The longer I live this “low-libido” rollercoaster journey, the more I learn. And because I know there are people out there on the same frustrating path, I’d like to share a few insights from my field notes.
Over the years, I’ve found that a few things work more than others, and much like any health journey, it comes down to commitment and dedication. Just like when you want to lose weight, you have to change your lifestyle and improve your habits. There’s no quick fix or magic pill. Though some people go to extreme measures to find an easy solution (cleanses, surgeries, medications), it won’t stick if your habits don’t change.
Now, keep in mind, I’m not a psychologist or a doctor, so this information is based purely in the experience of one individual.
These are the 5 categories of habit and behavior that can lead to improving a lagging libido…
Keep Your Health in Check:
Move (exercise a bit), hydrate (drink plenty of water so you have energy and focus), sleep (give your body a 6-8 hour break), keep your diet mainly healthy, and don’t drink too much alcohol. For me, a glass or two or red wine can get me in the mood, and I know many swear by marijuana or certain foods as aphrodisiacs. It couldn’t hurt to try. See what works for you! I’ve not found that food or weed do much for my desire level, but this is all a personal journey, and we all need different things.
It’s true that some medications can impact our libido, so talk to your doctor about that, and be honest. If things aren’t going well in the bedroom, but they used be fine before you started taking some new medication, do some research on it. See if your doctor can prescribe something different that won’t hurt your sex drive.
I’ve tried quite a few of the supplements out there, and I can’t say that any of them have made any marked difference. Currently, I’m increasing estrogen and progesterone – and I don’t notice much difference with that, either. Sometimes, low libido is related to a decrease in testosterone, especially for men. I have a pretty high testosterone level, and I still struggle with libido issues, but it’s important to have your hormone levels checked, because they can wreak havoc on your desire levels.
Other health issues can impact your libido, too. Have an open dialogue with your doctor. If your doctor doesn’t see it as a big enough problem (mine didn’t…she pretty much minimized it and said all women have lower libidos as they age, so get used to it), find a specialist who will take your worries seriously. A strong sex life can make a stronger relationship, and strong relationships are good for our health.
Control Your Calendar:
Ensure some white space in your daily agenda. Stress is one of the top libido killers, so make sure you have time to relax and do something you enjoy. Also, schedule time to be with the one you love – just connecting and having fun. Intimacy is often a necessary foundation to desire. You also need to consider when you like to have sex – for us, putting it off until too late at night is going to ensure it doesn’t get done.
Tickle Your Imagination:
Get some “sex on the brain.” Read erotica, write about sex, watch something sexy. If your brain isn’t conjuring the thoughts on its own, help it out! Keep the digital distractions in check, though. There is some current research that shows our phones and TVs are getting in the way of our sex lives, taking up too much focus and time. If there is a TV in your bedroom (for anything besides sexy viewing), you may want to remove it.
Most women I’ve talked to have assured me, and I’ve found it to be true in my own experience, having sex spurs the desire to have more sex. So once your one that train, keep the damn thing rolling! I realize life gets in the way (illness, family, work, etc.), but when the train stops, so does the momentum. You’ll have to do the work to get it going again.
Get Your Relationship on Track:
None of these things are going to work if your relationship is in trouble. So, if you need a sex therapist or marriage counselor, get one. And if the first one doesn’t work, get another. Your relationship has to be on solid ground before anything else is going to have much of an impact. And you’ll need to be able to communicate your desires and fantasies. So…if you don’t know much about what you want, sexually speaking, start there! (I suggest the journal Exploring Your Sexual Self by Joan Mazza, Tell Me What You Want by Justin Lehmiller, and Come As You Are by Emily Nagoski – which also has a workbook).
I’ll be honest…I’m not always good at keeping up with these habits and behaviors. BUT, I’ve been on this ride long enough to know that a strong combination of these things can do wonders for my own desire level. And they are all things I have personal control over. You cannot control what your partner does. You cannot make them more romantic or more this or more that. So, focusing on what YOU can do allows you to be more proactive and more positive about the situation.
There is a fairly new-ish medication called Addyi. I have not used it, because it’s pretty expensive (over $100 per month), and despite what the website says, my insurance wouldn’t cover it. (I guess sex is a luxury.) However, I’m linking it here, because if you’ve been diagnosed with HSDD (Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder), it may be an option. Here’s what the website says:
ADDYI is a prescription medicine used to treat hypoactive (low) sexual desire disorder (HSDD) in women who have not gone through menopause, who have not had problems with low sexual desire in the past, and who have low sexual desire no matter the type of sexual activity, the situation, or the sexual partner. Women with HSDD have low sexual desire that is troubling to them. Their low sexual desire is not due to:
a medical or mental health problem
problems in the relationship
medicine or other drug use
ADDYI is not for use for the treatment of HSDD in women who have gone through menopause.
If you’ve used this medication, I’d love to hear what you have to say about it.