We live in an age where we have become sex obsessed – who is having it, how are they having it and the thoughts of “what can I do to have more?” Celebrities are blatant about the sex lives, every second politician is embroiled is some scandal and sexual jokes and discussions are common in movies and television shows – even those with a family rating.
Sex in the beginning of a relationship is great. The new hormones coursing through your body are responsible for the ‘spark’ or intimate connection you feel with your new partner. These hormones are also to blame for you only seeing the ‘good side’ of your newly found love interest – however, it does not last. So whilst you may feel in tune sexually (and emotionally) in the beginning, this can definitely fade, as feelings of lust (the body chemical for this is dopamine) slowly dissipate to be replaced by feelings of deeper love and attachment (the chemical responsible for this is oxytocin). The key factor here is time. Generally speaking, feelings of lust and infatuation fade after 2-3 years and are replaced by the much deeper connection of bonding, love and intimacy. If this is the case, then why does sexual activity also take a hit?
This is because your brain is no longer lit up with an overwhelming obsession with your new partner. In fact, scientists have claimed that the early stages of a romantic relationship can be akin to being high on cocaine. As your relationship makes it past the 3 year mark, and your attachment to each other grows, sex becomes less of a way to show love to your partner. Non sexual cuddling and intimacy also provides an oxytocin kick, which facilitates relationship strength. So even if you have a great relationship, it is easy to fall into a rut of “we’ll have sex tomorrow night” as the weeks go by. This is of course made worse by young children, general life stresses as well as physical and mental health difficulties.
With a society so obsessed with sex and terrible statements such as “when the sex goes, the relationship ends” – it is no wonder that many couples start to seriously worry when there is not as much sex in their relationship, due to a lacking libido. This often turns into a blame game where the couple resents each other, or one feels as if they are entirely to blame and feel guilty.
Although it is often the case that sexual problems follow relationship difficulties, a lack of libido can occur in relationships that are very healthy. This is often why feelings of guilt come up. You may wonder to yourself why you don’t want to have sex, even though you feel completely happy and at ease in your relationship.
However, sex and guilt should never go together.
Here are just a few reasons why you may be experiencing a lack of sex drive:
- You are taking medications (eg: Thyroid medication, anti-depressants and even certain birth control).
- You have young children or have given birth in the past year.
- You are feeling unwell physically (poor diet, lack of exercise and recurring illness does not make one feel very sexy).
- You are overly stressed.
- You feel overweight or insecure (particularly after having children).
- Painful sex.
- Difficulty reaching orgasm.
Mental, emotional and physical problems all greatly contribute to a lacking libido. This can influence either male or female partner to a great extent.
Figuring out why your libido is lacking is the first step in figuring out how to solve it. A session with your doctor, gynaecologist or a marriage therapist will give you some insight into what is going on with your body and mind and give you some ideas on where to go from there.
Here are some ideas, to boost sexual intimacy:
- If you are struggling with feelings of insecurity – start slowly. Begin by wearing something that makes you feel attractive, light candles or dim the lights. Beforehand, complement your partner, go out of your way to make them feel good about themselves.
- Never underestimate the importance of date night! Think of a date together as the ultimate foreplay (this is especially true for women). Take that time to complement each other and talk, talk, talk (whilst trying to stay away from very un-sexy topics such as work or the kids).
- If you experience any pain during intercourse, chat to your doctor about it. It may be indicative of an infection or injury.
- When it comes to sex, make sure to use lots of water based lubricant.
- Google new sexual positions, or watch sexual movies together (this of course must be spoken about and agreed about 100% beforehand).
- Masturbate, or try mutual masturbation.
- Understand that orgasm does not always have to be the aim of sex – the act of intercourse is just as pleasurable, and putting pressure on oneself to orgasm will take the fun out of it.
Remember that nothing replaces the advice and care from a professional. Consult with your doctor about any sexual difficulties to find out if a lacking libido is related to any health concerns. Otherwise contact a sex therapist or marriage counsellor to talk through your feelings around sex – sometimes deeper counselling is needed to find out where these issues may be coming from.
Do not feel guilty about sex – whether you are having it or not having it. Rather use your emotional energy into examining the complexities around sex and how to improve it. Be honest and communicative with your partner – and have fun!