The biggest thing I’ve learned so far about having a low sex drive is:
YOU have to decide you WANT a good sex drive, and commit to improving it.
Don’t get me wrong, for many people a lack of sex drive is a medical one like hormones, physical illness or injury, and requires medication and intervention to help.
However, for so many of us I believe it’s a lifestyle or relationship pattern issue. We might have lost our sex drive because of stress or anxiety, not being in touch with our sensuality or our busy week not having space or room for self-care. Or our relationships have grown moss because sex has become samey, isn’t pleasureable, is stuck in a negative initiating pattern, or is non-existent.
BUT the great news is- these are within your power to change.
For a long long time, I was waiting for a solution to my sex drive issues to drop from the sky. Genuinely.
I felt hopeless, paralysed, stuck, and hated myself. You can read more about my journey here.
However, after a year filled with introspection and some tough truths, my experience has taught me that a loss of sex drive is the canary in the coal mine of other things that aren’t right.
And the hardest part of it all? Recognising there is an issue, being brave enough to confront it, and then PRIORITIZING getting your sex drive back.
Make a decision to put sex and yourself back at the top of your agenda. No-one else can do this for you. Take responsibility. Once you decide it’s what you want, there’ll be no stopping you.
How do I know I’m ready?
Reconnecting to your sex drive is a process rather than something that just happens overnight. To understand this, I found the stages of change model really helpful.
It’s used in things like quitting smoking and losing weight- it maps out the stages or thought patterns involved in any kind of behaviour change. I feel it fits super well into trying to change a low sex drive.
Do you recognise these stages below?
Here’s more about how each stage has been for me…
Not wanting to admit or recognise that there is a problem (basically being in denial)
I was in this stage for a long time! I sort of knew something was going on but it was easier to blame my lack of desire to have sex on loads of other factors… stress at work, too tired, my period was due, I had a tummy ache, I need a shower… generally anything to avoid sex as much as I could.
It was so embarassing, soul destroying and shameful that my sex drive was low so I hated discussing it. My boyfriend and I had a fair few arguments and debates in this stage. I cried a lot, found it really hard to talk to him, felt embarrassed, ashamed and I didn’t want to confront the issue. This stage for me involved lots of promising to do something about it to my boyfriend. Then as time went on it sort of faded into the background and didn’t seem as much of a problem (aka my head was in the sand!) so I didn’t make any real changes or even fully accept how much of an issue it was becoming.
This quote illuminates it all really:
“lasting change rarely occurs as the result of a single, ongoing decision to act. More often, change evolves from a subtle, complex and sometimes circuitous progression — one that involves thinking, hesitating, stepping forward, stumbling backward, and, quite possibly, starting all over again.”
Here you become aware of your problems, struggle to understand them and even may think seriously about solving them.
At this point, it took me a while of bobbing up and down in consciousness to realise that the problem was with me. And that I need to look seriously at myself and what was going on.
It was quite a painful stage, and I felt really ashamed that this was my problem and that I was going through this. It felt really unfair, why should I have to go through this? Why couldn’t I just be horny whenever? What had happened to me? Was I ever horny? Could I be healed?
It was almost paralyzing to consider the problem because I was scared there’d be no fix. It was easier with my head in the sand and not acknowledging the issue. Then I could still imagine myself as that sexual person I was once. It took my boyfriend spelling out sharply that I could lose him for me to want to seek change.
I really wanted a quick solution to put it right, but also wasn’t sure where to begin. I felt like the “easy solutions” e.g. exercise, healthy eating, pills or oysters, meant a whole lifestyle change which I wasn’t ready to do.
At this point I started googling lots of information on sex drives and low libido problems. I found snippets of real help (especially understanding about different types of sex drives). I found myself frustrated- it was all well and good being a more responsive type of desire, but I WANT to be more impulsive. I always used to be!
I devoured these articles over a period of about four months, and only when I really thought about it. Or when my boyfriend and I had another chat and he explained how he felt rejected, unwanted, undesired and that it was having a serious impact on our relationship. This motivated me to want to change, but then it seemed to die down again until our next chat.
Occasionally I read a few “5 steps to improving your libido” articles, and wondered why, if I’d added cabbage to my diet and ordered some new underwear, I still had no desire to have sex.
I again made lots of promises to work on myself, go to the gym, go to the GP, but I felt a bit lost and my enthusiasm ebbed away when I realised how overwhelmed I felt.
At this stage I found reframing the way I thought about my “problem” was so helpful! It’s NORMAL to have a low sex drive sometimes, and it’s not about it being dead or irreversible, we should change the language we use to be more hopeful.
Here is where you start to make decisions and think about taking action. While some people become chronic contemplators and substitute more and more analysis for action, the successful person will make decisions and prepare for them.
At this point, I knew I had to really evaluate what the hell was going on in my life, and my vagina!
The problem was I didn’t really know where/what the problem was. I am probably a “chronic contemplator” haha but I found it really helpful to pause and analyse what was going on. I really felt like this was the turning point for me into committing towards change because I was starting to gain momentum and clarity on what was needed.
It was at this point that it was great to sit down and map out how I was feeling, and work out things like my turns ons (what I knew already) and think about what options there were for how to feel better. There was huge range of things to consider, like my relationship health, proactivity and confidence in bed, how much I enjoy sex… it’s endless. I realised there were a number of areas for me to work on (blog post on this coming soon!) and I had quite a lot of work to do.
OK, this is where you take the plunge! But there is no “magic bullet”, and there is no cheap change.
So this is the phase that excited me that most- putting all that I had learned and unearthed into action!
I began this stage in around October 2017 after a year of flitting between the three stages above. And I’m really starting to see some changes from the effort I’m putting in which is making me feel really happy. Especially I learned things like ways to get in the mood when you’ve got a more responsive desire type, and ways to reframe sex so that I thought about it in a different way to just the physical act.
For me, this stage is all about reconnecting with my mind, body, imagination, sensuality and my partner. There are so many options here to try and really get in touch with yourself again, and its a process of exploration, adventure and self love. It’s a total cheesefest but it’s true. Enjoy the ride… literally.
I’ll update the blog further with all of my antics!
(Gotta stay with it!)
So just FYI, I cannot wait to get to this day!
This is the day you decide that you’ve managed to get lift off and your sex drive is functioning exactly as you want it to, and you are happy with how things are.
Shit is good. I’ve still got a way to go though.
But I truely believe all of us can get here, without a therapist, without paying money to fix things for us, without pills or major changes.
Life is the sum of the small decisions we make. If we tweak those decisions to make ourselves and our relationships happier, we’ll get there together.
How about you- where about’s are you at with your journey?