Where did my sex drive go?

Hi Cyndi,
I am 23 years old and I’m facing a difficult moment sexually because I have lost my libido. I have no interest in sex and the worst is that I don’t enjoy it anymore. What are some ways I can get my libido back? (Ps: I’ve been on the pill for a couple years now and my libido has decreased gradually since I started being sexually active)
Thanks
Elaine

9473f0a3e55ee9361aaa9070b3829f5c

Dear Elaine
Libido and desire are two words often associated with women’s sexuality. Increasingly there is more and more attention being paid to what is referred to as low desire or low libido. While in some cases there are a variety of pharmacological treatments for ‘’low desire’’, they are not always the best option, nor the most relevant option; and there is no guarantee that they will actually work.

Normal

Women (and men) of all ages and orientations experience shifts in their levels of desire. This is normal. It’s not unusual for many life factors including stress, relationship problems, the pill, time management and family issues to affect the way we experience sexuality. Changes in libido are natural and to be expected. But when desire wanes for an extended period of time (and that is to be defined by the person themselves, not a statistic) it may be time to inquire further as to what issues might need to be addressed.

Misinformation

For many people it’s the absence of opportunities to discuss sexuality that is at the root of ongoing desire issues. Increasing pressure to perform and have ‘a lot’ of sex can sometimes be part of the problem. Many people confuse the frequency of sex with the quality of sex. Having a lot of sex doesn’t necessarily mean it will be good, and sometimes just meeting a criteria of what’s expected, rather than what is desired, can contribute to feeling our libido isn’t quite on target.

Contraception

While the pill and all other hormonally-based contraceptives can and do have an effect of decreasing libido, for some women it’s  a necessary part of adult life and one they are not willing to give up. Fair enough. Bear in mind there are other non-hormone based alternatives to contraception, namely internal/female & regular condoms; which will protect you from pregnancy and STIs, but require a different approach to intercourse than without them. It might be worth deciding which of the two options is less intrusive for you. After all, what is the point of having intercourse, or doing anything sexually for that matter, if there is no or little purpose or point in it for you?

Cultivate Interest

In my practice I meet A LOT of people who want to discuss low libido concerns with me. I also train health professionals  to discuss libido concerns with their patients, when pills are not relevant or haven’t worked. It’s important to ask yourself what your motivations are for having sex, and even what sex means to you. For many people, sex is something they have never been taught much about. Because it’s ‘natural’, it is assumed that sex will just organically happen and be blissful and amazing. For some (few) folks this is true, but it is an exception rather than a rule.

Learn

Like with any skill that needs to be cultivated, prowess and enthusiasm come with focus and practice. Consider the ways you prioritise learning about sex in your life. Just like eating is natural (the reflex is an instinct just like the sex reflex) cooking is not natural necessarily, it’s something you learn.

  • Consider the ways you learn or have learnt about sex?
  • Where did your information come from?

Chances are sex is not something you learnt much about at school or at home, so unless you have actively sought information, it’s likely you’re running on minimal information and minimal satisfaction. It seems logical then that the best approach to sorting out what’s happening ‘behind the scenes’, is to learn more about yourself in the context of sex and sexuality.

I run a variety of classes and workshops for adults of all genders to address the education gap in sex-ed. You are not alone in what you’re feeling and I urge to you to know there are ways and means to help you feel that connection to your sexuality again, and perhaps more deeply than before.
It won’t require endless interventions, but it will require some enthusiasm commitment from you. Sex is one of the most fabulous sources of pleasure available to us. It would be a shame to let a lack of information stand in your way of accessing this potent source of well-being and freedom.