Why do I have low sexual desire?
(Re)Igniting Your Sexual Desire
It’s quite possible that with the current state of the world (hello worldwide pandemic, stressful lives, complicated relations, etc.), you find yourself in a sexual rut, or having a sexless or unsatisfactory sex life. Note that we are not exclusively talking about partnered sex, this can also happen to you and yourself!
🔎 You may be asking yourself questions like: why don't I feel like having sex? Why is my libido so low? Why does sex feel like a chore? Will my sexual desire come back? These questions are completely normal and your sexual desire might be missing in action for a multitudes of reasons. If you are just fine with your situation, then great: keep calm and carry on. But, if you feel like this is an issue in your life, keep on reading, we have a couple of paths for you to explore!
Why are you not having sex?
It is normal in any relationship to have periods when you are having a fairly good amount of sex (think early relationship stages) and moments when things slow down. I also want to point out that there is no ‘’normal’’ frequency to have sex, the statistics we read online, in magazines, etc. should be taken with a grain of salt, since they usually come with no context at all. Plus, not everyone have the same level of sexual desire and this can vary from day to day, so communication with your partner is always an important part!
But if you feel like your lack of desire or sexual activities are problematic, here are some things you can look into.
It is almost considered normal to feel stress or to experience some kind of stress in your day-to-day life. Roughly 25% of the Canadian population say they experience it (moderately to extremely) at one point in their day. So how does stress can affect your sex life?
Stress can put pressure on sexuality by making it seem like one more activity where you have to perform and where your performance will be reviewed. Even more so if you have trouble reaching orgasm, since it is often viewed as the must have culmination of any sexual intercourse. Stress can also affect your hormonal balance and disrupt other aspects from the way you perceive yourself to your natural vaginal lubrication.
⬇️ Tips on how to reduce stress
To reduce your daily stress, take a step back. What is causing you stress and do you have some control over it. Can you bring small changes in your life to reduce that stress and to help you manage it?
If your stress does not come from a clean cut source, these activities could help you to relax:
- Receiving a massage (professional or not)
- Implementing a good-quality sleep routine
- Doing breathing exercises
- Starting or ending your day with yoga
Unexpressed frustration or anger and repressed emotions 😠
Obviously, if you are feeling some kind of resentment toward your partner this might get in the way of sex. It is not uncommon to feel frustration, anger or negative emotions towards your significant other at one point, but the problem arises when these feelings are repressed or unexpressed.
Try to be open and to have a flowing communication with the other person. If the issue is important or if you have trouble expressing your feelings, write down what you want to talk about first, it will help you to set your ideas in place. Communication is key in any relationship, but even more so when this relation is intimate. If you feel the issue is too big to tackle or that you are past a certain point, there is no shame in seeking professional help!
Not feeling ‘’sexy’’ enough or desirable 💃
The vision and the way we feel about ourselves are extremely biased to what we see on a daily basis mostly from the media and social media, but also from our upbringing, education, friends, family, etc. The idea that to have sex (or at least what is mostly seen in mainstream media) you need to be young, thin, white, heteronormative, etc. can definitely affect they way you perceive yourself.
It can bring about a negative self-image, make you feel undesirable and lower your libido as well as your desire to have sex! And unfortunately, these negative feelings you have about your body will most likely get in the way of you fully enjoying a sexual or intimate moment. You may worry about what you look or sound like or worry what the other person will think and then you might not be fully present. You can try techniques related to mindful masturbation and slow sex to help anchor yourself in the present moment.
⬇️ Tips on feeling sexy
There is unfortunately no magic potion you can take that will make you feel sexy and confident. It is a constant work in progress that implies checking on yourself and your thoughts, changing what you think into positive thoughts or at least neutral thoughts. But you don't need to go through this process alone! And please do yourself a favor and unfollow, stop talking to or engaging with anything and anyone that makes you feel bad or doubt yourself!
We suggest that you:
- Follow body-positive accounts (I Weight, Jess Megan, Jessica Prudencio, Lindsay Umlah, She got the pink)
- Follow sex-positive accounts (Gabrielle Kassel, Shrimpteeth, What’s my body doing, Club Sexu, June Pilote, Jenn Doan)
- Read informative/feminists texts (Come as you are, Comme des lapins, Sex Ed for Adults, Women don’t owe you pretty)
- Try role-play, it's a fun way to step out of your comfort zone
- Buy lingerie, even if it's just for yourself
- When looking at yourself in the mirror, try to identify 3 parts of your body that makes you proud
Low self-esteem 😔
Low self-esteem can also be tied in with feeling undesirables and a negative self-image, but goes a little bit deeper. It is not only how you externally perceive yourself, but also internally. This could result in doubting yourself during intimate or sexual moments, holding you back and not being able to fully enjoy it or even stopping you from having intimate moments altogether.
Low self-esteem is sometimes deeply rooted into our psyche and can be quite difficult to overcome. Again, as previously mentioned, cutting back any negative relations can be an effective action toward healing as well as not overthinking things, focusing on the positive rather than the negative aspects of your life, giving yourself a break, listing what you like about yourself, learning to accept compliments, reading books on self-love, taking care of your mental and physical health or seeking professional are all good options to increase your self-esteem.
