When Your Sex Drive Putters Out

Last week I pulled back the curtain, and I’m compelled to do the same with this post, but it is a lot more personal. However, I can’t shake the importance of this topic, so here goes…

beach

A few months ago Tom and I were at the beach, and I felt it was a good opportunity to talk with him about something that was really bothering me. First, let me say that we have a very strong relationship that covers all aspects of marriage–spiritual, emotional and physical. I’ve never struggled with PMS in our 34 years of marriage, so when I hit post-menopause and all my desire for sex went out the window, I was surprised…

But I didn’t care!

I knew I had changed. Tom knew I had changed. But we hadn’t taken the time to really talk about it.

While sitting on the sand with the waves crashing on the shore I opened my heart to Tom. I wasn’t telling him anything he didn’t already know. Our physical relationship had been a strain for a few months. Tom is patient. He tries to understand me. And he always listens. But this time, it was a bit too much for him to hear. I shared how I really had no desire for sex. I didn’t like this fact, but I didn’t know what to do.

He was extremely quiet. The kind that was reminiscent of our earlier years where we would give each other the cold shoulder.

It was not a good place to be, and we both knew it. I gave him time. He needed to think. This topic hit on a level that strikes so many areas of marriage that it’s a mine field no matter how strong the relationship is. Our conversation pretty much ruined the day.

But it was necessary. How often do we avoid these conversations because of the tension we know it will cause? To ignore it wasn’t an option because the longer we put it off, the deeper the struggle would be.

In the weeks that followed, I went to our doctor and discovered my hormone levels were way off. No wonder I had no drive. Thankfully he was able to help, and I was hopeful things would change. And change they did! 🙂

Tom and I are both grateful and much more sympathetic to those who struggle in this area on a regular basis. We ended up talking again about “that day” and how hard it was for me to share my heart with him. And how much harder it was for me when he pulled away from me. He apologized, and we resolved the issue.

Now that I feel a bit more normal I’ve been tuned in to conversations when I hear other women talking. One in particular struck me with an all too familiar ring. I heard things like…

  • “I can take it or leave it.”
  • “I’m glad it’s not such a driving force in our marriage anymore.”
  • “He doesn’t want it like he used to, and I am so relieved.”
  • “We can finally relax and enjoy a more peaceful marriage.”

I wasn’t sure how to process these comments. Is this the norm for marriage as we get older? Did God intend for sex to wane, so we can relax without all that effort?

After what we’ve been through–I hope not. Sex is God’s gift to a husband and wife. It’s a way of connecting heart to heart that doesn’t happen between anyone else but the two of us. It is intimate. It is communicating our love on a deeper level than any other way can possibly do.

Sex is celebrating the one flesh nature unique to marriage alone, and it glorifies God.

Sure, there may be a day when we can no longer make love. There may be sickness or separation that makes it impossible. There may be any number of other reasons that it will wane. But as long as we are able, I pray that God will continue to make us both willing partners.

What about you? Have you experienced low libido? If so, have you talked together about it? We encourage you to take that leap and begin the conversation. Let nothing cause a wedge in your relationship–and silence can be the biggest wedge of all! We know this first hand, and it’s the loneliest place to be in marriage. Don’t allow this to fester in your relationship. Do the hard work. Talk!

“Come grow old with me, the best is yet to be,” is a popular saying many couples quote when they’re starting out as husband and wife. May this be true no matter how many years we have behind us.

About Debi Walter

Face it, marriage is hard work. But when cultivated daily the fruit produced will satisfy for a lifetime. We're here to help with ideas and encouragement along the way. Having been married 36 years and counting, we share what we've learned with practical tips, Biblical Truths, Date night ideas to help you plow your own vineyard for God's glory.
This entry was posted in Aging, Christian Marriage, communication, Conflict, Difficulty, Growing Strong Marriages, Intimacy, Seasons of Life, Sexual Intimacy, Troubled Marriage and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

39 Responses to When Your Sex Drive Putters Out

  1. I think those marriages where your hearing the comments from wives who are happy about a decline in desire/frequency/whatever, the husband has given up. Part of him has died due to malnutrition. It’s beyond sad to hear that celebrated…

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    • Debi Walter says:

      Jay,
      Actually, this isn’t the case. The couples have marriages that I highly respect. This is why I took notice of the comments and pondered it so much.
      This issue reaches all marriages at some point including strong, healthy relationships. Some haven’t found help as easily as I did. And they’ve had to make adjustments.
      I’m hopeful in opening this “post-menopause” discussion that we’ll get others to comment for the benefit of all of us.
      Thanks for starting the conversation!
      Debi

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      • My apologies for making an assumption, I should not have done that. Thank you for the correction.

