Know that feeling when you just can’t get turned on?
Course you do. That’s why you’re here.
It feels pretty crappy. But what you really want to know is what to do next.
The NHS website and others have lists of what could be impacting your sex drive. Lots of them are focused around medical issues such as a lack of hormones, or scary things like problems in your relationship.
For me, I found there were sixteen reasons why my sex drive was low. So, I’ve worked on each of these areas in turn over the last year to try and improve my desire to have sex.
I’ve found that lots of the issues are interlinked, and I had to work through almost everything (yes they were/are all issues for me- it’s been a long slog!!) to see an improvement.
Although my sex drive is still a “work in progress”, I wanted to share some tips and tricks with you below about what I’ve learned to date.
My hard work is paying off and they’re really starting to work. I feel so excited that my vagina is not broken anymore 🙂
My boyfriend is even happier!
So, I hope my experiences can help you too. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below about if any of these issues have impacted upon you too.
(You can click the links to find out more about each step and what was involved if you’re interested in learning more)
Tip one: Start with the (wo)man in the mirror
*Sorry- anyone else got MJ in their head now? – I digress…..*
One of the biggest problems I had to realise at first was that sex just was not on my agenda.
Over time sex had slipped to the bottom of my to-do list because I was too busy, and I’d relegated it to the last thing I did at the end of each day, which often meant I was just so exhausted I didn’t want to. See my post on that here.
The worst thing was that I was quite happy plodding along without it. Which made me incredibly sad as to where that wild, sexual, sensual woman had gone. I used to love sex, and now it felt like a chore.
Making a decision to change this and prioritise sex was the hardest but most rewarding thing I’ve ever done! (see my post on making the change here).
I also realised that:
- I wasn’t broken, there are different types of sexual responses that are totally normal
- Sex drive issues are usually always medicalised, but perhaps society is more involved than I realised before
- My sex drive was just on pause. And my job was to press play. I felt so much more hopeful that there was a way of getting it back!
I then figured out there were two huge reasons why I didn’t prioritise sex:
Tip two: Stress kills libido
Because I was stressed the fuck out, my busy life and mind had completely frosted over my sex drive to the point that nothing could grow. It was like the wheels had ground to a halt, and I could see no way of getting started again.
I previously had no clue the devastating impact stress has on desire. Read more on how I learned to destress and the impact of this (basically, my libido began spluttering back to life!).
Tip three: anxiety puts the nail in the coffin
Constant worrying meant that any thoughts I had about sex whizzed out of my brain and were replaced by anxious ones. There was no space for me to even consider making love when in my own head I was waging war on my sense of self.
My sex drive had been so impacted by my mental health it felt impossible to believe in a normal sex life without worries! Reviving my libido and thawing the frost meant de-stressing and creating a peaceful background in my brain against which I could relax. I could then deal with my anxiety when it flared up- it now feels like a dripping tap that I can deal with, rather than a flood. And the control over my anxious thoughts has meant my libido has come bouncing back Find out more about anxiety and sex drives in my post on how I learned to relax.
Tip four: reject the idea that only a certain body type is sexy.
My idea of what is sexy had been warped so much by the media that I found myself looking in the mirror feeling disgusted, repulsed and sad.
Then I had a revelation: being sexy is NOTHING to do with how you look and ALL about how you FEEL.
I found Ashley Graham on Pinterest and all my body confidence woes fell away because I realised that any body type can be sexy. And life is too short to be anything less than in love with what I’ve got!
Tip five: “surrender… to the point of foolishness”
I realised that I couldn’t actually relax and “let go” during sex, which was because I felt shy, ashamed and scared of being judged in the bedroom (even with my long term and very supportive boyfriend!).
However, I figured out how I could manually override panic mode and step into pleasure mode by some tips and tricks you can read about here.
Tip six: fantasies and imagination
I couldn’t remember the last time I’d fantasised about sex, and without fantasy, what do we have to look forwards to? So I learnt all about sex and the power of our imagination to open up my mind to making love again.
