How to improve your relationship to fire up desire

Relationships can be one of the trickiest areas to deal with when it comes to a low libido, because its often hard to admit to ourselves where the issues lie.

This part of the site delves into detail about how our relationships shape desire.

However if you think your libido has waned because of your partnership, ‘he following four areas are good places to start to unpick what’s going on for you and some excellent tips to try and revive it!

1. Stop believing harmful myths about relationships and sex

Sex always slows down as you get older.

Sex “just happens”.

Foreplay is the thing that comes before sex.

All of the above are myths that can really impact on desire because they affect our expectations of ourselves and our sexual experiences.

One of the best ways that you can begin to get a sense of reality and perspective around low desire is to understand some of the common myths around sex in relationships. Read this post on “myths about sex” to get started dispelling all of the things putting pressure on your desire.

2. Increase the levels of intimacy in your relationship

Dr Lori Brotto believes a woman’s feelings about her partner contribute more than anything else toward her levels of desire. She writes that the major predictors of sexual desire for women in a relationship are impacted by:

  • how she feels about her partner
  • how much she likes or admires her partner
  • and what she believes about the fate of her relationship
Often the above are impacted by issues around  communication and/or conflict.
Conflict may exist in the relationship already and CAUSE a low libido, but often it’s also an EFFECT of a mismatch in desire in the relationship. So beginning by knowing how to talk to a partner about a mismatch in desire is really helpful, but the issues may go well beyond this. 
In my experience communication is impacted by one partner not feeling able to express themselves- either they’re unsure how to, or they feel unable to (e.g. their partner doesn’t listen, they’re frightened of their partner’s reaction). Feeling unsure or unable to express oneself about issues in the relationship or how you’re feeling can result in resentment which is a surefire way to quash any sense of desire. Find out more about resentment and how to deal with it in this post.
A lack of intimacy may also be caused by a sense of not putting in the effort- taking another for granted, or not understanding how to best help our partners feel loved and appreciated. Learning about Love Languages can be really helpful in this regard.

If the relationship does feel like it’s not on stable ground, you might have also found that the physical intimacy has waned. If the only time you kiss, touch, fondle is in the build up to sex it creates all kinds of issues around a lack of physical expression, losing the joy of touching for touching’s sake, and also can tie into sexual pressure (see issues with sex). If you recognise this within your relationship, this post on bringing back snogging into your relationship might help.

3. Increase the “seperateness” in your relationship

 At times, the fire in our relationships can more resemble embers when life gets in the way.

Our partnerships grow old, and the safety, closeness and familiarity that we once treasured can become monotonous, boring and unattractive.  Our lives can merge into a togetherness that feel suffocating- we forget our partner is their own person with dreams, desires, hopes, and is wanted by others.

This is a really interesting take on relationships and intimacy, and one explored further in this post More intimacy doesn’t always mean better sex.

There’s another issue with intimacy in that some of us can be scared of it! We’re afraid to let ourselves go, to become wild, in bed with our lover because the stakes are higher and we can’t reveal that aspect of our identity. Read more on this here with why it’s hard to be vulnerable in bed and tips on how to let go and surrender into sex.

4. Find what attracted you to your partner again

Female desire is particularly impacted by what’s known as the “Coolidge Effect”– where over time our sexual attraction wanes because we literally get bored of having sex with the same person! See the section on issues with the sex you are (or were) having for more info on this. Recovering desire in this sense is often about mixing things up, creating novelty, however it’s also something fairly natural and nothing to panic about! Many relationships go through peaks and troughs in this sense.

Our attraction to our partner is also often dictated by how much we like them. If things feel a bit frosty between you, or you’ve become disconnected from each other, increasing your levels of intimacy (see above) might also be useful.

Your relationship is often inseparable from sex. You can find out more here about how your sex life can cause low desire as well as be impacted by it, and how to stop the cycle.

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