All of these letters came today:

I have a great husband that I have been married to for four years. We have been together about six years. I'm 43 and he's 35. We love each other and are a great match, except... you guessed it: we rarely have sex. When we do have sex its over in a minute or two—a problem he says that he has always had after a year or so with a partner. He says its just a low libido. And he's back in school (career change), and working two jobs.

I am wicked horny and I miss the hot sex we used to have. I look good but would be a little self conscious banging a 25-year-old who could match my stamina. I have hinted that he should see a doc (it could be as simple as testosterone deficiency, right?) and even that a blue pill once in a while would be awwwwsome for my needs. I'm aware that this is a touchy subject with boys so I haven't pushed it for fear of making it worse. I know that there isn't a quick fix for this. Any suggestions?

Cougar Love

I am a gay 19-year old, and my boyfriend is 20. We're both liberal arts students. We've been dating for two years and we've been living together for about one. We are in monogamous love and I know we have a strong, compassionate companionship, especially for a gay couple our age. We only really have one problem. Since we've been living together we hardly have sex anymore. I'm talking about less than once a month, and it's very rarely any good. We used to have sex regularly, casually, comfortably. It was great. This is not. At first, I assumed that we were going through a less active period, which I thought was normal, but his behavior is not normal.

Ninety percent of the time, I initiate the sex, and only after continuous begging and mounting does he give in. He always has some excuse: That he's just eaten and he "has to digest", or that he's not horny, or that he's tired, or that he's busy, which usually means he's watching Hulu. I almost always go to bed masturbating. Other than the very, very rare times that he initiates sex, which I have never turned down, he shows no sexual interest in me. If this helps, before we were together he was incredibly experienced and very promiscuous—there is no other word. I'll put the estimate at at least fifty guys. I can count my previous sex partners on one hand. This is the first long-term relationship for both of us.

I like to think that I have a normal and healthy sex drive for a nineteen year old male. I know I am good at sex, and I know he once was. I am utterly baffled.

I bring this up with him constantly, and I get very emotional about it. He never denies that he has a problem, but he never elaborates on it. He tries to pay more attention to me for the few days after my pleas, but it wears off and he shows no signs of actually making any progress until the next confrontation.

I do trust that he has not cheated on me; we spend enough time together for me to know. I have not either. We are in love and neither of us want to break apart our relationship. However, after a year, I have had all I can take. I have started thinking about going elsewhere for sex, and it makes me incredibly guilty.

What can I do? What can he do? I have no more options left.

Dying For Regular Sex

More after the jump...

I have been dating a boy for about a year. We are very compatible, and I am enjoying the relationship very much. However, our mismatched libidos are creating a problem.

I'm experiencing a lot of work-related anxiety (I'm 3 years into a graduate program), and this has taken a toll on my desire for sex. We've been doing it once or twice a week (closer to twice), and most every time it is fantastic for both of us. However, my boyfriend would be happy doing it every time we see each other, and this has created a very negative cycle where I'm always rejecting his advances. I am generally unapologetic, and this really affects him because he finds self-affirmation in sex, so my rejection makes him feel unwanted on many different levels.

Yesterday, he came to me crying because he thought this was my way of making him break up with me. After he calmed down, we decided we could work through it. I love him to death, but the pressure to have sex is really crushing me. I'd be fine with an open relationship, but he doesn't think he'd be happy sleeping with other people. I don't want to lose him, but I can't fake it either, or make my anxiety evaporate. What should we do?

Not A Tiger Cries for Help

I've been with my boyfriend for about eight months now and we fell hard and fast for each other. We'd known each other for a while before we started dating and always had an intense sexual attraction. Our relationship is wonderful. I'm 22 and he is 27. We get along beautifully, can talk about anything, we have the same sense of adventure and generally live an exciting, dynamic life together. The problem is that I want to save sex more frequently than he does. I have many friends with the opposite problem. Pushy, horny, boyfriends. I have a really hard time trying to understand what is wrong.

We've talked about this issue over and over, and I'm starting to feel like a broken record. I know he feels like he lets me down and I think the more that happens, the more pressure he feels and the more difficult it is for him to initiate sex. But when I initiate sex 95% of the time, I start feeling undesirable. He assures me this isn't the case. That he is insecure and because he's recently stopped drinking, his body is changing and his self esteem and self confidence are lacking. I truly do believe this, but I'm tired of putting myself out there and being rejected. The most upsetting incident was last week when we went to a robe party and I dressed in the sexiest lingire I own. Showed him before we left in hopes that it would keep him thinking about me, but when we got home he climbed in bed and went to sleep. It broke my heart.

