How I learned to stop worrying and love my sex drive.... - Sexponential
In the beginning, I was probably the equivalent of a cardboard box in bed. Unbending. Unexciting. Unsexy. You can read more about me here, but just know- things were pretty dire. I *HATED* the thought of sex, avoided my partner like the plague so I didn’t need to have it, and generally went on my merry way feeling pretty sexless- only stopping to have sex when I really had to to save my relationship. It felt overwhelming, isolating, and- at times- an insurmountable task to (re)discover my desire. So I started (and am still on) a journey to find and ignite my sexual side… When I first started out, really my main goal was to WANT sex again. I wanted to think about sex during the day., during the night, during a boring work meeting or on the way home. I longed for that feeling you get when you look at your partner and just crave their touch, the excitement of them undressing you. In other words, I wanted to find and FEEL my sexuality. Instead, I felt nothing. Sex was something done to me, on me or in me, and I never really felt in control or been able to fully explore that side of me. The plan was to feel *something*. So I’ve put together what I did/am doing to find this sexual side and hopefully get my libido fired up again. Realising that there is an issue, that you’re not enjoying or having sex in the way that you want to, is half of the battle. And embarking on a journey to find your sexuality is one of the most amazing things you can ever do for yourself. I hope you find these as useful as I have. Dr Strangelove: Or, how I learned to stop worrying and love my sex drive…. I gave myself a *NEW* sex education (and learned about pleasuring myself!) We’re not taught in sex ed at school about sex PROPERLY. Sure we’ve put a banana on a condom, but do many of us *really* know about female pleasure? About how our bodies work? I certainly didn’t. And I knew even less about what I *actually* want in bed. Like, what feels good. What I want, not what my partner is doing. And I was clueless about how to express myself- this meant (in my mind): asking for what I want feeling sexy/empowered owning my own sexuality and sexual expression. I felt like a wet blanket in bed, and it wasn’t a good look. Or a good feeling, I can tell you. So, step was was the re-education of Ms Lauryn Hill. AKA me. Find out more on this here. 2. I tried to gain control of my mental health They say wellness is the root of orgasms. Actually no-one’s ever said that before, but that’s what I believe. Based on what I’ve learned after re-educating myself around sex and my body, I realised the KEY to feeling any sort of desire was by controlling my anxiety. This is because feelings of anxiety are evolutionary wired to close down any desire you have for sex. Learning more about how anxiety impacted on my sex drive, and how to improve my anxiety, has had a drastic impact on my desire. Read on for how to look after your emotional well-being to improve your sex drive. 3. I figured out the link between sex and stress Stress is a massive issue for many women. Our lifestyles have become so super busy (read: work, kids, socialising, hobbies, chores, caring responsibilities- the list is endless) and we’re so overloaded that stress- the evolutionary off switch for desire- is flipped. Essentially, this thief is time. And where I was lacking in sex, I was also lacking in time, energy, and the will to do anything else but sleep. So, I tried to learn how to re-prioritise sex- using different methods including scheduling in date nights and to-do lists and hocus pokery to conjure up some sexy time. Read on to find out more about sex, stress and feeling busy… and how this decreases desire. 4. I realised that it was NORMAL not to want sex, because I wasn’t enjoying it Lets face it, if sex doesn’t feel nice- there’s very little reason to want to do it! And I realised that my anxiety had more of an impact on my sex life than just feeling anxious outside the bedroom. Sex (and the build up to it) made me feel bad because I was worrying uncontrollably about how I looked, about not getting wet, about basically everything- so much so that it became a vicious cycle where my boyfriend touched me and it instantly triggered off anxiety. I was just having sex to keep the peace, to keep the facade of a relationship going, when inside I was spiralling into deeper problems. I’m a feminist but…. sometimes I consent to sex when I don’t *really* want it So sex wasn’t exactly a bag of fun sticks for me, and I knew I needed to change this and disrupt this cycle, by any means necessary, because I deserve great sex. Read on for how to improve how sex feels here. 5. I worked on having a good body image The press, instagram and women’s magazines have a lot to answer for!! For one, I’m not having any good shags because I can’t enjoy it-because I’m worrying what I look like- because I don’t have Kim Kardashian’s ass. I, like many women, worry about my body and my lumps, bumps, rolls and holes. And during sex, when we feel perhaps at our most vulnerable, this can impact on our enjoyment of sex, leaving us feeling anxious, unable to relax and enjoy the moment. So getting to grips with my body (and loving it, maybe?) was hot on the list so I could just totally “let go” in bed rather than fixate on my fat knees (no, seriously). Find out more about how to increase your body image here. 6. I took a good long look at my physical health Your physical health is also a major factor in your libido. It took me the LONGEST time to realise this, but things like hormones, STD’s, hygiene, medication, amount of sleep, your period cycle, nutrition, illnesses and physical trauma (e.g. childbirth, surgeries) can all steal desire in different ways. Having a good basic biology is the foundation of a good sex drive, and understanding how even everyday factors like sleep and nutrition play a part in the thievery are part and parcel of having a good sex drive (and giving ourselves a break!). 7. I did some relationship DIY Our relationships and how we feel within them can have a huge effect on our desire. Resentment, loss of control and lack of physical contact can really impact on how attracted we feel towards our partners. We can get stuck in patterns we haven’t noticed or can’t see around initiation and rejection, so as we continue in the relationship a low sex drive can CAUSE issues as well as be a result of them. So we get stuck into a self-fulfilling prophecy. Trust me, I know this because I’ve considered all of this at some point. And I’ve realised that there are five smaller issues hiding under this category that can all wreak havoc and rob us of our sexual attraction or want for sex: Lack of warmth or affection between partners: feeling cold towards your partner, because of unresolved conflict, anger, resentment, hurt, or a general lack of affection outside of the bedroom, can lead to problems within the bedroom. For many women, their desire doesn’t exist within a vacuum and (who’d have thought it?) often how they feel about their partner governs how much they might like to have sex with them. No attraction towards your partner: this one probably isn’t rocket science. For many of us, sex requires attraction, and without this element we might be robbed of our desire. All isn’t lost though- often this is so closely tied to warmth and affection that increasing the former can impact on the latter. Not having engaging and varied sex. Always having sex in the same place/position/process (e.g from naked, in bed, at the end of the day etc) mean there’s no excitement, no intrigue, and nothing to look forwards to! Losing sexual control: Control is sexy. A lack of control, and getting stuck into a “he/she initiates I reject/give in” cycle is the least sexy (and most disempowering thing) possible. We often slip into this pattern as the relationship continues, so what reared its head as a problem when you shied away from sex a few times has become a self-sustaining problem that adds fuel to the fire and drives a wedge between you the more it carries on. Your partner not *really* knowing how to turn you on: This is arguably the most widespread desire thief of all women everywhere. The golden rule is: if sex doesn’t feel pleasurable, it’s not going to inspire you to want it. So, after your new sex education you might feel more confident to teach your partner to make you feel great. This includes how he/she can initiate sex, and turn you on! What I learned, ultimately, was that your sex drive relies on three really important factors to be healthy, fulfilling, and worthy: So investing time and energy in these three areas is often what many of us need to move forwards. I now believe this is going to be something that is a lifelong task- like owning a house there’s always some decoration work needed, an internal wall or two to knock out, a garage re-paint, a spring clean or total renovation needed. Your sexuality IS important, will change throughout your life, and is totally worth the effort to find and feel it. Have a look through the areas above to find out if there’s any inspiration there for you too 🙂 Love, L xxx