Whenever I open up my email to questions from my list and followers, it is inevitable that I will get the following one: I have totally lost interest in sex and I don’t know what to do about it. She usually gives me a bit of background and lets me know that the love is still there but as for sex drive and a feeling that her libido is working? Ba-bow. She feels nada. Zip.
Now, before we press on, I want you to know that you do have a sex drive and a libido even if you don’t feel it. It is there, it exists…it is more a matter of whether you are willing to open the lid on it or not.
Libido liberation needs permission as its starting point. Specifically, it needs your permission.
You have to hold on to the fact that you have a sex drive and move on from this point with a sense of hope that you can reconnect with it (or maybe for the first time).
In short, believe you’ve got a sex drive or libido and have hope you will feel it.
Consider the following the sex education you never got. Today, I’m going to talk to you about what goes on on the inside and what goes on on the outside when it comes to your “low sex drive” (inverted commas to strongly insinuate that I don’t believe you have a low sex drive – you’ll soon see why).
Whoa, whoa, whoa there. I know you are eager but install this little manual first...
Your interest in sex comes from your head.
Your sex drive (or arousal) comes from your body.
When a woman says to me that she has a low sex drive and has lost interest in sex, what she is really saying is that both her head and her body have checked out. It’s a subtle type of fear response that we go into when we are protecting ourselves from perceived threats. The problem isn’t that we have them, the problem is that their repeated invasions in our lives causes blocks.
What could happening on the INSIDE
Problem – how you talk to yourself
For starters, if you can, drop the words sex drive. You are not an engine or a machine that can just be started up and propelled into action. When I hear the words sex drive, they sound kind of masculine to me and personally don’t describe the way I feel about my capacity to be sexually expressive.
Words are powerful and can be the deciding factor as to whether you take action or not. If someone said to me, you don’t have a sex drive, I would feel like shit. I probably wouldn’t take action because I am not motivated to. I would consider my options, shrug my shoulders and say…what’s the point in even trying?
But if someone asked me: How do you feel about your libido? I would take pause and think…hmmm maybe it needs more attention and TLC. Rather than feel disempowered, I would be enticed to take action because the motivation would come from within me.
Let’s move you forward by making a pledge. From this moment on, you do not describe yourself as not having a libido or a sex drive nor do you use the words: I am just not a sexual person. Your libido won’t flourish if it keeps hearing, thinking and believing this because these terms are absolute.
Problem – how you really feel about sex as a woman
What usually or commonly lives underneath the feeling that you don’t have a libido or aren’t interested in sex is that, at some point, you may have decided that being sexually expressive wasn’t compatible with your identity. There are so many cultural influences at play in all of us but one of the things that we are lacking as women is positive sexual role models that are married, mothers, single or in long-term relationships that are beyond their youthful years.
What I am trying to say is: how many women can you think of that display a healthy attitude about being a sexual woman and a wife/partner and mother and employee that are 30 years or older in age? Why does the sexual hat get tossed away when the other identities come into our lives?
It may also be that we equate getting serious about our lives with dropping the need to have sex because it is [insert word here] fun? Pointless? Goal-less? Frivolous? Pleasurable when we should be getting shit done?
At the heart of it, we have lost touch with activities that are purposeless because we are so used to striving.
If we describe the sex we are having as boring, predictable or perfunctory then it begs the question: Sex - what is in it for you? (known as incentive in sex-geek literature).
I ask my clients this one and it quietly takes them aback. They haven’t really thought about it in this way because the focus has usually been on “Sex - there’s nothing in it for me”. Asking what is in it for us brings us to the very important point that there needs to be something in it for you. We can’t just be 100% selfless in sex and women that are completely selfless don’t end up feeling all that much. They are taken out of their experience and arousal because the focus and attention is on the other person. In its most extreme, it can feel like you are performing for someone else or have you feeling used.
If you don’t know it already, this saying is an oldie but a goodie:
Where attention goes, energy flows
Bring your attention inward and focus on your own experience and the two of you will benefit.
Keep all of your attention on your partner and for the most part, only one of you will benefit.
It’s easy to think that being sexual is somewhat similar to being selfish but I’ll reframe it this way:
Being sexual is self-centred in that we look out for our own needs and are drawn to sex when we have an incentive.
It always has been and it always will be this way (unless AI and robots totally change all of this...you get what I mean).
Your solution to saying that there is nothing in it for you is to ask yourself what IS in it for you? If you find yourself empty handed and not knowing what to do or look for, head to a previous blog of mine titled ‘How to work out what you like in sex’ – it’s got the gold (just be sure to read the rest of this first).
