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Very Mismatched libidos

Community Member
Hey everyone im 30, have been with my wife for nearly 7 years (6 months married so far) we're on the cusp of trying for kids I have been struggling with this for a long time but for the last year I have been experiencing depression symptoms. im going to try/fail to be consise ha.

We have a very loving non sexual and sexual relationship, she is my whole world but our libido's are completely opposite and i am not handling it well and to cut a long story short the reason im on here is because no matter how much i research, how many relationship podcasts i listen to i have this overwelming sense of dread that our relationship will faulter. I read fully through the "my wife isnt interested in sex" thread not long ago and cryed for days, the other day i listened to the shameless sex podcast "reviving the sexless relationship" and my wife has been asking me if im ok for days (im not, the sexologist on the pod reckons im doomed, shes one of many), she really loves and cares for me and i am a very lucky man. Im so overwelmed with guilt for feeling this way but the resources i am encountering are basically summing it up as im going feel this way forever or ending relationship.

ending it would not help, it would ruin both of our lives, she would never try again and her mental health would suffer irreparable damage and Im definatly not as much of a catch as she thinks i am. I dont know that i could ever forgive myself for doing that to her or ever be as happy nonsexually ever again.
For the record we do have great relations, and I love every second of it, but its all me, im the one who puts in the effort, she VERY rarely initiates.

this will all get allot worse when we start a family and get older understandably, shes already to tired or has headache, i dont even try to initiate anymore it hurts me to much to be rejected but then im hurt anyway from knowing the outcome if i did try.
im terrified for the future, im lost and i dont know what to do. im hurting her, none of this is fair on her, she doesnt deserve this its not her fault.

24 Replies 24

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi, welcome

I've had 4 long term relationships, 7,11,10 and now 10 years with my wife. One past relationship was similar to yours, I had what I'd call normal drive but she was only interested in sexual connections when wanting to be pregnant. I can honestly say I tried everything to get her to show a spark of interest- to no avail, nothing worked.

I know from the other 3 ladies and many short term girlfriends in my young adulthood that that partner had really low drive and that was simply "her".

Now, I've read your post fully and can see that in every other way you are both happy. You simply cannot extract from her what is not in her make up. I'm sorry to break this to you but it takes people with no emotional ties to point out what is fact.

So as I see it you have few options. It is a case of either tolerate or leave.

When you mention that her mental health would suffer can I suggest that people, initially that are separated, find resilience when needed, they go through a grief process and eventually find mental peace. I understand your love you both have for each other but what is also important is your satisfaction and needs and you have a right to that.

The whole situation is sad. It only takes one area of incompatibility and the relationship is under threat. In an ideal world compatibility should be sorted out within a short time starting any relationship including sexual, but you are human and you make decisions base don everything else. Try not to be so hard on yourself and accept that these thing happen in life.

The following thread might help



Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi John

I've found different viewpoints in regard to intimacy to be interesting and at times highly questionable. When 'experts' defines something as hopeless, you gotta seriously question that. Being one of those mind/body/spirit gals, I often look at things from 3 perspectives. Each can offer a piece of the puzzle you could say.

Mentally, internal dialogue can get seriously depressing. When I say 'seriously depressing', you know the dialogue's serious when it leads you into a depression.

Physically, internal dialogue can shift chemistry. When our chemistry's off, we can feel the consequences in a lot of different ways. When there's an imbalance of chemistry/the chemistry's not interacting the way it should be, this can influence internal dialogue further. In other words, depressing chemistry will influence our thoughts and the way we think and 'round and 'round it goes. Can get seriously brutal. Thoughts can become physically exhausting and chemistry can prove physically exhausting. Before you know it, you're overall energy's 'off' in a number of ways.

While libido can be dependent on both thought based factors (psychological) and physical factors (biological or chemical), the 3rd part of the triad that makes us who we are is 'the natural side'. I prefer not to use the word 'spiritual' as it tends to scare or repulse people a little 🙂 Basically, whether your a physicist or a spiritualist, it's about energy. In the way of intimacy and from my own experience as a 51yo female, what some of it comes down to is 'What kind of energy do we wish to experience during intimacy?'. A variety of different forms a couple can agree on

  • Fast paced, super intense, where it's all packed into 5 minutes
  • Purely spontaneous, where it's expressed in the moment and not suppressed. Sometimes the plan of 'Okay, we'll wait 'til 9:30, when we go to bed' can be a little depressing. On the other hand...
  • Planning toward later in the day can actually create a gradual build up of energy
  • Slow and relaxing energy leading into sleep
  • Waking energy, a 'power up' for the day ahead
  • For some, it's strategic, like with Tantric. They build the energy to a point and hold it while they take a break, then 5 mins later come back together to proceed from that level they've built the energy to. This can go on for hours

Could getting a feel for what it is that 'charges you both up' be part of this challenge? Could you imagine having some fun with it? Can you allow your imagination run wild?

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hi JJohn117,

I am so sorry to hear that you have been going through this and feeling this way.

I once read that learning about our love languages is very important. Some 'fill their cup' of intimacy through physical non-sexual touch or just being around their partner, others through giving and receiving gives, some are very verbal with their love and this is how they give and receive intimacy. Of course there are those who feel connected to their partner the most through sexual intimacy. I have heard that it can be helpful to have discussions about this as otherwise I can completely understand that it can feel rejecting when you initiate and get refused.

