Feeling A Little Low On Sexual Desire? Try These 5 Things

Women’s low sexual desire is one of the most common reason that women and couples seek sex therapy. Unfortunately treating women’s low sexual desire is considered fairly challenging – perhaps partially because we view women’s desire as so complex and elusive.

That’s not to say it isn’t.

Women’s sexual desire is impacted by many, many parts of our lives, intimate relationships, history and background, culture, hormones, mental health. The list goes on and on.

That being said, there is a downside to considering women’s sexual desire as “elusive.” The more we treat women’s desire as a complex puzzle that we will never solve the more we start to believe that, well, it will never be solved. We believe that we can’t improve on it, that it’s never going to get better.

While there are absolutely some women who report never feeling interested in sex, and there are some women who truly struggle to feel desire at all (or ever), there are also many of us who feel a slump or decrease in our sexual interest who can make some smaller changes that could go a long way.

These 5 things could help:

1. Get More Sleep

How many times have you felt that you were just too tired to have sex? You’ve had a long day. You’ve been taking care of the kids who are having tantrums over you giving them an orange cup when they clearly wanted the red one. Or you had to run from one meeting to the next dealing with terrible traffic on your way home. Then you climb into bed at the end of the night and just want to fall asleep. It’s totally understandable to not want sex in that situation.

In fact, the best thing for your sex life might actually be getting those extra z’s because it may make you feel more likely to want sex tomorrow.

Research has found that the more sleep you get tonight, the more likely you’ll be interested in having sex the next day. So go to sleep tonight and it might just help put you in the mood tomorrow. Plus, if we have an orgasm during sex it produces Oxytocin in our bodies which promotes better sleep – which increases our interest in sex – which, you get the picture. Win win.

2. Get Some Exercise

Sometimes not being in the mood for sex is less about being sleepy and more about not have enough energy for sex. Being too tired is wanting to fall asleep right away. Not having enough energy sounds something more like, “I’m not ready for bed yet, I just want to binge watch Netflix on the couch and eat chips.”

Again it’s pretty difficult to want sex in this situation. Or, put another way, perhaps we might want sex (or at least be open to it) but we are too lazy to act on it, to initiate, to ask for it, or to accept our partner’s advances. After all it means taking off our clothes, getting in a certain position (or multiple positions), moving our bodies around for an unknown amount of time. It takes energy, both physical and mental.

But as difficult as it can be to motivate ourselves to work out (or even just go for a walk) when we’re feeling zapped, fitness experts suggest this is when your body needs it most. Plus not always will you most likely feel better from getting some fresh air or moving those muscles at the gym, but afterwards your blood is flowing, your energy is higher and researchers have determined that both men and women are likely to find sex more satisfying immediately post exercise. So instead of focusing on having sex, focus on going for that walk or to the gym. Sex just might follow.

3. Do Something Novel and Fun

When we are in a relationship most people need to feel a certain level closeness and connection in order to want to have sex. And research suggests that the best way to reconnect with a partner may be doing something new and novel outside of the bedroom together. Think going on a weekend adventure, a drive out of town, learning to tango, or taking a cooking or wine tasting class. Something different is key.

The reason? It mimics the feelings we had at the beginning of a relationship. Doing something novel or unfamiliar feels more like those early dating days when everything was new and exciting. And chances are sex was more passionate and frequent then too. So go to the fair, the arcade, a petting zoo – anything a bit out of your normal routine. It just may help you feel closer to your partner and the excitement and novelty of trying something different could peak your interest in having sex as well.

4. Clear Your Head

It’s been said that our brain is our biggest and most important sexual organ. So if you’re not in the mood for sex it could be that your brain is too full of other things to focus on the moment at hand. Or too full and distracted to respond to sexual cues in your environment that would normally turn you on.

They key here, again, is not to focus on having or wanting sex. Instead, think about what else is happening around you that’s getting in the way. Is your dirty, cluttered house stressing you out? Talk to your partner about sharing the workload and make a plan for getting things under control. Stressed from work? Let it out. Share and move on so you can make space for intimacy (if that’s what you’re looking for!).

Also mindfulness – the practice of not judging or evaluating your thoughts, just observing and letting them pass – is found to positively impact sexual desire for many women. It allows us to be in the moment and results in a better chance of enjoying the sexual sensations and increasing our interest in sexual activity.

5. Play

When sex feels like another chore – something we feel we “should” do or something we have check off our endless “to do” list – we take it too seriously and, as a result, it’s not that enjoyable.

But what if we could shift sex away from being a chore and, instead, saw it as a way to relax, have fun and “play?” As adults we often forget the importance of just having fun. After all, we need to be professional at work, be “on” with our kids, pay attention to what we eat, what we spend, and the endless cleaning, and so on. But sex doesn’t have to be so serious. In fact, some of the most satisfied couples report being playful during sexual activity.

So ask yourself this: what would make sex more fun? What would help me feel relaxed enough to let go, to be less serious, to laugh? Perhaps try some form of role play even if it feels awkward if it makes you giggle or gets you into a different, playful head space. Watch a funny movie with your partner to help put you in a more relaxed and easy going state and see if sex is more appealing afterward. Because as long as sex is thought of as a “to do” item it’s never going to get your passion and erotic juices flowing.

Take Away

They key is to take pressure off of sex by focusing on the elements around it rather than focusing on the sex itself too directly. So sleep, try that yoga class, go wine tasting, clear your mind – and you just might find your interest in sex increases.

Sarah Hunter Murray