Problem: Your internal state isn’t sexy
I litter my social media feeds with snippets of what your insides need to be sexy so, at some point, go read those posts (Instagram is my fave-fave). It’s a challenge to summarise all those nuggets of wisdom but it comes down to this. If your nervous system (we gotta love it – it ain’t going anywhere!) is tired but wired, if you thrive off the words ‘busy’ and ‘stressed’ your body will get the message that being sexual isn’t a priority because staying alive and fighting off threats IS the priority. Not prioritising down-regulating and relaxing states that are free of alcohol and other drugs is necessary. I’m mentioning alcohol because it may relax you initially but ends up putting further stress on your nervous system, which keeps your libido quiet.
Your body wants love and nourishment in how you feed it and how you move it. Drop the binge and starvation approaches to your lifestyle, avoid the extreme diets and cleanses and find what works for you to feel like the absolute premium version of you. After all, don’t you want to feel good? Sounds obvious but we humans sabotage. Oh how we sabotage.
Choose movement (not exercise – it’s too laden with obligation) that is fun and makes you smile. Eat in a way that your body responds to favourably. My favourite is still eating for my menstrual cycle because it makes the most sense to me and nurtures me through the four phases of my monthly cycle.
Most importantly, give yourself permission to relax and down-regulate. This means that you are giving your nervous system a chance to switch from being up-regulated to being down. Like anything in life, you can’t be up ALL the time so savour the downs and use them to recharge.
If you are nodding your head reading this and thinking…But Lauren…I’m all over the mindset/how I talk to myself/looking after my health stuff and I still feel like my interest for my partner is falling short/non-existent! then it’s time to take a look at your relationship dynamics and all that is going on outside of you.
What could be happening on the OUTSIDE
Let’s talk your relationship and the environment it exists in.
Problem: You may have also lost interest in sex because you don’t need it as a tool anymore.
What? You’re thinking.
Me use sex as a tool? Never!
Just, hear me out.
Maybe you unknowingly used sex as a tool in the past – a tool to increase your chances of being liked and loved. Maybe you used sex to keep someone else happy or to placate them. This isn’t blame game time…more awareness raising time.
Is it possible that you feel so safe and secure in your current relationship that you have nothing to prove?
Could it be that you know that you love them and they love you regardless of what happens so you don’t need to use sex now to confirm your relationship status or feel loved?
Using fear as a tactic to get you motivated to change is a crappy way of going about things buuuut I will say this. Your sexual intimacy is really the ONE piece that makes your relationship different from other relationships in your life if you have chosen monogamy. In fact, choice and choosing are really important terms because – as the phenomenal Esther Perel says: when we are in a monogamous relationship, we are choosing each other again and again. Don’t expect your partner to hang around just because. Facilitate them wanting to stay in the relationship by choosing you every day over every other woman out there.
You don’t need sex as a tool to gain something anymore but you will choose to use it as an expression of the love that already exists.
And when I say sex, let’s talk the broad definition. Sex in a long-term relationship doesn’t always have to mean intercourse. It can be a simple cheeky wink and smile when you pass each other in the most monotonous situations. Broaden your definition of sex and your will notice you are probably having more sex than you realise.
Problem: Your lifestyle isn’t sexy
It’s night-time. You are wearing your home clothes (mmm sexy) and you settle in for another ep of your favourite Netflix show and grab your favourite snacks. This quality time can be the sweetest medicine for the two of you or it could be a routine that you both have that is falling flat and spelling boredom. Security and safety together has become so safe that all your risk-taking in the earlier days has fallen off the radar.
Cue the novelty injection. You two need a shake up to remind each other why you are together. I’ll put a link at the bottom of this to download my Pleasure Map because that has ALL the details how you can do that. It is so telling that novelty in the day and reconnecting within a new environment makes women so much more willing to be intimate. Think of your dates and outings as foreplay. When quality time together feels good, so will the sex that you have later on.
Feeling a bit better now?
A little bit clearer about where your sex drive is and where your interest might have wandered?
Excellent. Because that is all I not-so-secretly want for women. A chance to feel less alone, less in the dark, less judgmental and more curious about how their libido (FKA sex drive) is moving and where their interest for sex has gone. Call it back in and it will show up. Promise.
Need more? Download my Pleasure Map from the freebies section of my site to get my top 10 tips for your special dates. Easy.
Need more more? Women step forward into the introductory session with me because they are done with feeling awkward and uncomfortable about sex. All they know is they are blocked and their pressured thoughts are running their libido rather than their juicy bodies. I would be honoured to walk alongside you. Everything you need to know about sessions is here.