsewhere, meaning in solo time, I just could not put up with that.   This is not your fault, it has nothing to do with you.     If I were you I would go out and find a man that is more suited for you, and also willing to listen and change if something he is doing is hurting you and the relationship.   He is not.   You are not alone.     There are lots of women out there in this same exact situation.

  12. 172

    Maybe I’m just really emotional 😭 but I always take it personal. I don’t even try to do anything with my bf anymore because I don’t want to be embarrassed when he tells me no. He his a great guy and I didn’t have this problem until a few months ago. It’s like I crave hugs kisses anything to keep us attached because I feel we r just drifting apart. My braking point is coming soon😪

  13. 173

    My issue with this question reply, as it is with many relationship issues, is that it NEVER suggests the idea of professional counseling, or in this case, even professional SEX counseling. We have zero idea what is going on with this man. He could’ve been sexually molested throughout his childhood, which, generally speaking, has the opposite effect on men as it goes women. While girls become promiscuous, men become ashamed on their sexuality and often are uncomfortable sexual situations. Maybe this man had a previous  g/f that wanted to have sex with him every night (a situation that, as a psychologist, I would find problematic), and hat he was expected to perform like male porn star otherwise he wasn’t “man enough” or “wasn’t attracted to her.” God can you imagine the performance anxiety with this man’s next woman. This couple needs counseling.She needs to understand that this issue might be so personal that he might not feel comfortable discussing with it her alone. That he made need private counseling, followed by couples counseling. Or maybe just a direct dive into couples counseling. That might be the thing that opens him up. Also, there was no mention in this article that some men just NATURALLY have lower testosterone than other men, and it doesn’t mean they are any less of a man than any other men. Also, men can have health issues that mess with their sex drive, and they can also be talking meds like antidepressants that can mess with his sex drive. My concern  w/ this relationship is NOT the differences in sex drive. It’s the communication.  Money, sex, none of  it is as important as communication despite whatever pop psych books say.  I have 24 years of experience in the field.  I hope this woman has not made the man feel as though he less of man just because he doesn’t want to do it with her every 10 seconds. That will kill most men’s sex drive because in our society, there is TOO MUCH of  a link between masculinity and sex. There are many ways to be masculine and not be sexual.   This relationship is suffering from communication, not different sex drives. And yes, different communication styles is not enough to break up with a man or woman.

    1. 173.1

      In my case, my ex with the low drive/ED issues had zero interest in counseling.     He went once, and came back to me and reported that he was fine, that I was too demanding, and that my sex drive was too high.     Sure there may be some underlying issue causing the low sex drive, like abuse but 90% of the time, the man is now willing to deal with it, or even if he is it does not fix the problem.     With a low drive/high drive relationship, one person is almost always going to have to compromise and it is usually the high drive person.      As someone who has been there, it’s just not a fun relationship at all.     I guess everybody can pick and choose their priorities, but in the end, most often people in these types of relationships end up unhappy.

      1. 173.1.1
        Yet Another Guy


        What you ex needed was not a counselor, but a urologist to test him for low testosterone and other possible underlying etiologies.   Low sex drive is usually a sign of low testosterone.

        1. Lisa

          He had all of that and then some.   There was no physical explanation for the low sex drive.     Sometimes people just have a low drive.   I think most people would have considered my exes very low, and most people would consider the original posters boyfriend’s normal.   That being said it’s all relative.   If someone is not happy sexually in a relationship they need to revaluate the relationship.

        2. Yet Another Guy


          A total testosterone test is not enough. A lot of doctors do not test for free testosterone, prolactin, and estradiol (E2), which is why a man who is having arousal problems needs to see a urologist who specializes in male sexual health.   Thyroid function needs to be checked as well.   Unless a man is just not that into you, his sex drive is pretty much determined by his free testosterone to free E2 ratio.   High prolactin and E2 can result in erectile difficulties.   A lot of men have high sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG).   SHBG binds to testosterone making it non-bioavailable.   SHBG usually goes up in men as they age while total testosterone drops, resulting in less free testosterone.   A man can have the exact opposite problem in that he can have low SHBG.   Low SHBG can result in high free E2 and a corresponding free testosterone to free E2 ratio problem.   The male body uses free testosterone quickly, but does not eliminate free E2 as quickly.   That is why this kind problem is best left to a medical practitioner who specializes in male sexual health as well as why a woman whose man is experiencing sexual performance-related problems needs to be firm about him getting help (men usually hate to see doctors).   A lot of men who have problems refuse to acknowledge them until it is too late to save a relationship.