Please know that you are not alone! We are definitely here for you!

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello JJohn, I'm sure you aren't the only one suffering from this once you're married, and what can make it worse is that before you're married, it may happen just naturally and no questions asked, so expectation is that it will continue once you get married, unfortunately, it doesn't, and there never seems to be a good time to do it, no matter how much you plan it, no blame, but the situation may suddenly change or your circumstances may be different and even an explanation won't suffice.

You wonder why a couple can stay married for 50 odd years as this must happen to them, but it's a matter of adjusting and how to compensate in your own position.

Life changes for all of us once we're married, have children, borrow money and do the hard yards, but if you love someone, then that's all a marriage needs, although there could be how our spouse/partner does something that we don't like, it's also vice-versa, but you learn to overcome these problems.

Best wishes.


Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi John

I'm wondering if you've asked your wife how she views intimacy, what it means to her. For example, does it mean the same thing to her now as it did when you first started seeing each other or have her views changed over time. For some women, it starts off all exciting, as you're excited in getting to know each other and the whole relationship's simply electric and super energetic and then it becomes simply that thing that you do together. It's still loving but it's kinda lost a bit of its charge. Changing that kind of viewpoint into something entirely different can, for sure, be a big challenge. I hope you don't give up hope. Sometimes the 'experts' can simply be those who haven't come across the best solution, one we can relate to. They speak about what they know (based on their experience), not about the solutions or answers they're yet to discover.

I think it's not just stressful to some degree, considering bringing kids into this world, it can also be somewhat stressful when it comes to how the dynamics of our relationship will change over time. From my experience as a mum and a wife, I believe while parents grow individually through the great challenges and the great joys of raising their kids, they also grow together as a couple. It's kind of like your kids raise you through challenges that you brainstorm your way through together. I believe the growing apart happens when one of the parents doesn't evolve all that much throughout the raising process. I have to say, 2 of the greatest people I've ever had the privilege of meeting in my life are my 19yo daughter and 16yo son. If I had never met them, never brought them into this world, I believe I may have remained in depression for far more years than what I did. Our kids can turn out to be the people we're destined to meet, for a wide variety of reasons.

Takes a lot of energy to raise kids. Also takes a bit of energy to feel the charge we once did in the beginning our relationship (regarding intimacy). Do you know why your wife's lacking energy these days? Maybe there's an underlying issue as to why she's not waking up in the morning feeling restored. No need to answer but just throwing a few ideas out there: Might she benefit from blood tests? Could she be feeling mentally exhausted, leading to physical exhaustion? Maybe some sleep related issues. Diet and hydration can be significant factors sometimes. A serious lack of energy can become depressing. Personally, this is one of my triggers.

Community Champion
Community Champion

hi john,

as a woman with low libido due to health issues, the pill and much more. i can sympathise with your wife. believe me, she probably wants to do it and she is definitiely attracted to you in that way but it is hard to get in the mood when you feel that way. my partner is very understanding and we do other *things*, if you like, instead of the full experience. i have seen a doctor about my libido and have received a lower dose pill which has helped me a bit.

i would suggest talking to your wife about this - she might even be willing to speak to a doctor or a sex counsellor about it (or maybe even sex/couples counselling could help). i would honestly exhaust all options before even considering divorce, especially if you have a great nonsexual relationship (which is the main thing anyway) - of course, sex is an important part of a relationship, but it is not everything. remind yourself you have a great relationship otherwise. communicate with your wife how you feel. suggest ways to solve the issue in a positive way, work together, and you will get there. relationships have highs and lows and commitment is about sticking with that person through it all. keep sticking.

jaz xx

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi JJohn117

I agree with what's been said in the previous posts, and what jaz28 says is a great insight into the situation.

I just want to add that even though you both want a family, it might be just a good idea to drop the expectations of what you want to achieve. Try just live in the moment, looking for the next adventure together, this happiness is worth the effort for one, but also may help pick up both libido's as well, letting the act become a natural progression. Find something that can excite you both, doesn't have to be sexual, might be say going out to visit a new place, explore, play a sport together, etc.

Hope this helps

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hi JJohn117,

Sorry to hear you are harboring so much pain about this issue - it must be really difficult with so much on your mind as you approach the next big stage of your life...

I wondered how openly you feel able to communicate with your partner about this? I know it can be a tough conversation to have or easily avoided if it hasn't ended well in the past... but keeping those lines open is so important.

Maybe you could approach her with some gentle curiosity about what kind of intimacy she is comfortable with? For example, she may not have intercourse at the top of the list, but maybe she would be open to things like massage or more kissing? Building on these slowly may be a way to find a level of closeness that you are both comfortable with. From a sexual point of view, she may even be interested in helping you do self-pleasure? Just an idea..

Another option you may want to consider is having a session or two with a couples therapist. Just to have a neutral space where someone can guide these conversations and encourage you.

Hope this helps.

Community Member
hey terry , thanks for that i am starting to think that you may be correct, that im the one that needs to change. my boss is 10 years ahead on the path and this is basically what he did and he is urging me to find another hobby, get my fulfilment elsewhere etc. im a logical person and cannot deny a good argument and this does seem like the path.
the problem i have is I dont know how to do it, believe me ive tried, my life would be allot better if i didnt constantly find her attractive but see thats the issue, its constant and i dont know how to switch it off and not be depressed about the fact that shes not interested.
i think there is something wrong with me.