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      • Debi Walter says:

        Jay,
        I’m so glad as marriage bloggers we can help one another in ways like this. I’ve learned so much from others just in my interactions through their comment section. Thank YOU, for being so approachable and teachable. I should have made the point clearer that these were strong marriages to begin with. So we’ve both grown in the process.:-)
        Have a blessed day,
        Debi

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  2. Kathy says:

    wow Debi! I thought we were the only ones struggling with this. I hit that point 1 1/2 years ago and I hate to say this, but, it almost destroyed our marriage. I won’t go in to details about what transpired after I “no longer felt the urge”….. just will say that a with a lot of prayers and advice from my doctor, it has been resolved. We had many talks about it and I can honestly say that my husband felt rejected and lonely. I am so sorry that I waited so long to talk to my doctor…..but so happy that I did. My husband even went with me to an appointment and she explained to him what was happening and what we were going to do to fix the problem. I thank the Lord on a daily basis for giving the doctors the knowledge to help women like me. I am so happy to say that I have been “awaken” to those feelings again and its like it was when we first married! Thank you Debi for listening to your heart and doing a blog on this. You might never know how many you help with this, but your reward in Heaven will be great! So glad to have you as a friend! God Bless!

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    • Debi Walter says:

      Kathy,
      I’m so glad you’ve commented. The fact that your husband went with you to the Dr. is such an example of how a husband can care for his wife through a very difficult time. I’m so glad you’ve realized you’re not the only one who has walked this road. Somehow this makes it not as horrible or shameful, doesn’t it?
      Grateful for your friendship too!
      Debi

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  3. Kate Aldrich says:

    Dearest Debi and Tom, I thank you so much for sharing this! Speaking light into these possibly dark places in marriage is so important. Thanks for your openness and a willingness to be vulnerable. God will use this for many!

    For many it can be so hard to make that step to go to the doctor, but it many times can be helpful. I love what Kathy shared about her hubby going with her! Brad and I have said many times, that it is “our” issue, not just mine or his! Hard steps, but brave ones-for your marriage!

    Love you guys and appreciate you so much! Blessings, Kate

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    • Debi Walter says:

      Kate,
      Thank you for your encouragement. This post was a difficult one for us to write. We’ve never been quite this open and vulnerable, but God wouldn’t let it go. We knew we had to be obedient and trust Him for the results. I love that you and Brad have decided NOW what to do when this problem may arise LATER. Such a simple conversation when it isn’t a painful topic. It’s much easier to make resolutions before the time comes. It helps you talk sensibly about it and it helps you stick to those decisions when you don’t feel like it.
      Love you dearly,
      Debi

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  4. Ashley says:

    Mrs. Walter 🙂 thank you soooo much for sharing this. I am not going through menopause but I do think that as women we tend to forget what sex really is in marriage. How sacred and intimate it is. After having children and feeling busy and tired I think we tend to just do it to get it over with and make our men happy. Thank you for reiterating what making love is all about in a marriage.

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    • Debi Walter says:

      Ashley,
      I’m so glad you’re not disregarding this because you’re not facing menopause right now. Every marriage faces times of low libido, and it can effect the husband or the wife. What a privilege it is to be the only one our spouse comes to in this way for relief from the stresses of life. Never lose sight of this fact–it will help us be more available to our spouse when we just don’t feel like it.
      Blessings,
      Debi

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  5. Amy says:

    And don’t forget us wives where this is turned around in our marriages. I am 48 and my husband is 58, and due to blood meds and probably age also, he deals with ED and has a lower drive than I do. I am pre-menopausal, but have not experienced a lower drive and I have always had a higher drive.
    It does feel like rejection and becomes lonely when your spouse, husband or wife, is not interested a majority of the time.

