When you realise your libido is low, or MIA, you look outward first, right?
Is it them?
Is it our bedroom?
Is it a technique issue?
Should we buy some sort of product to fix this?
And sure, it might be one or all of these things that's contributing.
But I'd rather tell you what it really is.
The real thing that's holding your libido back is your perfectionism.
You know - your inclination to want things a certain exact/precise way, to control lots of things (read: everything) and your need to have everything, well…perfect.
Perfectionism is a testament to how you strive and how much shit you get done.
It's an incredible driving force for a spreadsheet or a mortgage document.
It's just not a great bedfellow.
You might love perfection but your libido doesn't.
One may even go so far as to say, perfectionism is the enemy of a good libido.
Our libido is an immeasurable part of us. It is feelings and sensations based whereas perfectionism is goals and outcomes driven.
Libido feels. Perfectionism does.
When we're in the midst of perfectionism, our bodies go into a stress state. Let's call this UP.
When we are in the bedroom and are looking to feel arousal, curiosity, desire and interest, we need to be in a MIDDLE state - I call this the sweet spot.
At the end of the day, when we want to sleep, we go into a DOWN state.
Perfectionists know the UP and the DOWN pretty well but the MIDDLE…that is a very uncomfortable place to be.
In the middle, we aren’t meddling or controlling. We are (scientifically speaking) in a state of FLOW. It happens when we are in creative output, play and sex. It’s not that perfectionists don’t go into flow, it’s more that they don’t go seeking it. It can feel good like it does for most humans – it’s the ambiguity of it that doesn’t feel comfortable when perfection is the desired outcome.
When it comes to flow states, a perfectionist will naturally ask: But what does this achieve?
And sex, creativity and play isn’t about achieving. It’s about having FUN and being in JOY!
Before I give you some tips around fun + joy, it’s important to clarify something…
A common misconception of perfectionism is that perfectionists will try and do everything well.
No, no, no, no. This is not the case.
Perfectionists will attempt tasks that they feel they will be perfect at and abandon others early on (or not start at all) – even if other people see their initial progress as really good or having great potential.
That all-or-nothing mindset can totally restrain a perfectionist from fully living life because: what is the point in doing it if it isn’t done perfectly?
What I see in my private process is similar. When perfectionists don't “get sex” or feel accomplished at it, they can abandon attempting sex and sometimes also affection, altogether. Why try something only to get a half baked response?
After all, perfectionism wants perfection.
“Lauren, I’m a perfectionist - what can I do?”
It's totally possible to be a perfectionist and enjoy sex and feel your libido.
A lot of this is about valuing small, perfect moments in an act of sex, and appreciating that the imperfections are where a lot of the beauty is.
Sex is not a performance. There is no award or medal for perfect sex.
Women want to let go in sex but are unwilling to let go in life.
We’ve got to bridge that gap. It’s easier to let go when we start experimenting with the life stuff first.
Letting go with the life stuff might look like…
…letting someone else make the plans (and not criticising them)
…having a messy corner or room of your home
…allowing people to see you not looking made up or perfect
…submitting/sending something that is mostly good - like an email, greeting card or blog
…having or giving yourself space to have no plans or tasks for an afternoon or whole day
….engaging in play with your partner, a child, a dog - frisbee anyone?
What all of these suggestions a tapping into is your need to surrender, allow and come down into the sweet spot a bit.
Getting stressed sweating the small stuff and constantly worrying is taking precious libido energy away from you. It's totally cool to want things a certain way - don't change that. But consider the toll it's having on your life - intimate and otherwise.
The way I help a perfectionist isn't by saying…
Just let go or
This isn't about quickly switching from being UP to DOWN.
Instead, we wade into the waters of reducing the need to have everything perfect by bringing in the sensations and feelings that get neglected and ignored when achieving and hitting goals is stealing the show. All of those feelings are there, it’s just we’ve got to slow down and go inward so that we can start to notice them.
Quick Sex Tips for Perfectionists :
1) Try to change up only doing high intensity exercise and goal orientated movement. Add something that is free flow. (As you read this - keep breathing…don't stop breathing!) Dance is my favourite way of letting go but for other people it could be yoga or a meditation class. I’m recommending these because what our body does in dance and yoga looks and feels a lot more like sex than CrossFit and HIIT.
Feeding perfectionism with how you move your body has its downsides. Consider making movement your respite from perfectionism and drop following #instaperfect stuff online.
Your movement in exercise can be a mirror for how you move in sex - are you lifting weights or are you moving with sensuality?
2) Try to decompress before sex. Going into the bedroom stressed and in your head isn’t ideal. Swim, shower or have a bath (if you've got one)…get some contact with water. I sometimes garden or water the lawn to decompress. It’s all about being with an element of nature even if you can't get into nature. I also recommend sex not happening with alcohol or after 8:30pm as our body starts to wind down for sleep by that time.
Talking is a great way to decompress - is there a friend or family member that you can vent to in the day so that you feel a but clearer to be present with your partner? Releasing the disappointments and frustrations is necessary so that they aren’t taking up valuable real estate when intimacy is happening.
3) Use your need for things in the bedroom to be a certain way by initiating sex - create the space the way that feels good for you. Invite your partner in the way that you wish you were invited by them. When sex is happening, say this to yourself…
Sex is not a routine.
Sex is not perfunctory.
Sex needs me to flow and open and laugh and feel free.
Sex has the potential to give me respite from my perfectionism.
4) Move out of contraction. Perfectionism makes for a tight body and that observation isn't about body shape and size. The anxiety of expecting everything to be perfect causes our muscles to contract in preparation for the bad thing that is coming. It may not be real but your body will definitely interpret worry and negative anticipation as bad-thing-that-is-coming. Your best ally for contraction is an exhale.
A contracted and tight body stays on the inhale and breathes shallowly. Turning your core muscles off and breathing into your belly (Yes - let IT go) with your jaw open works to let your body know that you are safe.
Soft belly, Open jaw.
Give your body the message that it's safe and you're in a better position to come down from perfectionism.
I know what it's like to want things a certain way and to appreciate perfect beauty and order.
What I needed to ask myself one day was:
What's the cost?
What's the cost of that innocuous thing being perfect?
Who is left out or pushed aside when I am in pursuit mode?
Turns out - the cost was connection…
…with my partner
…with my children
…with my family
Tipping the scales to value sensations and feelings just like you value doing and executing isn't easy but the rewards are high.
Move aside perfectionism. It's libido’s turn.
P.S. If you don’t want to be held back any longer, it’s time for us to work together. Take the first step and book in your free, private discussion with me via my sessions page and we’ll speak soon.