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SexFeature

Let’s talk about sex, baby.

HerCanberra Team

Sometimes sex and relationships can be tricky. Despite what you may see on Facebook, no relationship is perfect and there’s always going to be a few niggling questions. That’s why we’ve recruited Canberra sex therapist Nina Booysen to answer the tough stuff for you (discreetly, of course) as part of a new monthly series. Our first reader question addresses a common issue amongst women: libido.

Hi Nina,                                                          

I wanted to ask about libidos. I’m 25 and in a long-term relationship but it has been about 3 months since my partner and I have had sex. I don’t know why but it seems like I have absolutely no libido at all. Do you have any advice on ways to increase libido? I haven’t changed any medications lately and I cant seem to pinpoint what would be causing it.

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Desire can be a complex issue. It is the dance where partners not only feel a physical urge to be intimate, but to also nurture the emotional bond through “wanting and being wanted”. Couples who have a similar level of desire can tap into the underlying sexual tension at will.

Mismatched libido is also a common complaint amongst partners. Most relationships enjoy a period of chemically induced limerance (honeymoon period) which is nature’s way of helping couples create a secure bond emotionally and physically. Once that period wanes it is natural for the sexual intensity to dissipate a little. Both partners need to work at keeping the underlying sexual energy flowing. The person with lower libido begins to avoid any situation which may lead to sex while the other partner feels hurt and angry due to the rejection which can lead to destructive behaviours in relationships. The stereotype that it is always the woman who has the headache is not true. I see many men with low desire. Same sex couples experience disparity as well.

I always like to take a holistic approach with clients and look at physiological, emotional and behavioural reasons behind any issues.

Possible physical reasons for the decline in your desire could be:

  • Medications, many anti-depressants kill desire and eventually hinder orgasm.
  • Sexual dysfunction e.g. sexual pain.
  • Unsatisfactory sexual skills and lack of satisfaction.

Some emotional reasons to consider are:

  • Triggering of traumatic sexual history.
  • Relationship issues around conflict, trust and unresolved emotions.
  • Loss of connection and any form of affection or intimacy.

Possible mental and behavioural factors:

  • Life events, stress.
  • Task orientated day to day living.
  • Depression and anxiety.

Here are a few suggestions to get you back on the dance floor.

  1. Commit to mentally regaining your desire and begin to write the new story in your head which doesn’t start with “aaghh I don’t want to” but rather “I am open to the possibility of enjoying this”. Communicate what your needs and wants are to your partner.
  2. Nurture yourself as a sexual being. Take time for yourself. Run a warm bath and re acquaint yourself with your body. Allow yourself to enjoy the sensation of touch all over your body, not just your genitals. Make sure you are getting enough “down time” to relax and focus on you.
  3. Give your brain permission to think about sex again. Restock your erotic library in your mind by reading some erotic literature, watch some raunchy TV, and remember what it felt like to be aroused. Wear your sexy lingerie daily instead of leaving it stuffed in a draw you never open.
  4. If you are currently on medication such as anti-depressants, ask your GP if there is an alternative that may suit you which have fewer side effects on sexual functioning.
  5. Couples therapy can be effective when dealing with mismatched libido. The idea that it is all one person’s issue and that they need to “fix it” is incorrect. Therapy can help couples navigate and repair unspoken hurt and conflict.

Got a tricky question about sex or relationships for Nina? Ask it anonymously here.

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Her Canberra

Sometimes a story is bigger than one person...that's when the HerCanberra Team puts its collective head together to come up with the goods. Enjoy! More about the Author

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