Many of us would love our libido to be revved up all the time – but the truth is our love life is prone to all kinds of outside influences that can effectively turn our engine off. Some are natural, such as hormonal cycles, while others are external influences largely outside our control - from work stress and sleepless babies to illness and just feeling unsexy.
Your stalled sex drive might not be a problem for you, but if it’s making you unhappy then be reassured there are things you can do to get the engine fired back up.
If you’re in a settled long-term relationship there’s also, of course, the issue of (whisper it) over-familiarity or the tensions and challenges that ensue from sharing a domestic life together. It’s completely normal for your sex drive to be lower than it was at the outset of your relationship, and if you’re both happy with that then there’s no problem. But if one or both of you are frustrated, then it’s time to work together on a solution.
Body and brain
Sex and desire start in the head well before they reach the genitals, so your switched-off brain is what you need to focus on. You can do some things to trigger it into starting to feel arousal or desire again, even if it feels like you’ve got to kind of ‘trick’ it into action. Depending on the reasons for your low libido, the solutions might have rapid results or you may need to do your brain training for a period of days or weeks, but perseverance definitely pays off.
A great way to start, whatever the reason for your lowered libido, is to reconnect your brain with your body by taking some time to remind yourself of the pleasures of physical sensation. Treat yourself to a relaxing activity such as a long, hot bath or shower (solo or shared) and follow up by sitting or lying on a towel on your bed, massaging oil or cream into your skin. If you have time, stay where you are and indulge in some daydreaming, listening to music or even let your hands wander across your erogenous zones if you feel like it.
For some people a favourite form of exercise such as swimming or dancing can have the same ‘reconnection’ benefits. Or try a broad-head ‘wand’ vibrating massager which can feel incredibly soothing on muscles all over your body. For other people, it will take somebody else providing the physical sensations, in the form of head or body massage, or simple stroking. Whatever you decide on, the aim is to bring your brain back to a ‘Oh yes’ recollection and appreciation of the pleasure of positive physical sensation.
A reconnected body and brain are ready to work together on arousal. It’s definitely best to go for a softly-softly approach here – we’re not talking hardcore porn or monster dildos. Again, think about stimulating your brain before your body, and go for something teasing and erotic. Many women especially swear by erotic books and blogs to get them in the mood. You’ll find hundreds of free stories and fantasies at Literotica with styles and themes to suit every taste.
Dressing in lovely lingerie or well-fitting boxers can also make an exciting way for your reconnected brain and body to feel great about themselves. Choose undies YOU love (not anyone else’s idea of what’s hot) and admire yourself in a mirror to see your inner sexy beast re-emerging. Other treats such as a spa session or confidence-boosting, flattering clothes can also mark a turning point where your libido decides it wants to rear its head again.
If you’re working on your love life with your partner, try some mental foreplay to tease and arouse each other before you even get near the bedroom. Choosing and watching a romantic film with sexy interludes can be a great turn-on that will have you cuddling up on the sofa. Or try an adults-only game designed specifically to get partners to talk about sex. This will help even the shyest partners to open up about what they might like to get up to.
Keep it going
Once you start to feel the delicious tingle of a re-energised sex drive, keep that feeling developing with some more sexy mental stimulation when you’ve got some time to relax. One fun way is to curl up on your sofa with a beer or glass of wine and browse through a combined lingerie and sex toy online shop, to be inspired by both the sexy images and also the tantalising product descriptions and customer reviews.
If you have a partner, this is a great time to not leave anything to chance. If neither of you initiate sex before actually getting to bed, and one of the main reasons for your lowered libido has been tiredness, then there’s likely to be little happening between the sheets other than pushing the zzzzs.
Actually putting sex in your schedule is a classic sex therapy technique that works. Set yourselves up on a promise, spend the day sending each other some flirty (or downright dirty) messages and you’ll have an evening of mutual pleasure awaiting.
Helen Self is a blogger and sex toy expert who writes for Lovehoney Australia.