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    • Debi Walter says:

      Amy,
      I’m so glad you mentioned this issue can affect either spouse. It is one of the most challenging seasons a couple can face, and I pray it is just that–a season for you and your husband. Thank you for being willing to shine the light on this through your humble comment.
      May God lead you to the answer your marriage needs.
      Blessings,
      Debi

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      • Amy says:

        I think the best thing we can do when faced with an issue like this, whether it affects the husband or wife, is to keep the lines of communication open. Being able to talk with my husband is so important, but definitely not easy. I’ve cried my share of tears quietly behind closed doors, but it’s when I’ve been brave enough to share my heart with him that God does some amazing work.

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    • Doty says:

      I don’t know so much that my husband has ED, but he has had a lowered sex drive in recent years. No talking, no telling me, just making me feel ignored and not understanding what was wrong with me, why didn’t my husband want me like my friend’s husbands did? I was actually jealous of friends that complained all their husbands want is sex! As you stated, many tears cried without him knowing. Very much feeling ugly, rejected, unloved and unwanted. To the point I didn’t want to love my husband anymore ’cause I felt so unloved just because of sex! My husband never shared that was the issue, we never talked about it. Until 2 weeks ago when he shared that one day he woke up and no longer felt “normal”. Right now I am praying for my husband to feel “normal” again and believing God can restore and make new. It’s a heartbreaking thing, but I know it can be better.

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      • Debi Walter says:

        Doty,
        We encourage you to have your husband get his blood work done just to see if his levels are off. It sure sounds like it. Some doctors are willing to offer help when testosterone levels are low. If you fin one that will, your husband might be able to have his normal restored quickly. We’ve seen it happen!

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      • Amy says:

        Doty,
        I would venture to say your DH is dealing more with lower testosterone, than possibly ED.
        It is encouraging that he has finally opened up to you about not feeling “normal” and you can only imagine how that has probably made him feel as a man. He has probably felt embarrassed and like most men did not want to talk about it.
        You might want to encourage him to get a physical and talk with his doctor about it. Let him know that you love him and desire him, and want to help improve the sexual intimacy in your marriage.

        I pray that things turn around for you…I can feel your pain and hurt. I too have found myself jealous when other women I know complain that their husbands want sex all the time…I want to jump and down and tell them to be grateful for his desire! LOL 😉

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      • Debi Walter says:

        Amy,
        Excellent advice shared in a compassionate and self-disclosing way. Thank you!
        Debi

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  6. nand2013 says:

    A very important topic and thank you for the discussion. My husband & I are well into our 60’s and we’ve always had an active sex life… taking pleasure in each other. I’m definitely post menopausal and my husband, due to medical issues and medication isn’t exactly where he would like to be sexually as far as frequency is concerned. His constant comment to me is “I’ve never lost my desire for you and I never will.” Sex is indeed a gift from God but so is intimacy… that precious place of being with the one you love, having fun, extolling each others virtues, building each other up. Intimacy can lead to sex but when that isn’t possible, intimacy allows you to experience closeness of heart and spirit. It is the place where I get to show my spouse how important he is to me, praise him with words & caresses and play. Yes… old folks still play… sometimes naked. Scary, isn’t it! One must be able to accept changes that you can’t change, attempt to change those you can but always give your spouse the highest place of honor.

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    • Debi Walter says:

      Ah!!! Thank you for openly an honestly giving us a glimpse of what intimacy can and should look like in our later years. You have no idea how many couples you may have helped by this excellent comment!
      Blessings to you!
      Debi

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  7. ioana muligan says:

    thank you for sharing this.After having my child and having to go on a DEPo injection I find my sexual drive non existent .This is putting a lot of strain on our relationship and my husband, although very understanding and patient, is struggling in this sense.Reading thism made me consider trying a different contraception methode as the DEPO injection is known for lowering the sexual libido.Many thanks!
    ioana

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    • Debi Walter says:

      Ioana,
      How wonderful if you can adjust this by changing a Rx, won’t that be an easy fix. I pray God leads you to the right solution and that you’re able to enjoy intimacy with your husband again. And how wonderful that he is a patient and understanding man. That is a gift!
      Blessings,
      Debi

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  8. Debi, thanks for the post, and the transparency

    I used to know a 70 someting semi-retired pastor. He and his wife still had sex three times a week, and they both enjoyed it in every way. He told me he could do more, and she was willing, but three times a week seemed to work well for them.

