RejectedYou approach and your partner deflects… not in the mood. It happens, so you try again the next day. Same thing. And the next day. And the next day.

Libidos come and go, influenced by; hormone cycles, stress, fatigue, depression, self image, medication, the list goes on and on. There is a daunting array of things that can bury a libido and finding it (your partner’s or your own) hidden beneath the surface can be a frustrating endeavor.

Those of us bouncing through relationships can do just that, bounce, if a sexual relationship begins to wilt in the void of sexual energy. Within the confines of committed monogamy, however, a couple is forced to work at it. This assumes the relationship itself has some value… like maybe there’s a baby in your bathwater.

A typical reaction of the undersexed partner is self-centric; “what’s wrong with me?”, or “she’s not attracted to me anymore”. There may be some legitimacy in such self doubt and exploring it warrants consideration. The problem may in fact be you and you can’t force your partner to feel differently… desire fights coercion.

My fellow blogger Athol Kay of says (in short) you can’t change your partner, you can only change yourself. His self defined prescription for turning up the heat on a flailing sex life is centered on self improvement. The idea is to up your “sex rank” and your partner’s sexual interest in you will return naturally. Good advice for many, but this is not universally true.

The idea that desire and attraction are mutually dependent leads us down this road of inward reflection. No doubt, they are tightly intertwined in most cases but I believe each can exist without the other. Desire (sexual drive) can exist in the absence of attraction, in fact it can exist in the absence of a partner! Likewise, attraction can be felt without accompanying sexual desire.

For many people in under-sexed relationships attraction is not the issue, which is good because that’s harder to work with. The better news is… it’s possible to feed and grow a withering libido, you just have to do a little work and exercise a little understanding.

I am no expert in curing a partner’s low libido, but I have experience trying. The hard truth is that, outside of hormone therapy, many with hypolibido are incurable and just need to find ways to cope while managing to keep their relationships vibrant.

Don't Touch MeWhat follows are some practical tips to catalyze sexual interest in a low-drive partner (certainly not a comprehensive list). Note that better sex leads to improved intimacy, communication, and trust… all things that prime conditions for sexual interest. And sex is even an effective treatment for many of the libido killing conditions I listed above; hormone cycles, stress, fatigue, depression, and self image. The idea here is to initiate a self feeding loop and hope it gains its own momentum.

Have Sex Anyway: Many people with low sexual interest find that they reconnect with their own desire mid-session and really enjoy the rush. Hormones flushing the system encourage feelings of contentment, reductions in anxiety, and feelings of calmness and security about your partner. And… semen carries a payload of happy hormones!

Schedule Sex: Non-spontaneous sex is better than no sex at all. See above for benefits.

Take the Heat Off: Forgo the full sexual exchange, permit your partner to be present but not fully engaged in your own sexual release. Again, Athol Kay has a great suggestion for couples: Hand Job Therapy. It has many of the same benefits as a full sexual exchange but lets her opt out of the receptive aspects of sex. If the active involvement of a hand job is still too much, her participation or assistance while you masturbate (i.e. ball play or kissing) can be nearly as effective.

Identify and Pursue Triggers: If possible, catch her at a time when she’s feeling horny (be patient) and then start a dialog about triggers; what pushes her buttons and gets her thinking about sex? Identify them and then pursue them whenever possible. For instance, maybe she gets turned on when viewing erotica/porn and talking or reading about sex… start a sex blog together with her to engage in sexual dialog, explore fantasies, collect erotica, and give her positive feedback when she does something that really turns you on. Tailor a strategy that caters to her triggers.

Be Flirtatious and Romantic: Tell her you are thinking about her. Send email, texts, or instant messages that compliment her and/or express your feeling out of the blue. Make them flirtatious, maybe even sext some tastefully revealing pictures. Find reasons to do nice things for her; flowers for no reason, show up with her favorite coffee, drive miles in a snowstorm so she doesn’t have to… you get the idea.

Ramp Up Your Affection: Be affectionate, verbally and physically, with no intent to pursue sex. If she only gets your affection as a part of sexual initiation she may begin to close up to avoid an unwanted advance. This works against you… and can damage the intimate aspects of your relationship which are essential. A note for the low-drive partner, keep the affection flowing and initiate it often. Sex is not a requirement to make him feel attractive and loved by you. But every once in a while initiate something more.

Accept Less Than Your Ideal: Allow her the opportunity to selflessly indulge your sexual release. She may not be totally into it and participating only because she loves you… let her do that, it’s a loving gesture and is good for both of you.

Break The Binds Of Routine: It’s great to mix things up in the bedroom and introduce some novelty, routine can get dull and undermine your efforts to fully engage her. The same rule applies out of the bedroom… find new activities to do together, places to travel, adventures to experience. Such activities can spur bonding that releases hormones, feeding libidos and leading to good quality fucking.

Be Forward About Your Needs: Let her know you love her. Let her know you desire and expect a two sided sexual relationship that meets both your needs. Tell her what she can do to live up to her end… and then hope she listens.

Therapy: If all else fails, get your asses into a therapist’s office. Maybe hormone treatments are in order, maybe she needs to express some repressed feelings with the safety of a moderator present. Whatever it is, an outside perspective can often help you zero in on the cause.

You should notice that most these suggestions involve a cooperative effort by both parties. Just like sex, sexual problems involve two people… and so do sexual solutions.

Even with all this, however, you may find that while your physical needs get attention your emotional needs are not met, the sex is less than satisfactory, and/or your sex life spins in maintenance mode and lacks the growth or passion you desire. I guess this could leave you with hard choices… and we have no guidance to offer there.

We can tell you that the quality of companionship afforded by a long term monogamous relationship is of great value and should not be discounted by grass-is-greener mentality. Working through issues together is the cornerstone of lasting relationships and leads to deeper bonds and greater satisfaction as a couple. Pay attention, do the work, and set realistic expectations. Seek a solution together, not in isolation, and you may find more satisfaction than you bargained for.