On Your Mind: Answers about low sex drive

NOTE: The following is an anonymous note we received from an nwaMotherlode reader who asked this question about low sex drive. This is Tom’s response to the reader’s question. Please feel free to use the anonymous form (at the bottom of this post) to send additional questions to our local counselor. Our thanks to the mom who sent in this question, as we’re certain this response will help many women who may also be struggling with this issue.

Dear Tom,

I am a wife to a very sweet husband but I have no desire to have sex with him. I actually have no desire to have sex with anyone. It has become an issue, obviously for him, and I don’t want him to feel hurt or unwanted. I have never been abused, no childhood trauma or horrible ex-boyfriend, I just don’t have a sex drive. And it’s more than that because when he does touch me, anywhere ‘private’, I immediately pull away and retreat- it’s just instinct but I know it hurts him. I have tried to tell him I just don’t like it when he does X, so he tries to do Y and it still feels foreign to me and I want to scream for it to stop. What’s wrong with me?

Dear Mom,

I am so sorry you’re struggling with lack of sex drive. It’s not an easy thing to struggle through, especially when it has a negative impact on your relationship with your husband. Lack of female sex drive or “libido,” as it is sometimes called, is more common than most people might realize.

Survey research published by the National Institutes of Health has shown prevalency rates for female Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD – a lack of desire for sexual activity) ranging from a low of 5% to as high as 33%. That statistic means you are certainly not the only one who is dealing with this issue.

There are a variety of factors that may be contributing to your lack of sexual desire, but the two broad categories are physical and psychological. The physical factors may include:

  • anemia
  • side effects of prescribed medications
  • a major illness
  • hormonal irregularities

Some psychological factors include:

  • depression (which may include post-partum depression)
  • anxiety
  • high stress

I realize that alcoholism and/or drug abuse is probably not a factor in your situation, but it’s important to know that these two things can also contribute to a low sex drive.

Mom, as I look over the possible causes listed above, I don’t know if any of these factors are things you’re dealing with in your current situation, so here’s what I’d like you to do: Schedule an appointment with your primary care doctor or gynecologist and openly discuss what you’re experiencing. (I know it can feel awkward to talk about, but I can promise you that it’s not the first time your doctor has had this conversation with a patient.) Ask your doctor to check on any physical or biological contributing factors.

Now let’s deal with the emotional side of this issue. You’ve mentioned that this is having an impact on your relationship with your husband, so the next thing I want you to do is to schedule an appointment with a counselor. It would be great if you and your husband could attend the session together. It will mean a lot to him to know that you’re not “waiting for it to pass” but instead you’re doing everything you can to work through this situation.

Most importantly, please remember you’re not alone in this. There is help available.  Best wishes to you.


Tom Petrizzo serves as CEO of Ozark Guidance and has degrees in social work and law. He has spent the last 20 years managing non-profit centers in Texas, Kansas, Colorado and Arkansas. He has also served as adjunct faculty at the social work graduate program at three large universities. He’s married to Teri Classick, a licensed clinical social worker, and they have two daughters. When he’s not at work, Tom likes to jog, bike ride, read and he even belted out the National Anthem lately at a Northwest Arkansas Naturals Game!

Tom would be happy to answer your questions and read what’s on your mind. Click the butterfly icon below to fill out an anonymous submission form with your question or concern. The form contains NO identifying information and is designed to give local women an online place to share concerns with a person qualified to offer feedback. Tom will be back each month to answer another woman’s question.

Disclaimer:  This RESPONSE does not provide medical advice It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on nwaMotherlode or Ozark Guidance websites.