Tip seven: scents and sensuality
Jane Austen would be horrified if she knew how disconnected I was from my own sensuality. Maybe I’d never even been connected in the first place! We’re spoon fed by porn to the point that my imagination was almost dead because it never had any exercise- how about yours?
So I found time to engage my senses- touch, smell, sight, sound, taste, to feel sexual again and reawaken my fantasies. And create some new ones!
Tip eight: work through physical or emotional trauma
So although this wasn’t my experience, I really wanted to include this to show the impact it has on desire. Things like abuse, assault, child birth, surgery etc.
Tip nine: reconnect to your body
I was stuck in my own head! Sex is all about the body, and I was completely disconnected from my movements, body and locked into my mind (and my anxiety). Doing exercise, specifically yoga, and unifying my body and mind was such an incredible experience and I literally saw changes within days!
Tip ten: hormones
My hormones had gone bloody mad- no wonder I was feeling like my sex drive had died! This is one so many women recognise because of child birth, contraceptives and menopause. I got my thyroid checked out, changed contraceptives, and took some supplements to feel better.
Tip eleven: I found out my sexual blueprint
I realised I was so turned off sex because of how I’d been feeling (and the patterns I’d got into in my relationship) I had to make sex a more attractive option. Part of this was learning how to enjoy it and myself again. Finding my sexual blueprint was a major stepping stone along the way because it made me realise there was so much more to the initiation of sex than just being propositioned bluntly before bed!
Tip twelve: the mind blower!
Why the fuck are we not taught this in school? And why aren’t there billboards advertising this on every street corner? Women! We desperately need to spread this message:
It’s not your partner that turns you on.
YOU TURN YOURSELF ON!
This blew my tiny mind. I had to create my own sexuality, not just passively be turned on by him touching me? This happens because no women are taught about pleasure, and the old messages used to just be “lie back and think of England” not anything about proactively seeking our own sexual enjoyment.
It’s empowering to realise that taking control of your own pleasure and knowing what you want sexually is all within your reach.
You need to keep on and on and on at this one- work at it every day and turn yourself on over and over until you see a difference. Treat your sex drive like a boiler in winter. It won’t take long 😉
Tip thirteen: basically, stop having shite sex you don’t want
I worked out that I was having “Brussel sprout sex” (aka just the sex that’s served up) and learned how to ask for what I want. Life’s too short not to!
Tip fourteen : Make your relationship better:
Finally, I worked out that it takes two to tango (and increase your sex drive!). Because I’d withdrawn from intimacy because of the above issues, we’d created some unhelpful patterns in our relationship, so these needed to be ironed out.
I needed to fix ongoing and underlying relationship issues and the distance between us (our difference in sex drive was a mega one!) to feel happy, safe and content together and before I could be attracted to my boyfriend again. We did a lot of talking at this point to patch things up- and we’re in a better place than we’ve ever been!
Tip fifteen: break out of your sexual rut/routine
I realised we were stuck in the most boring, old married couple, stagnant sexual relationship known to man. And it needed spicing up!
However, this involved so much more than lingerie, a dirty weekend away and a sex toy! We needed to crank up the tease and anticipation factor, but just in very simple everyday ways. It’s also about the “power of the snog”- my secret weapon in the fight against the low libido!
Tip sixteen: take back control
There’s nothing sexier than being in control. And when your partner has pestered you for sex and you’ve played the role of the unwilling recipient for so long, you’re likely so ground down that the thought of initiating sex is laughable.
After following the tips above and if you’re finding yourself feeling generally more switched on to your sex drive, now you’ve got to take sex off the table, so you have time to initiate. It’s fucking exciting (literally) being back in the driving seat!
So, that’s it, in a nutshell! My sex drive is still very much something I need to work on everyday, and I think always, but I’m so glad I have a little more clarity now about what’s needed and I feel ALIVE again after so long. The journey to get here has also been amazing!
How about you, do any of these areas impact on you too? I’d dearly love to know what you think in the comments at the bottom- having a low sex drive can feel very lonely at times!