With our fast-paced lifestyle juggling careers, homes, family and friends, who has time for sex, right? We are physically and mentally exhausted and our minds are still buzzing with unresolved issues almost every night.
An odd phenomenon of our time is that despite increased openness and willingness to communicate about the most intimate sexual matters, it has become more common than not to hear women talk about having low to no desire for sex.
Having worked with women patients for many years, our experience has shown that the main causes of low sexual desire are fatigue, lack of communication and intimacy in the relationship, lifestyle changes, getting older and physical or hormonal changes that come along with childbirth, menopause and even contraception.
Making sense of the problem
Researchers from different disciplines have been trying to make sense of female sexual desire and provide a better explanation for this phenomenon. Some say it’s the physiological changes that cause mental barriers to sexual desire. Others claim the psychological barriers create physical breakdowns.
It’s a fact that there is a mind-body relationship and, when there is a problem, the whole system can get off balance. Women’s desire for sexual relations is an intertwined system of brain chemistry, emotions and physiology that make it almost impossible to diagnose or treat with one method alone.
There is no magic pill, special cream or behavioral therapy that will single-handedly turn on the switch for a woman’s sexual desire. Low desire really calls for a comprehensive approach that provides answers on the entire system, including physical, emotional and psychological levels.
Solving the problem
Developing solutions involves acknowledging the mind/body relationship and how it impacts female sexuality. Sexual desire in women must be assessed with regard to each element of mind, body and emotions to identify where barriers occur. It only takes one negative sexual experience to condition a woman’s sexual response and create a disconnection with arousal.
Know your story and address it from where you are currently. It may be from a physical perspective if you are having difficulties with hormonal changes or pain with intercourse. Or it may be that you feel distracted during sex or that sex has become less spontaneous and more of a chore. Whatever your story may be, it’s best to acknowledge where you are starting from in the present, in order to establish goals for moving toward and creating change for a better future.
Increasing your desire
Increasing sexual desire can start with reconditioning your sexual response using new sexual stimuli. In women, arousal often comes from being receptive to sexual stimuli. Gestures of affection, flirting and compliments are very effective at sparking a positive emotional connection, which can turn on a woman’s arousal switch. Arousal is the foundation for desire in women, but it’s also a two-way street.
Once desire is enhanced, it makes arousal easier to experience. Sexual stimuli for women are more of a sensual experience, involving pleasure input from all the senses — not just a single source. Each woman needs to identify her own personal sexual triggers, and then, adopt a plan to launch her arousal response.
When something feels good, acknowledge it, and stay in the moment, communicate with your partner and then both of you can experience the pleasure together.
Empower yourself with knowledge and find out more about sexual desire by attending a workshop with experts in your area, reading a book on the subject or seeking a clinical consultation with sexual health providers who are skilled in working with the mind-body connection.