📚 Our top 3 books to love yourself a little bit more each day:
- The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor
- I thought it was just me (but it isn’t) by Brené Brown
- Girl, wash your face by Rachel Hollis
Sex is litteraly painful ⚡
Perhaps you are not having sex because it is litteraly painful or uncomfortable, which is totally understandable! From vaginal dryness, vaginismus, endometriosis, erectile dysfunction to postpartum, there are a lot of reasons why sex might be painful for you. If this is your case, our number one advice would be to seek professional medical help, such as a gynecologist or a pelvic floor physical therapist.
Otherwise, in regards to vaginal dryness, try to stay hydrated, avoid alcohol before sex, try to increase you vitamin E intake and use lube! If penetration is painful, you can also try new positions or use pillows to make you more comfortable, try mutual masturbation, use a sex toy, have oral sex, give/receive a massage or make foreplay the star of the show. Note that foreplay can be the start and finish line of your sexual intercourse and that penetration is not required for you to ‘’have sex’’. Sex is whatever you want it to be and whaterever feels good!
➡️ If you want to learn how to enhance your masturbation session, click here!
Hormonal changes 🌀
We go through a lot of hormonal changes during a lifetime, think: teenage years, getting pregnant, nursing, menopause, menstrual cycle, hormonal contraceptive methods, etc. These different situations can bring your libido to new heights, but it can also make it drop.
If a situation is in your control (contraceptive method, for example), then it may be worth looking into other options. If the hormonal change is out of your control, you can try mapping your hormonal cycle and day-to-day life (how you are feeling, energy level, sleep quality, libido, etc.). Hopefully this will give you a better understanding of recurrent patterns and help you to manage it better.
❕ Quick tip: if you feel like you have low libido try not to wait for spontaneous sexual desire/arousal to engage in a sexual activity but rather try to use responsive desire. Meaning that you consciously engage in an activity that will spark sexual desire.
Feeling too tired 💤
Being tired or having low energy is another very common reason for not wanting to have sex or feeling a drop in your sexual desire. Many things can drain your energy over the course of a week: taking care of others, overworking, aging, lacking good sleep or having insomnia, feeling like you must get everything done, living with depression or anxiety, carrying a heavy mental load, etc. Most of these things can be managed by doing some lifestyle adjustments, choose what is realistic and doable according to your life.
⬇️ Tips for feeling less tired:
- Share the load with someone if you can, don’t be afraid to ask for help. It is not a sign of weakness
- Make lists and prioritize what must be done and what can be set aside
- Re-think your work/life ratio, can you make some adjustments or set boundaries (cell phones make it very easy to be on the job past your ‘’regular’’ hours)
- Try to introduce exercises in your week, it will most likely improve the quality of your sleep and will benefit your overall health
- Have self-care moments as often as possible or as is realistic. Maybe this means once per day or once per week, but make sure to find time for yourself
- Examine what you eat, could it be healthier? Good, nutritious food will give you more energy
- Have a good bed routine, so no screen 3 hours before going to bed, no caffeine, no chocolates, etc. And keep in mind that your bed should be used to sleep, have sex or read
- Have a meditation/breathing session before going to bed, you can use free apps like Fit On or Calm to get you started
If despite the adjustments you make you are still feeling tired or drained, we recommend that you seek professional advice.
Getting back into it
We got into why you might not be having any sexual desires or a low libido and how to improve these particular aspects. These are all possible solutions to look at to get back into a healthy sexual life, and once you feel less tired, more confident, more sexy, or whatever it was that was blocking you from have sex, the trick is to just basically do it. Don’t overthink it, don’t wait for that perfect-movie-spontaneous moment, don’t assume the other person will know you are ‘’in the mood’’, etc.!
‘’Having sex increases libido. Having sex is the single best thing to do about lack of desire.’’
- Jill Blakeway (Sex Again: Recharging your libido)
And don’t feel like you should aim for your ideal sex life right away - start small, no pressure. Maybe wear lingerie under your clothes, kiss with intention rather than just a small peck, go on a date without sexual expectations, send a naughty text or picture to your partner (with consent), have a make out session, a sensual massage… you get the idea. And last but not least, communication and openedmind-ness! Even if this is a you VS you type of situation. Let the other party know you want to start having a sexual life again, talk about your desires and fantasies, talk about making time for you to be intimate. If you need to schedule it in your agenda, go for it - no shame in scheduling pleasure! Sexuality and intimacy are an important part of a relationship and an honest conversation should only do you good.
‘’Any kind of positive touching is good for you, for your body, your mood, your relationship, and your overall sense of well-being.’’
- Jill Blakeway (Sex Again: Recharging your libido)
At Désirables, we strongly believe that a healthy sex life is part of a healthy lifestyle. If this blog resonated with you, try to change your habits and to make adjustments slowly but surely. Small changes can do a lot of good to enhance your physical and mental health.
And when having sex, keep in mind that: Pleasure should be a journey, orgasm should not be the ultimate goal!
Book : Sex Again: Recharging your libido by Jill Blakeway