As the managing editor of a women’s health blog that covers, among many topics, sex and intimacy, you probably won’t be surprised to hear that I get asked a lot about low libido. And if that does surprise you, now ya know: If you’re questioning your libido, you definitely aren’t alone! What strikes me as interesting is how many questions, suggestions, and pitches I get—me, a stranger on the internet—about something so personal.
Even among progressive social circles, sex can still be a taboo topic. Especially when, instead of sharing the story of a thrilling romp with a sexy stranger, you’re telling your friends you have zero sex drive. Overall, my advice is to be honest: With yourself, your partner, a doctor or therapist, maybe even close friends you trust. There’s no need to suffer or doubt yourself in silence. Additionally, here are a few ideas for helping you get out of your low libido rut.
If you’ve been sexually active for at least a few years, you’ve probably seen your libido ebb and flow. For me, the last thing I need when I’m not feeling super interested in sex is to be made to feel bad that I’m not super interested in sex, which can often be mitigated by a quick heart to heart.
At the end of the day, many of us have “stuff” around sex—there have been times in our lives when we’ve felt less than beautiful or handsome or deserving, and a partner’s low libido can feel personal and make us insecure.
Communicating that you’re tired or stressed or simply not in the mood, while reminding your partner that it has nothing to do with them, puts both people at ease and makes it easier to work through a period of low desire together, with no bottled up frustration or insecurities.
What even is sex, anyway?
For couples in straight, cisgendered relationships, we often jump straight to penis-in-vagina (PIV) as the end all, be all of sex. Kait Scalisi, a sex educator who writes a weekly sex column for Blood + Milk, loves to remind her readers that sex can be so much more than PIV.
If you’re looking to connect physically but the thought of a full-blown romp in the sheets just sounds too exhausting/stressful/unappealing, bring your brain back to those beginning stages of your sexual experiences: What about a makeout sesh on the couch? Even a full body cuddle while watching Netflix can be sensual and fulfilling.
(Way Be)Fore Play
Another great suggestion of Kait’s is to build foreplay throughout the day. Sending a dirty text message, listening to a sexy audio story on your commute home, or heading to the mall on your lunch break to pick up new lingerie can all help build anticipation so that even when you get home and have a million things on your to-do list, you’re still excited to make time for sex.
Overall, try not to sweat your low libido—it’s so common and can be due to so many internal and external factors, it’s not worth the self-judgment or frustration. And if you start to feel uncomfortable with it or it’s causing issues in your relationship, you can always talk to a therapist or see a doctor. As with anything involving our health and bodies, you shouldn’t have to figure it out alone.
Any thoughts to add on the low libido conversation?