    As for “libido” it is not needed for great sex. Most women can become aroused if they allow themselves to enter into foreplay. Sure it’s nice to want it going in, but if you know you can get going and then enjoy it, why not? Kind of like not feeling hungry, but knowing the smell of food cooking will arouse your appetite and allow you to enjoy food.

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    • Debi Walter says:

      Paul,
      That’s an amazing and encouraging testimony about your pastor friend.
      And I wish it was as easy to ignore the low libido and go for it, but often times there are so many other things going on in the brain that its difficult to override them. But it is possible, just takes making that decision to fight it before you’re in that place.
      And when it’s the man, that is even more of a challenge. From what I’ve heard wives of a husband facing low libido, it’s nearly impossible to arouse any response.
      So glad you’ve chimed in on this one. It’s an important topic for sure, but not one many like to discuss–even as husband and wife!

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  9. Spicywife says:

    I am still praying and looking for answers for my husband’s extremely low libido. It’s been 8+ years. I sadly discovered his low libido on our honeymoon. We have talked about it. He saw his doctor and talked to him about it, once. It is heart-breaking and depressing to not have this amazing intimacy, except maybe, if I am lucky, once a month. It is difficult to constantly be the one bringing the topic up. I don’t know what else to do at this point. I am the higher drive wife for sure. I appreciate hearing from other wives as to how they approach their low/no drive husbands. I do not want to give up but the constant rejection is wearing me down.

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    • Debi Walter says:

      Heidi,
      Eight years, and your husband has only been to the Dr. once about it? I would encourage you to talk to him sincerely encouraging him to go, and tell him you’ll go with him. This isn’t “his” problem. It’s your problem together and most likely it can be fixed.
      I pray you can find an answer!

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  10. Kassie says:

    This isn’t a post I normally would comment on, but I feel like maybe I should. My husband and I are young and have been married only 3 three. We have two young children (almost 1 and almost 3) with another on the way. I don’t want to have sex often or be intimate at all and my husband does… all the time…multiple times a day (if he’s around)…everyday. It’s exhausting and frustrating at times. It seems like he can’t go without it and it causes much fighting. I want to be willing, but I also need a break some times….need the desire to build up. I guess I’m commenting because I wonder if other women struggle with this and what they do (did) about it? It doesn’t matter what I say or do to talk him about it, he just seem to get it or his desire is just too strong.

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    • Debi Walter says:

      Kassie,
      First of all, I want to wrap my arms around you and give you a hug of comfort. You have been pregnant your entire marriage – no wonder your desire is low!
      Next, I want to thank you for opening up this question for others to read and ponder. Tom and I discussed it and believe that the bigger issue in your marriage is your husband’s unwillingness to talk about it. This could be a red flag that something else is fueling his uncontrollable desire for sex. But of course we can’t make that determination. You must find a way to talk about this. Communication is the most important aspect of a healthy sex life– not frequency. There are times when husbands out of love and care for their wife must say no to their desire in order to serve them. Husbands can say no!
      My encouragement to you is to pray and ask God to help you get your husband to discuss this. If he won’t then you should seek help from a pastor or another couple you highly respect. Communication breakdowns are not good for the growth of your marriage. It is necessary and what keeps your friendship strong.
      Father, I ask for your help in this marriage. Would you make a way where there seems to be none. Please protect this young marriage from going in a direction that isn’t healthy. Give them the help they need!
      In Jesus’ name we pray,
      Amen
      I’ll continue to pray for you,
      Debi

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  11. oysterbed7 says:

    Thank you for your transparent message. Low libido is a struggle. I am so glad that a hormone shift helped you. I wish there were more answers for the lower drive husband. Sexual intimacy is a gift from God. We have to be able to practice the gift and it is hard when the physical craving has left the building. But, not impossible. Thank you for addressing this very important subject!

