The Feeling is Gone: How to Get it Back

Why it’s important: For many couples, sex bonds their relationship. However, when sex becomes a source of conflict and friction, it can drive them apart. Sex is good for your physical and emotional health. When we are connected to our sexuality, we feel more alive.

A Few Facts About Sexual Desire

It’s almost impossible for partner’s to have matching desire: Differences in sexual desire is one of the most common sexual concerns that couples have.

Our sexual desire has peaks and valleys and is influenced by many variables. Even if you find a partner whose sex drive is similar to yours, chances are that you and your partner will not always want sex at the same time.

Every sexual relationship will experience differences in sexual desire. Even if both partners have the same level of sexual desire, they will not always want sex at the same time, in the same way. And even if they do, there will be a time when one or both of the partners' desire for sex will change. The difference in sexual desire is not the problem, it's the meaning we give it and how we manage these differences that matter most. The real problem in relationships arises when there is a lack of communication and understanding between partners when they experience a disparity in their sexual desire for each other.

Sexual desire is not linear or necessary to enjoy sex. Most women require sexual and/or emotional stimulation to experience desire and/or arousal. You can become physically aroused and enjoy sex without experiencing sexual desire.

Questions to ask yourself:

Do I have sexual fantasies?

Do I experience arousal with sexual stimulation?

Do I think of or engage in self-pleasuring?

Do I want to want to want sex?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then ask yourself if your lowered desire may be connected with having sex with your partner. If “yes”, then look at emotional health and/or relationship health below to see what might be getting in the way of your desire to have sex with your partner.

Causes of Lost or Lowered Desire

Physical Health:

Medications Talk to your Doctor about sexual side effects and the possibility of changing your prescription(s). The birth control pill can cause low libido in females when levels of Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG) are elevated. SHBG binds to sex hormones, including testosterone, rendering them unavailable. SSRI antidepressants can also cause your libido to take a dive.

Hormone Imbalance Get a check-up and have your hormones checked. If you’ve recently had a baby, it’s normal to have hormonal highs and lows. If you are menopausal and notice a significant decrease in your sex drive, you might benefit from HRT (hormone replacement therapy).

Cardio Vascular Health and Muscle Tone Exercise and eat healthy food. You don’t have to join a gym to get healthy. Start with short daily walks or dancing around the house…move your body! Doing Kegel exercises for you pelvic floor muscles will also get your blood flowing and increase your sexual pleasure.

Sexual Pain Do you experience pain during intercourse? Some possible causes include vaginismus, lack of sufficient arousal or lubrication, infection, and ovarian cysts. Make sure that you are sufficiently aroused before engaging in intercourse, and use a good water-based lubricant. If you are still experiencing sexual pain, make an appointment with a gynecologist and/or AASECT certified sex therapist (AASECT.ORG).

Smoking, Drinking, Drugs All can negatively affect your physical health and sexual response.

Emotional and Mental Health:

Inability to Relax and Distractions Relaxation exercises, letting things go, asking for help. Focus on pleasure, rather than performance. Be mindful; focus on the moment.

Negative Thoughts, Fear, Stress, Guilt, Anxiety, Shame, Depression These thoughts and feelings are something we all experience in different degrees at some time in our life, especially when it comes to sex. Women are given many mixed messages about how we should and shouldn’t be, feel, and act. Do a personal inventory to discover how these messages might be interfering with your emotional and sexual health.

Unrealistic Expectations We all have them. They could be about your partner, yourself, or about sex. If they’re too high, you are setting yourself up for disappointment. If they’re too low, you are settling for mediocrity.

Body Image Masturbate to increase your awareness, knowledge, acceptance of, and comfort with your body. Learn to love your body by accepting it and/or improving it.

Become Sensual Increase your awareness and enjoyment of the world as experienced through the five senses; touch, taste, smell, sight, and hearing. Do what makes you feel sexy. Perhaps it’s wearing silk lingerie or a new perfume, or listening to Bach.

Relationship Health:

Connection - Address Resentment/Anger Are there issues and/or conflicts in the relationship that haven’t been discussed or worked thru? Relationship problems are the most common libido killers. Work on nurturing the relationship and creating connection by incorporating the three T’s (Touch, Talking, Time together) into your relationship.

Sexual Boredom and/or Dissatisfaction Be courageous and try new things; make a detailed list of what you will do, absolutely won’t do, and what you might be willing to try. Then discuss and make specific requests to your partner.

In and out sex and sex focus on the genitals can become boring and unsatisfying. Conscious connected sex can reawaken desire. Be present, and focus on feelings and on personal pleasure.

Increase Sexual Anticipation What puts you in the mood? Fantasy, reading erotica, or even watching sexually explicit films can do a lot to get our juices flowing. And don’t forget teasing…our desire is increased when there is an obstacle in the way. Make a mutual decision to ban intercourse or orgasm for a week and just focus on the pleasure you’re feeling.

If you feel like sex is for your partner or another thing to put on your “to do” list, Remember that sex can be a great source of pleasure, fun, and a way to feel closer with your partner. Try the above suggestions to be the sexual woman you were born to be. If you are still having difficulty, I recommend seeking the help of a certified sex therapist.

Click Here to learn more about Lori Buckley, Psy.D.