“Not tonight, honey. I have a headache.” “Can we take a rain check? I’m so exhausted…” “Gah! Can you believe it, it’s already that time of the month again…,” “Man, I was so looking forward to a night of crazy, anything-goes passion, but I must have pulled something at the gym this morning.”
Do any of those sound familiar? Unfortunately, as much as we’d all like to be vibrant, sexual goddesses 100% of the time, reality can feel decidedly different. In fact, the list of reasons why your sex-drive is diminished is equally as long as the list of excuses you’ve used to avoid having intercourse with your mate.
5 Ideas for Revving the Motor When Your Libido Tank is Empty
First things first, though. As a conscientious OB/GYN office, we need to point out that a consistently low libido is worth checking out with your doctor. While stress and fatigue are common culprits, a change in libido can also be a sign that hormones are out of balance, or that you’re starting menopause. It could be lagging because there are changes in your vaginal tissue or lubrication production. In any case, it’s worth making sure there isn’t something that can be done to help you on our end.
FYI: Lagging libido is a common side-effect for women who use hormone-based birth controls like the pill or a shot. If you are in a long-term relationship, and you use hormone-based birth control, talk to your doctor about other options.
- Have Your Hormone Levels Tested. When you’re approaching menopause, estrogen levels dip, and FSH and LH levels (hormones related to ovulation) go up. Have your doctor run a few tests to evaluate your hormone levels. If libido is waning considerably, hormone replacement therapy may help to get you back on track until things equalize a bit on their own. If you are in peri-menopause, you may also notice that sex is more painful or that your vagina is dryer – these are all normal side effects of the process, but they sure do detract from the pleasures of sex. Experiment with different types of lubrication, as well as positions, to find what works best for you at this stage of the game.
- From Bedroom to Boudoir. What do you see when you look at your bedroom? Has it looked the same as it has for 20 years? Are books and laundry piled about? Is there anything in the room that says, “We do more than just sleep, read and watch TV here”? It might be time to transform your plain-Jane bedroom into a boudoir. From this point forward, the bedroom is for restful sleep and tender, mind-blowing sex only. Everything else can be done in the family room.
–Eliminate Clutter and for gosh sakes, transplant those family photos. You can wax poetic over sweet children or grandchildren in every other room of the house, but they’re bound to be mood killers if you inadvertently glance at them while assuming a compromising position.
–Keep it clean. Women are more prone to mental distractions during sex (surprise, surprise) so that dusty nightstand may remind you of all the other furniture that needs dusting, or the floors that need vacuuming. By keeping the bedroom…er, boudoir…clean, you minimize those types of “to-do list” thoughts in the heat of the moment.
–Purchase new bed linens you both agree on (nothing that says, “girls only” or “these used to be on grandma’s bed…”). Splurge on extra thread counts and sateen finishes.
–Install dimmer switches to create ambiance and a more flattering, romantic glow.
–Keep lube and mutually pleasurable toys nearby. If you’re worried about kids finding them, purchase the right nightstand to accommodate a small, combination-locked safe and use it.
When you consciously create a passion-centric bedroom, passion is sure to fallow.
- Sexy Chat All Day Long. Parents with kids don’t’ have time for a lot of foreplay so let language be your foreplay so you’re ready and raring to go when it’s time to hit the hay. Use chats and emails to send lovey, sexy and explicit messages about what you want to do and what you want to have done. Speaking of “all day” – if your kids are on the younger side, stop thinking about sex as a “bedtime only” affair. You’re tired at night. Period. And that makes it harder to get in the mood. Instead, try to find random moments, even if they’re only quickies here and there, to make out, spend a few naked moments in the shower together, have sex in a corner of the garage while the kids are entertained with a video or playing in the backyard, etc. Start thinking more like a sneaky teenager and less like a routine-following adult.
- Think outside the intercourse box. For heterosexual couples, Sex = Intercourse. However, that’s not the case for gay and lesbian couples. In fact, Dan Savage, host of the very popular Savage Lovecast has commented several time on that very fact. He says that heterosexual couples often bemoan the lack of their sex life, when what they really mean is they don’t have intercourse as much as they used to. His advice? Start thinking about sex in a big picture sense. In other words, your sex life is much more than the traditional penis-vaginal intercourse. That isn’t even a possibility for gay/lesbian couples and they have sex lives too. We won’t go into specifics here, but you can use your imagination. Playing the “everything but sex” game can be a fun way to trick your body into wanting nothing but sex.
- Cultivate intimacy. How well do you know your partner these days? How well does he or she know you? Could it be that the daily-grind has forged a mental block about what attracted you and your mate to one another in the first place? Have an honest conversation – hearts out, egos in check – about where you’re at and where you want to be. Start cultivating intimacy and fun again. The more you enjoy engaged conversation, fun, laughter, playfulness and understanding – the more attracted you both will be.
Feel like there’s more than daily exhaustion and stress to your low-libido story? Schedule an appointment with Women’s Health Associates and we’ll help you figure it out.