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Heather Corinna replies:
I've been with my girlfriend for almost 6 years now and our relationship is fading. I think it might be because our sex life isn't quite what it used to be. In the beginning it was awesome we were young and of course hormones were raging. Now 6 years later we barely have intimate relations, and I'm trying to discover why. Here is my question: I know her sex drive is really low but what can I do to help her get it back to normal? She has been on birth control for around 3 or 4 years and tried many different types of pill contraceptives to combat this problem. Should she try another form of birth control? Should she try hormone therapy? Any help or opinions would help thanks!
A young woman is very unlikely to need hormone therapy for anything, let alone for her sex drive. And if she's already been on many different types of birth control pills, it's relatively safe to say that if hormonal BC is the issue here, then her best bet is to switch to another contraceptive method.
But IS it the issue? More to the point, what's the issue here, period?
It's completely normal that as a sexual relationship goes on over time -- and six years is a long time, especially for younger people -- sex will generally become less frequent. It's also completely normal for there to be times in long-term relationships when other aspects of the relationship take center stage. On top of all of that, it's sage to look at the relationship overall: how are things in general? Are you two as close as ever? Is a romance/sexual relationship still the relationship you have, or has it shifted more to a friendship? You say the relationship is fading, and posit that's due to less frequent sex, but it'd be far more typical for a decreased desire for sex to be due to problems or changes in a relationship than the other way around.
Ideally, the person I'd be talking with isn't a partner, but to the actual person experiencing a decreased libido. If I were, I'd ask if her sex drive feels low to her, and if so, if it's low only with a given partner or also when it comes to her solo sex life (masturbation)? I'd ask if she was actually feeling a decreased desire for sex, or if for any number of reasons, she just didn't want to be having sex with her partner or others right now. I'd ask if other aspects of her life are just taking priority at the moment, if she's under any stress, and if the increased drive (if it is that) is actually bothering HER.
Since I can't ask those sorts of things, those are questions you can pose to her, with sensitivity.
I'd also suggest you make sure you're understanding that not having a through-the-roof sex drive isn't neccesarily abnormal: it's very normal for people's libidos to wax and wane over time, and for there to be high periods and low periods. So, if you're presenting this as a problem SHE has, rather than as your issue -- a la, you desire more sex than you're having, and worry that not having sex together is part of relationship problems, which seems to be the real issue here -- then it'd be wise to adjust that. I'd also make sure that you're not, even inadvertently, exerting pressure on her TO have sex when she just doesn't want to: there's nothing that buzzkills a sex drive like a constant feeling of sexual obligation.
So, y'all need to talk about this. If it's about the relationship, then the place to start is with working out whatever problems or issues she's having with the relationship. And if she's saying it's not just about that, but that even by herself, she's feeling less drive, less arousal, and less interest -- and she's unhappy with that -- then she can also take an additional step by a) talking with her healthcare provider about looking into other birth control options sans hormones, b) addressing any stresses, personal issues or illness that might be at play and c) making sure that she wants to be IN a sexual relationship right now.