The conversation often starts like this: “Can I talk to you about bedroom stuff?” These conversations often surround low sex drive, which makes sense as almost half of women living in the US who are between 30 and 70 years old have low libido or have sexual dysfunction. The struggle of libido is a hot topic of conversation with many of my clients. I might even go so far as to say it’s the number one issue women ask for help with.
There is a long laundry list of potential reasons for low libido. Before I lay that list out, I want to help you avoid overwhelm. Overwhelm is easy to fall into with a list like this and all overwhelm does is stop you from moving forward and finding solutions. Overwhelm is a choice, and never a good one.
My recommendation: Take this list as a check-point system. Start at the top, decide if this fits you at all. If it does, then it’s where you’re going to start working first to get your sex drive back! If it doesn’t fit you at all, then just move to the next one.
Medications ranging from birth control to antidepressants to cough medicine can have a significant impact on libido. So take a few moments to read the fine print or talk to your doctor about potential alternatives. In fact, regular exercise, such as a brisk walk, acts as an antidepressant AND it has longer-last effects than most medications.
Pregnancy and Postpartum effects libido also, although it can be more of an eb and flow, particularly with pregnancy. Some women experience intense sexual arousal during different stages of pregnancy, and then decreased arousal during other stages. Every woman is different; pay attention to what your body is telling you and act on that.
As for postpartum, many women find themselves working through emotional highs and lows which can easily lead to depression, anxiety and lowered libido. To avoid this downward spiral, make a point to get up every day, put a fresh outfit (even if it’s a new set of jammies) and do the one or two things that feeds your soul: Maybe it’s reading a good book, or doing some light exercise or writing or meditating… Activities like this, even when you don’t feel like it, will help steer you away from depression.
This would be a good time to bring up how sleep depravation can greatly cause a lowered sex-drive. The average adult NEEDS between 7 and 9 hours of sleep every night; the average adult GETS less than 7 hours of sleep at night. So let’s get real for a minute: Good sex takes energy, and sleep is the fuel for that engery. And here’s another fun fact for you: Sex before going to bed at night can help you sleep better! This is #Winning in my book, ya’ll.
Menopause, post and pre is widely known cause a lowered libido. This is another eb and flow situation. Allow you, your body and your partner the space and love to figure out what works. Many women have actually come full circle from menopause and are having the best sex of their lives. How? By allowing space and time to redisocver their sexualirty. What turns you on might look different, feel different. Bottom line: Don’t give up.
Let’s talk about stress baby. Another common cause of low libido because with high amounts of stress, a higher amount of cortisone is released in your brain. Cortisol is known as the stress hormone. Too much of this hormone and it’s easy to fall into depression and anxiety, which only further decreases libido.
So what are some steps to take to start relieving that stress? Orgasms are a legit stress reliever and a virater can be a great asset here. A few other simple, daily practices to relieve stress are exercise, gratitude journaling and meditation.
Now, believe it or not, a cluttered living space can inhibit your ability to ride that “O” Train from one statoin to the next. Let’s say your main area for love making is the bedroom. As a woman, you are more apt to be aware that you are surrounded by stuff: piles of laundry, clothes spilling out of the dresser, the vanity piled high with papers and books, a night stand that needs a total makeover…
In the back of your mind, you are probably making a mental note or list of things that need to get done. Now, if you’ve made it this far with me today and you’re starting to roll your eyes, imagine if your bedroom was everything you wanted it to be: Organized, clutter free, a comfortable place for your mind and body to rest. Hello to the “O” Train!!!
Hormones are a big conversation for women because there are, again, many factors involved. The thing is, is that a hormonal imbalance may be cause for lessened sex drive. The best way to find out where you are is a spit test. I recommend HealthConfirm Hormone Vitality Test Plus. Now, most doctors will offer you a blood test to check your hormones.
It’s easier for them, however it doesn’t provide optimal results for what is really going on. A spit test is usually something you have to special order. The really neat thing is that depending on what company you purchase from, there is usually an option to work with a specialist once results are in.
Not every reason for low libido is obvious. Shame/Guilt/Judgements you may have expereinced in the past surrounding the conversation of sex could be playing a significant role in your sex drive. For instance, if you grew up in church, you might have received a message that sex is wrong and shouldn’t be talked about (Shame/guilt/judgement).
A healthier message might have been: There is a specific design for sex, and let’s talk about it. This piece is going to look different for everyone. The first step in this situation is to identify the messages you have received growing up and decide what is true or not. This conversation best happens with a trusted friend, partner or counselor.
Weight gain is also a surprising cause for lowered libido. While people of all different shapes and sizes enjoy great sex, the process of weight gain can cause lessened sex drive on a more emotional level, which can lead to the physical level. Maybe you had a baby, maybe life got stressful or maybe there is a new medication in play to cause some weight gain.
You are still the beautiful, sexy goddess as 2 years ago or 10 years ago. Spend some time getting to know your new body. With change and time comes new experiences. Splurge on a new piece of lingerie, turn the lights down and strut into your clutter-free bedroom and get back to the fun of sex!
A hysterectomy and other medical procedures could be a cause in low libido for you. It’s okay to allow the eb and flow here for a while as you heal and reconnect with your changed body. Specific products can greatly help get you back into the sexy swing of things. The key here is to allow for open communication with your partner, rediscover each other.
One fun activity you can try is locking the bedroom door, lay on the bed either naked or with lingerie or bra and panties. Close your eyes (a blindfold helps), play some music and relax as your partner touches your body. This is not meant to be a sexaul exercise (although it sure can turn into one!). The purpose is for you to allow your partner to get to know your body again, every line, every freckle, every dimple. This can be a very powerful exercise, and I encourage you to step into vulnerability and give it a try.
The final reason you may have low libido might be relational strife. Is there any unresolved conflict, big or small, present or past? An unresolved issue from 10 years ago still lives in the back of your mind. And let’s be honest, sex is one of the most intimate experiences this life has to offer. So if you’re in a place of shame, or resentment or anger, the last thing that feels good is getting naked and being intimate with your partner.
This conversation is a great wake up call for many couples. Get back to date night and discuss your differences on, for instance, where the kids should go to school. For some of those bigger, unresolved issues, professional counseling would be the next step. What you might find in this prociess is deeper intimacy and the best sex of your life!
Libido is a big conversation with so many factors playing a role. However, there are also many solutions to help you take back control of your sex life. Sex was God’s idea in the beginning, and it was designed for pleasure, first and foremost. Healthy sex can deepen intimacy between you and your partner. You will be stronger for taking the necessary steps to good, better and best sex. In that order!