I understand how hard it can be to put yourself out there sexually (and I should mention that prior to this relationship I had only had sexual relationships with women, which is a bit intimidating to him), but I need him to set that aside and touch me. I love him with all my heart. The sex we have is awesome. But its been months since I felt like he couldn't keep his hands off of me. And I'm not ugly. I'm increacingly more and more desperate for some advice and a solution. Unfortunately I feel like the solution has nothing to do with me and everything to do with him. I just don't know a healthy way to keep myself emotionally strong and protected.

Thanks For Hearing Me Out

I am 24 years old and have been with my boyfriend for a year and a half. We met at school and are both in the same intensive graduate program. At school we live together, and when we are on break we have a long distance relationship.

My sex drive has been deteriorating for about the last 8 months and is now pretty much non existent. This is obviously putting a strain on the relationship, he gets upset when I don't want to have sex and I get frustrated when he keeps trying to initiate it. He keeps telling me I should think about sex more and my horniness will return, but it's not that simple. Even my tried-and-true fantasies get zero reaction out of me anymore. On the occasions we do have sex I can still enjoy it physically and my boyfriend usually gets me off, but I can't remember the last time I had sex because I wanted to and not to keep him from being disappointed.

I can't help but notice a correlation of the decline in my sex drive to the start of me taking birth control. Also I'm sure it doesn't help that every semester our education gets more and more stressful. After spending hours studying the last thing I want to do on my precious breaks from the books is have sex. I have begun to view sex as a chore and not something I look forward to.

Is it possible that birth control and stress have stamped out my libido? Or is my boyfriend right and I have put up some kind of mental block to sex that I just need to get over?

Searching For My Sex Drive

Letters like these arrive so regularly that whenever I read, "We are so in love, we're totally great together, everything is wonderful...", I always brace myself for the inevitable, "...except the sex."

Sorry, gang, but there's no instant, just-add-some-asshole's-advice solution for the problem of mix-matched libidos. If the cause is external and temporary—work or school pressures—a couple might be able to hang in there and tough it out. But by the time grad school is over, or a new career is off the ground, odds are good that rejection and resentment will have curdled the frustrated half of the couple's affections so thoroughly that the relationship simply can't survive. And there's a better than 50/50 chance that the problem isn't stress or work-related, but not-attracted-to-you-related, and how long do you want to hang in there before you find that out? So my standard advice in these instances is almost always this: a break up is almost inevitable so you might as well break up now. (Unless there are kids involved, in which case: suck it up, breeders.) Some more targeted advice:

Cougar Love: Listen to your husband. He's telling you he has a low libido, and things have always been this way after a year or two. You're going to have to divorce him or fuck other people or both.

Dying For Regular Sex: I don't know what your boyfriend's issue is—promiscuity ruined him? just not that into you?—but he's not making you happy and you're way to young to settle for a lousy-to-non-existent sex life and the constant rejection is killing you. DTMFA.

Not A Tiger Cries for Help: Hm... twice a week while your partner is in grad school seems like a perfectly reasonable amount of sex to me. But it obviously isn't cutting it for the weepy bag of slop you call your boyfriend. This much, however, we know for sure: his sexual expectations make you feel "crushed," your unapologetic rejection makes him come... crying. Maybe you would both be better off—less pressure on you, fewer tears for him—if you officially broke up and shifted to friends-with-benefits status.

Thanks For Hearing Me Out: You've only been together eight months... and you write that "it's been months" since he made you feel desirable. You have much less invested in this relationship than you seem to think, TFHMO, and ending it will be easier than you seem to think. This generally isn't a problem that gets better with time and right now, at eight months, it's breaking your heart. If you must, give it another two or three months—but let him know he's on thin ice and he better get his ass to the gym, boost his self-esteem, and up his game or it's over.

Searching For My Sex Drive: Could be stress, sure. But many women find that their libidos suffer on certain forms of hormonal birth. So... get off birth control—and leave off vaginal intercourse (if you're concerned about pregnancy)—and see if your libido kicks back into gear. If it doesn't, well, might be time to focus on your education... which you might have an easier time doing single.

Okay, one more letter:

Dear Dan,

I read your column religiously. I am a thirty-one-year-old heterosexual male. My wife is wonderful, we get along like a house on fire, and we really enjoy each other's company. We also have lots and lots of plain old great sex all the time, and life is great. Just wanted you to know we exist. Thanks for your work.

Married And Simply Satisfied

Thank you for writing, MASS. I needed that.