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    • Debi Walter says:

      Pearl,
      There are answers for the lower drive husband, it’s just many refuse to get the help they need. The only way to know for sure is to talk with a doctor. We encourage husbands to do this out of love and care for their spouse and their marriage. Sex is a gift, and it must be guarded and cultivated. Thankfully, it isn’t the only way love is communicated, for there are times when it becomes impossible in some marriages.
      Thank you for sharing.
      Debi

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  12. Heather says:

    This conversation is encouraging – thank you. I am divorced and in my 40s. I also had a hysterectomy a few years ago. Because of this, and being inactive and older, I had wondered what I could possibly expect if God has a real marriage in mind for me.

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    • Debi Walter says:

      Heather,
      I think its commendable that you’re preparing your heart and mind for a relationship in the future. What an example. I encourage you to not be anxious though, and trust God to help you when that time comes.
      Blessings to you as you wait on God,
      Debi

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  13. Oh Debi, how I understand where you’re coming from! I had peri-menopause at age 32. I had ovarian cysts rupturing monthly and depression swept in like clockwork each month. I had babies I was raising and this wasn’t what I had in mind when I got married and had kids. My body was a wreck and there was no drive AT ALL. But I tried to find solutions to my imbalanced hormones and I was intentional about fighting for our intimacy.

    Not too long ago I video-tapped a post about this problem and my husband was surprised to hear that during that time in our lives that I had no sex drive. My mouth dropped open and I thought, “have you lost your mind?” He told me he didn’t realize I had no sex drive because he said what he felt from his end was that I was relationship-driven. It helped him to know that I wouldn’t deny him regardless of where my drive was.

    We worked over the years to heal my body. It was a long haul but communication is key.

    So glad you’ve worked this out with your man. More Christians need to share their struggles.

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    • Debi Walter says:

      Jolene,
      Your story is the perfect example of what I’ve been sharing with all the couples commenting on this post. Communication is the most important aspect of a healthy sex life. So many don’t talk about it. Kudos to you for doing such a great job loving your husband through the trial that he didn’t even know your lack of desire. That is a miracle worth celebrating for God’s kindness to you during a very difficult season.
      Thanks for adding your comments. I believe it will help many!
      Debi

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  14. Darcy says:

    @Spiceywife,
    You are not alone. My husband and I have been married for 8 years and I have the higher drive, an extremely high drive. The frequency used to be about every 2 weeks, now it’s about once a month. We have a 7 and 5 year old, I think I noticed a drastic change after our 2nd child was born. I too am very frustrated with the rejection and I long for my husband to desire me. I’m 42 years old and I’m afraid it won’t be long before my desire dwindles as well, which is what I believe my husband is anxiously awaiting for. Oh, and he’s not interested in discussing it either. Talk about feeling alone.

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  15. Kathy says:

    yes it does help to know there are other women that this happens to. I must add that my husband was very patient with all of this, he could have went “somewhere else” but his decision to show me how much he loved me was the only thing that got me to the point where I am today. I thank God everyday for sending this man to me.
    Kathy

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  16. messymarriage says:

    Just the other day my sister who is 9 years older than me (so suffice it to say, she’s facing these post-menopausal years) and she told me that she has pain during intercourse and has told her husband she won’t have sex with him anymore. I was stunned to hear this! I am prayerfully planning to talk to her again and challenge her in this area. I did talk to her about seeing a doctor for this problem, but she’s hesitant to add more to her already mounting medical bills. Thanks so much for sounding out about this, Debi. There are so many sexual issues in marriage that people contend with, so I applaud your bravery and vulnerability on this particular problem. We are all blessed because of it!

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  17. mrsdarlings says:

    My husband and I have been doing tons of research on this. Even though i’m not at menopause yet. But, I saw my mom and step mom go through it. I also did lose desire for sex and im VERY young. odd? But, its coming back. The one thing that we have seen that is consistent in our research in the womens sex drive throughout life and menopause is if the man is alpha or beta. Usually what determines if he is alpha is that you chase him in the relationship and he makes the decisions, he rides as head of the house. He is the patriarch /decision maker. If he is beta he chases the women, wants sex more than the woman, she makes all the decisions in the house, she wears the pants and has the ‘control’.There is so much more to this alpha and beta stuff. That it takes unbias and open mind dedicated research. Alpha and beta was a whole knew world to me. But, I LIKE THE RESULTS!

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