        3. Lisa

          Again I appreciate your advice but he had all of those tests done, he was seen by a male urologist that specializes in this.   We tried everything.     He was about 7 years older than I was as well.     Often times it is a psychological issue, or again there are just some men that have very low sex drives.   It sounds like you are saying that’s just not possible that there must be physically something wrong, or the woman’s fault as he’s not into her, but that’s just not true.   Some men have low drives, just like some women have low drives.

        4. Yet Another Guy


          That is exactly what I am saying. A man with a low sex drive is either suffering from some form of hormone imbalance or he is just not that into the woman with whom he shares his life.   The amount of testosterone needed per man is not fixed, which is the reason why the clinical definition for low testosterone is almost as useless as BMI.    Some men need more, some men can get away with less.   Some men need an aromatase inhibitor for estradiol (E2) control, some men can get away without one.   Dr. John Crisler is at the forefront of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT).   He specializes in optimizing a man’s hormone profile.   My sex drive used to be fairly low until I had a hormone workup.   That is how I was able to survive   ten years of zero intimate contact in a loveless/sexless marriage.   There is no way that I could do that today now that I am on TRT.     I am just too driven.

    2. 173.2
      Karl R

      Since you’re a psychologist with 24 years of experience, could you test something for me?
      Could you show the original letter (from Sexually Deprived Female), the original response (from Evan), and your response to one of your psychologist colleagues who have similar amounts of experience to you? I’m curious as to what their response would be.
      I realize that I’m a lay observer with no experience in the field, but when I take an analytical look at your response, it seems like you’re projecting someone else’s issues onto SDF and her boyfriend.
      For example, she describes the boyfriend’s sex drive as slightly below average. Evan described it as similar to his (and his wife’s) libido. You suggested that the man may have been sexually molested as a child, and he ought to have professional sex counseling.

      Maybe it’s just me, but your suggestion seems a bit extreme for a guy whose sex drive is just a little below average.

      In addition, the letter writer admitted that she had a high sex drive and pointed out that hers was farther from average than her boyfriend’s. Based on that, you’ve assumed that she was emasculating her boyfriend, and your assumptions about how frequently she wants sex … I’d say that those assumptions started in the realm of speculation and made a wild dash into the realm of hyperbole. (Every 10 seconds, yada, yada.)
      But as I said, I have no training in this field. I’m curious as to how a different trained psychologist would view your response.

  14. 174
    Brandy Silvis

    See I’m having a somewhat similar problem. My bf and I have been together almost 7 months. Between both of us we have 4 kids. He got into some legal trouble and is possibly looking at jail time. Hes been depressed and was taking prozac for it. But the prozac made him not able to get it up. He said now it feels like he has no sex drive at all. I’m only 27 and hes almost 31. I’m so frustrated. We haven’t had sex in almost 3 weeks. And he didn’t get off because he couldn’t. And before that it had been a month.

    1. 174.1

      ED is very common with anti depressant medications. I know there are some that do not cause it, but they may not work for his depression so it’s a catch 22.        How long has he been on Prozac for?   Have you ever had a strong sex life?   In addition to the Prozac I could totally understand how a guy would not want to have sex when he was facing possible jail time. It’s a common misunderstanding that men always want sex no matter what, their sex drives are more often that not very effected by what is going on around them or in their lifes.      DE or delayed ejaculation (inability to get off) is a hallmark of anti depressant use.   So I guess the question to you is are the anti depressants a life long thing or just something he needs to take now due to his situation?   If it’s a life long thing then I think you either need to accept this is likely to be your sex life or ask him to try other drugs like Wellbutrin which usually does not cause DE. Unfortunately ED drugs do nothing for DE they actually tend to make it worse.   Or is this just a temporary rut due to his situation?   Have you ever had sex with him while he was not taking anti depressants?   Was it fine then?      This is a lot for you to take on.      I cannot imagine being with someone for only six months that is now facing jail time. I think sexual frustration is the least of your worries at this point, and likely his as well. No one would judge you if   you wanted to walk away.   It’s very soon into the relationship and that’s a lot to deal with.

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