[Two Pronged] What happens when your sex drives don’t match?

Margarita Holmes
[Two Pronged] What happens when your sex drives don’t match?
Her sex drive is back up, but he just doesn't seem to care

Rappler’s Life and Style section runs an advice column by couple Jeremy Baer and clinical psychologist Dr Margarita Holmes.

Jeremy has a master’s degree in law from Oxford University. A banker of 37 years who worked in 3 continents, he has been training with Dr Holmes for the last 10 years as co-lecturer and, occasionally, as co-therapist, especially with clients whose financial concerns intrude into their daily lives

Together, they have written two books: Love Triangles: Understanding the Macho-Mistress Mentality and Imported Love: Filipino-Foreign Liaisons.

Dear Two Pronged,

I don’t know what else to do to “save” our love-making.

Our intercourse sessions stopped with my 2007 hysterectomy. I am trying to restore it. What can I, or my husband do, for us to have wonderful sex experiences every time, even though we are a bit old already?

We are both in our fifties, both taking maintenance medication. His meds are for a mild stroke (which research says affect a man’s sexual performance); mine, for asthma.

Last month, my desire for sex ignited. We’ve been doing it every night these past 2 weeks. I am the one who insists because that same month, he had another infidelity issue for the same girl.

In 2010, he looked for his first high school girlfriend, whom he devirginized, on Facebook. According to him, he just wanted to greet her “happy birthday”; yet there were birthdays of mine that he forgot.

I don’t understand why is he again looking for this woman now?

He said he didn’t have any malice doing so and just remembered to greet because of the occasion. This is very painful.

During intercourse, even if it’s embarrassing to admit, I’m the one looking for ways for him to “erect” I’m also the one who shows the “desire” just so he doesn’t change his mind about me, and so he no longer thinks of that woman.

Yet he doesn’t seem interested. He said he doesn’t want his penis in my vagina because there are some “blockages” before he comes into me. It seems he just prefers fellatio, which hurts me again.

I’m the one doing everything just to make him happy and explode.

When we make love, he just uses his finger to satisfy me, but I can’t reach my climax because I so want him inside of me.

I even send tempting, flirty messages but he isn’t interested in me anymore. What will I or what do we need to do? Can I do anything for each other to have that heat back? 


Dear Ava,

It is a fact of life that as we age, so our bodies begin to lose the vigor and flexibility of our youth. This applies equally to our libido and so our sexual ardor diminishes directly as a naturalized consequence of the passing years and often indirectly, for example, because of medication such as that your husband is taking.

Ideally, a couple will find that their ardor lessens at a more or less similar pace. Sometimes, however, couples get out of sync which seems to be your case, Ava.

Where there is a mismatch, the couple first needs to discuss their situation. It is to be hoped that they will each have enough love and generosity of spirit to be willing to adjust to the changes in their sex lives. Of course, the conversation has to cover who does what to whom, when, how often etc. as well as respect for any lack of enthusiasm for sex, short term or long term.

Problems arise when the couple cannot agree. If one partner, often the one wanting more sex, is unable to secure the cooperation of the other, then choices include (reluctant) acceptance, masturbation and seeking another partner. This last option is many times welcomed as “outsourcing sex,” removes the problem altogether.

Ava, you first need to decide whether your goal of “wonderful sex experiences every time” is realistic or just a pipe dream. You are both in your 50’s, have many years of marriage behind you and few people can replicate decade after decade the sex they enjoyed in their youth. 

Secondly, it seems as though you are confronting your husband with rather strident demands when a more conciliatory approach might yield more favorable results. You will have had experience during your marriage of how to improve the chances of getting your way, after all!

Finally, you need to develop a plan B in case you fail to obtain satisfaction from your negotiations.

Best of luck,

JAF Baer

Dear Ava,

Thank you very much for your letter.

In my view, though a tad optimistic, Mr Baer’s suggestion to “develop a plan B in case you fail to obtain satisfaction from your negotiations” is of utmost importance.

Optimistic because I doubt your husband (let’s call him Frank) is interested in negotiating.

Otherwise, he wouldn’t send the following messages: He need not do anything to please you – not initiate, not cunnilingus, not even intercourse. Fellatio is all he wants. He is not even interested in your flirty messages.

Are you sure, dearest Ava, that you want to continue fighting for terrific sex with someone as uncaring (at least of your feelings) as Frank has been? In the beginning, up until 2007 and/or when he first contacted his former classmate (“Mia”), you were satisfied with both your marriage and sex lives. He may have convinced you it was nothing (perhaps even promising never to contact her again)], so things were better again until you discovered the second time he contacted her.

The problem is more than his attraction to Mia; he is lazy, self-absorbed – not caring how his underlying messages (“I only contacted her to greet her on her birthday” which he made a point to remember, despite often forgetting yours) could devastate you and selfish (unwilling to negotiate because he knows he doesn’t need to).

Perhaps Frank would negotiate if something he wants from you is at stake. Perhaps it would be a better idea if you moved your chosen battleground – sex – to something more important to him: his marriage to you, financial and/or other considerations, etc.  

I feel – but perhaps it is only me – that “please remain faithful or else” is only a threat if you are willing to carry out the “or else.” 

Oh, Ava, I know it hurts to think that you have to change your tactics because the kinder, more conciliatory one of having unforgettable sex with him hasn’t worked, and probably won’t even in the future.

One of the tenets in family therapy is: “if something doesn’t work, doing more of the same won’t work either.”

You have at least 2 choices:

  1. Think of something else you can negotiate with, something he wants to happen or not happen that is under your control;
  2. Leave him because living with a man like him has become intolerable.

Dearest Ava, I know any choice you make right now will hurt – perhaps even devastate – you. But the pain, humiliation, and devastation already exist.

All that’s changed is that you will be proactive instead of a victim.

All the best,

MG Holmes


Need advice from our Two Pronged duo? Email with subject heading TWO PRONGED. Unfortunately, the volume of correspondence precludes a personal response.

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