Playing high-low when ‘not in the mood’ meets ‘just gotta have it’

Add this share

Barring a few important caveats, here's how couples with perpetually mismatched libidos can be patient, communicate, try and try again — together — so that ultimately everybody wins.


I am a woman with a high sex drive, and my wife of nearly seven years, well, isn’t. The only time we have sex is when she is in the mood, or when I am almost “forcing” her to.Her word.

I can usually get her into the mood by doing different things to seduce her, but she is never the one to initiate sex. What can we do to get her sex drive up, not necessarily to my level in the stratosphere, but at least to somewhere off the ground?

Dear Horny:

Kinda like cars, people come standard with a variety of features that aren’t always compatible with other models. After seven years, you clearly mesh with your wife on many levels, and this is just one sticking point. Start in a state of gratitude that there is a relationship to work on. Not everybody gets that.

First make sure your wife actually wants to want it more and is looking for solutions to increase your sexual activity as much as you are. If she isn’t, that’s OK too and should be accepted. If she said “forced,” you need to openly discuss what exactly that word means to each of you, and check yourself before continuing with this column.

A good place for her to start is medical hurdles. A good clue that these issues are in play is if high libido was once the case but took a downturn. Things like autoimmune disorders, diabetes, mild or severe depression and stress can wreak havoc on physical desires.

Compile a list of every medicine and supplement she takes and ask a doctor. Even over-the-counter stuff can affect hormones, nerve endings and blood circulation. The doctor can also run tests and make diagnoses based on the answers she provides, so encourage her to be honest. 

If a physical doctor gives the all-clear, a psychological one or licensed therapist might also be a good stop on her journey. Again, if and only if she finds her level of libido a problem, not because you do.

With all of those uncertainties answered, coupled queers with mismatched libidos can try a few methods and steps to being on the same sexual page at the same time more often. It’s important that all of these happen in an environment of calm acceptance and patience for you and no pressure for her. 

Focus on fun along the way and know going in that it might not always result in orgasm. Make your high and low libidos like a game of High-Low Poker: You both win.

Be Patient. High-libido people report dramatic physical reactions that low-libido people just don’t. All-over tingles, shivers and even stomach rumblings for you could be nada for her, even when she’s interested and aroused. Some may not get wet or hard until the actual act. Consider it like simmering coals rather than raging fires, and be patient. Since she might not recognize it as readily, have her try to initiate sex on smaller impulses and ask you to fan the spark into flames.

Communicate. Have her tell you what makes her hot under the collar. Massage? Sports bras? Rom Coms? Crosswords? Whatever it is, get good at it. Along the way, pay attention to what she responds to and make mental notes. Be her idea of a great lover, not yours.

Try.  Motivation is a fickle friend, but discipline and consistency are there for us day in and day out. Like going to the gym when we don’t feel like it or avoiding cake we want when we’re trying to shed a few pounds. 

When motivation is there, great. Use it. But when it’s not, make making out part of your couple routine. “On Saturdays we have sushi and get naked, no pressure.”  

Try Again. Almost everybody’s experienced a time when they didn’t really feel like having sex, “gave in” and ended up having an amazing experience. She doesn’t have to do that every time, and it’s entirely up to her, but she might try it often enough to understand her sexual triggers and her own initial hurdles and roadblocks to a good time . 

She can think of it like eating when you’re not hungry but you know you should. Sometimes a sniff is enough to make you want it.

The Q is intended for entertainment purposes and not as professional counseling. Send your burning Qs to [email protected].

Illustration by Brad Gibson.

A version of this article originally appeared in Q magazine. Read the full issue:




Pick up a new edition of Q each week at LGBTQ and allied venues across Atlanta.


Project Q Atlanta goes on hiatus after 14 years

On Sept. 1, 2008, Project Q Atlanta promised a hyper-local “queer media diet” for Atlanta. The site set out to bring LGBTQ news, in-depth...

Photos catch Purple Dress Run invading Midtown

After three years of pandemic-inflicted limitations, Atlanta’s gay rugby squad let loose on one of its most popular events. The Atlanta Bucks Purple Dress...

Ooo Bearracuda: Photos from Bear Pride’s Main Event

The seventh annual Atlanta Bear Pride hit the ground running on Friday with packed houses at Woofs, Heretic and Future. Turned out, they hadn’t...

Atlanta Bear Pride set to go hard and long all weekend

That low, growing growl you hear is a nation of gay bears headed for Atlanta Bear Pride this weekend. By the time they arrive,...

PHOTOS: Armorettes bring back Easter Drag Race magic

Gay Atlanta’s queens of do-good drag brought the sunshine to a cloudy afternoon on Saturday when Heretic hosted the triumphant return of Armorettes Easter...