My libido is highly unreliable. Will I ever be able to satisfy a partner?

·1 min read
<span>Composite: Getty</span>
Composite: Getty

I’m a 35-year-old gay man. I’ve always felt as though my sexual cycles may be different to everyone else’s. Sexual desire comes in peaks and valleys; I have periods of high sexual activity and then it plummets to almost zero. In my 20s, I shrugged it off by not staying in sexual or romantic relationships for long, having more casual partners in the highs and just enjoying time alone in the lows. However, as I get older, I notice these peaks are fewer and further between and much less pronounced. I worry that, now I’m longing for more stable relationships, I may not be able to offer a fulfilling sex life to a potential partner. Is this a medical condition I should fix? Or is this something I should learn to negotiate with any potential partner?

Men and women have cycles of libido – largely driven by hormonal activity – and everyone has to learn to adapt to them. These cycles and their intensity naturally change as we age or undergo life changes. They are also affected by elements such as stress, fatigue, anxiety and illness.

Listen to what your true needs are now – and relax in the knowledge that you can have a great sex life within a stable relationship. With good communication between you and your partner, you should be able to develop a mature, long-term relationship that also fulfils your joint erotic needs.

  • Pamela Stephenson Connolly is a US-based psychotherapist who specialises in treating sexual disorders.

  • If you would like advice from Pamela on sexual matters, send us a brief description of your concerns to private.lives@theguardian.com (please don’t send attachments). Each week, Pamela chooses one problem to answer, which will be published online. She regrets that she cannot enter into personal correspondence. Submissions are subject to our terms and conditions: see gu.com/letters-terms.

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