Why Women Lose Interest in Sex...And What We Can Do About It
"I'd rather eat chocolate."
"I just don't care for it. It's more of a hassle."
"I want to be in the mood, but it just doesn't happen anymore."
Do you ever wonder what happened to your libido? Are you in an otherwise happy relationship in which the sexual tension seems to have vanished and you'd like to get it back? You are not alone! Losing interest in sex is actually quite common for women of all ages and while our reasons for becoming uninterested are varied, there are some common themes that emerge in our highly personal stories.
Read on to uncover some of the top reasons women lose interest in sex and explore practical strategies for getting your sexual groove back.
Sex is supposed to be an experience, not a performance. If we could shift it back toward the former, the bulk of our sexual challenges would be easily resolved. Unfortunately, our obsession with sex as an indicator of status coupled with our inability to have honest conversations about this highly personal topic only intensify the problem.
We often assume that performance pressure falls exclusively into the male domain, but women also experience our fair share of pressure. We sometimes focus our energies wondering if we are wet enough or stressing about what we look like instead of embracing the pleasure of the moment. We may also become so concerned about our skills, sounds and orgasms that our neocortex (the thinking part of our brains) shuts down sexual response altogether. No wonder we lose interest!
Overcoming performance pressure is an involved process, but the first step is to learn to enjoy yourself first. Practice being selfish by masturbating and delve deeper into your own fantasies by reading erotic stories to reveal your primal desires that often at odds with cultural prescriptions of female sexuality. As you become more in tune with your true sexual self, the pressure to perform will gradually be replaced with a hunger for sexual satiation.
Do you eroticize your relationship? Or has your marriage become a practical partnership with someone for whom you care deeply? While developing a deep connection and a meaningful friendship is elemental to long-term stability, this security can take a toll on the erotic component of your relationship.
Eroticizing your relationship involves treating your partner like a lover as opposed to a friend. This does not mean that you must value sex above all else, but simply that you take some time to acknowledge the value of your lover as a beautiful, sexual being. Brushing your hands against his thighs while he is driving or teasing your fingers around her neck while she works are simple ways to remind your sweetheart that you take pleasure in their body. Flirt as though you want your lover's attention and offer compliments the way you would if you had just met.
These small steps do not need to result in sexual intercourse, but can help to rebuild the playfulness and erotic energy that lay the foundation for sexual connections.
Lack of Satisfaction
When sex is satisfying, we tend to crave more, more, more! But when the experience is unfulfilling, our minds and bodies are less likely to experience desire since we are left feeling disappointed or dissatisfied. If you are not getting what you want out of sex, speak up! Learn more about your body's unique responses and talk to your lover about what you enjoy and what turns you on. Be sensitive and supportive, but do not put your partner's ego above your sexual needs. Speak from a place of honesty avoiding accusations and your conversation will likely lead to an enhanced connection and greater sexual satisfaction for you both.
Role-Plays (Not the good kind)
How many different hats do you wear? Are you a professional? A parent? A daughter? A sister? A friend? A volunteer? A community member? A homemaker? The roles we play seem never-ending and many women report that these roles result in de-sexualization. Research findings suggest that this is one of the primary reasons women lose interest in sex and it is no surprise since it is near-impossible to feel sexy after cleaning up a toddler's vomit or losing a battle with a board of directors.
To overcome this obstacle, we first have to accept it. For most of us, sex is NOT the most important component of our lives and we are more than sexual beings. Sex can be fun, fulfilling and even mind-blowing at times, but it will not always knock our socks off and that is perfectly fine. Perhaps taking a more playful and lighthearted approach to it would allow us to slip into role more easily and help us to compartmentalize the other roles we play so that we can embrace relaxation, release and intimate connection without guilt, shame or distraction.
Our Own Bad Habits
We all have them! From wearing a retainer and dirty sweatpants to bed to running through our to-do list while trying to fall asleep, bad habits not only take a toll on our sex lives, but they can chip away at our sense of sexual self-worth. Feeling sexy is essential to sexual desire and as relationships evolve, we often let ourselves go. Letting ourselves go has nothing to do with our physical appearance or grooming, but relates to shirking our responsibilities to ensure that we are happy, healthy and balanced.
For my clients, some of the bad habits that they associate with a decline in sex drive include working too much, exercising too little, poor diet, overconsumption of alcohol and expending all of their energy taking care of others with no regard for self-care. As a first step to breaking these bad habits, I suggest that clients set aside 15 minutes per day of "Me Time" during which no one is allowed to disturb them. They can spend this time reading, bathing or self-pleasuring with their favourite toy and they have to get their partners on board to support their private time. Since the eventual benefits usually involve an increase in sex drive, their lovers are generally willing to facilitate this "Me Time" homework.
Familiarity and Boredom
If you had to eat the same food in the same place with the same company for the rest of your life, the predictability would likely lead to some degree of boredom in no time. It is therefore no surprise that every single one of us will experience boredom in the bedroom at some point in our lives. Many married women complain that the predictability of sex causes them to lose interest altogether, as the thrill of anticipation evaporates.
Your brain is wired to respond with excitement to change, so if you and your lover have sex in the same way time and time again, it is no surprise that your interest in sex has dwindled. To reignite the spark, you both need to make small changes on a regular basis. If he usually grabs her breasts with aggression, he can switch to a feather-light touch around the edges and if she usually kisses him on the lips to initiate, she can roll him onto his stomach and trail kisses down his spine. Other small changes might relate to timing, location, positions, outfits, props, toys, pet-names, eye contact or language.
Many of these changes can take place outside of the bedroom, as non-sexual interactions can have an considerable impact on intimate connections. As you make tiny alterations to your daily interactions, the anticipation of the unknown will not only build sexual tension, but will encourage you both to uncover new elements of your sexual identities worth exploring and sharing as a couple.
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