I firmly believe that for many women with a low libido, rather than something inherently wrong, damaged or broken within them. ***, their loss of sex drive is caused by lifestyle factors (e.g. being busy, stressed, time-poor).
Busyness+stress+lack of sleep=a low sex drive.
It’s not hard maths, but it’s a biological truth.
Sometimes we don’t have time for sex because we have so many competing priorities.
Anyone with young children knows that your sex life can suffer simply because you’re so tired from lack of sleep and caring for a little human that sex is literally the last thing you want.
Equally, a busy period at work, a bereavement, moving house or any number of life events can cause us to feel stressed out.
And our desire plummets.
However, what I’ve learned is that if you listen to yourself and your body and hear that you’re not wanting sex at the moment, THERE IS A VERY VALID REASON AS TO WHY.
Warning signs that you’re too busy for sex?
- When you flop into bed at the end of everyday, knackered, is sex the last thing on your mind?
- Do you feel exhausted, irritable, empty?
- Do you dream of your bed to sleep in rather than associate it with sex?
- Do you have any time to sexually self-care, or to consider when you might find time to feel sexy, sensual, up for sex?
- Do you dread going to bed, get into bed before/after your partner, because you are trying to avoid being intimate because of the time/effort it takes?
- Do you feel annoyed if/when your partner tries to initiate?
- Would you rather watch your favourite TV show than have sex?
- Do your levels of desire increase again when you go on holiday?
Don’t put pressure on yourself to do it more, don’t feel bad- just know this is NORMAL.
And instead of giving in to sex when you don’t want it (which only encourages a bad sex drive cycle), my advice instead (which has worked for me) is to:
- understand the biology behind why stress shuts down your sex drive
- communicate with your partner what’s going on
- Think about sex in different ways (e.g. don’t schedule in actual sex)
- and take time to look after yourself to reduce stress.
So, how to reduce stress/fix a busy life and re-prioritize sex?
Step one: make the decision to prioritize you
So, here’s the bad news. There is no quick fix solution I can give you if there’s no time in your life for sex.
I think you already know this. It’s not rocket science.
YOU have to decide you WANT a good sex drive, and commit to improving it.
I realised this early on- you can read more about the stages I went through here to see if this resonates with you?
And that commitment means dedicating time to take care of yourself, and then, to bring sex back up your priority list.
This IS a lifestyle change, and that’s why it feels tough. However-
No-one else can do this for you, only YOU can commit to improving your sex drive.
This isn’t about you having sex for your partner. It’s about you taking responsibility for your health. It’s prioritizing your pleasure. You deserve good sex, and the beginning step is to start taking care of yourself.
Mostly I found that the loss of your sex drive is the canary in the coal mine of a whole host of other issues, so be prepared to be reflective, work hard, and then don’t let anything get in way of you reaching your goals!
I also love this article about making sure you prioritise it for you, not your partner.
And when I did start shifting my priorities and making time for sex, I found my desire peaked!
Previously sex was:
- a chore
- a bore
- just another thing on the to-do list
And a long long time I couldn’t focus on sex because it felt like EVERYTHING needing doing: the washing, the bills, phoning my Mum…
But, I suddenly realised that I needed doing too!
Sex is an amazing stress reliever. It can bring you closer to your intimate partner, help you be present, let loose, and is a great form of exercise.
And remember, it used to be fun?
Read the blog on seven ways to reframe sex so it becomes essential to your everyday wellbeing for more advice on why looking after yourself is worth it (and what sex can do for you!).
So step two- reduce stress.
Stress and busyness increases cortisol levels, which have an evolutionary duty to stop our sex drives. So reducing stress levels are a must if you want your sex drive to improve.
Read the section of the blog on stress here to find out more about why this is and what you can do to override your stress response mechanism.
Step three- sleep.
It’s restorative! Because we’re all working, socialising, worrying about money, raising children, when is there even time for sleep let alone sex? Sleep is your friend, and sleep means you’ll be more perky and in the mood for sex when it happens.
Allow yourself time to sleep- go to bed earlier if you need to, get a babysitter and just snooze out. Do what you need to do to get those priceless ZZZs.
Read more here about WHY sleep is so important, and how without it, your sex drive will naturally shut down.
Step four: Turn off the turns offs
A great way of doing this is to look at your lifestyle and consider all of the things that make you feel unsexy or that turn off your sex drive.
There might be additional stress in your life sadly just because you’re a woman! This might be taking a bigger share of the washing, cooking, cleaning, caring…. check out this article on whether the “mental load” many women carry might be causing your lack of libido.
Step five: Put your relationship on the agenda- not sex.
Re-prioritising sex doesn’t necessarily involve scheduling in sex, or “just doing it”. Read my opinion on scheduling sex here (TLDR: I think it’s terrible advice).
We don’t want *more* bad sex. We want good quality, even if the frequency still isn’t something you’re both happy with.
It’s only going to be good if it feels good and you actually want to have it.
Instead of scheduling in actual sex, instead either schedule in time to think about sex, or use the time you’ve planned in as a date night. Think intimacy instead of full on sex. Your libido is like a boiler- if you keep it on low all of the time (and fuel it through kisses, cuddles, closeness) it’ll be more likely to be ready to fire up when you need it.
Step six: sex before breakfast?
The final tip is that often we can’t be bothered to have sex because we’re doing it at the end of everyday when we’re knackered.
A busy lifestyle means sex falls to the bottom of the priority list (aka at the end of each day), which means a red light for intimacy and pleasure.
For many relationships as time goes on, this can become the norm. So if this you, know that you’re in good company.
So if you really want to prioritise it, try it at different times!
Do it before brekkie, in the middle of the day, early evening- basically any time you want (BUT ONLY WHEN YOU WANT TO) except at the end of the day.
Hopefully that’s been helpful. Do you have any tips to share for how to reprioritise sex?
*** Of course, health and hormones play a huge factor, and if you’re concerned then seeing a specialist is crucial or check out my section of the blog on health.