When browsing Twitter and Facebook or reading parenting blogs, I have recently noticed a trend; it seems like there are many moms who talk about their lack of desire to have sex. I see memes and jokes, or even off-hand comments, but I wonder how many women are really silently dealing with this issue.
Lack of sex drive is something that can cause a lot of friction and hurt feelings in a marriage and to some, may feel like a taboo topic to talk about. For some it can be something they were not raised to talk about openly, for others it can be embarrassing to try to verbalize or discuss with others.
No one is to blame for a low libido and always being ready to go is not easy when you have children, stress, busy schedules, and everyday responsibilities. A low sex drive is not something you have to live with, however. Everyone deserves to have a healthy and fulfilling love life.
This topic isn’t unfamiliar to me. When I was pregnant I felt completely exhausted during my first trimesters; after arriving home from work all I wanted to do was sleep and didn’t have the energy for anything else. In my second trimesters, I was constantly ill with morning sickness and was sick each day, several times a day- that doesn’t make you feel sexy at all. My third trimesters were the complete opposite, even though I felt as big as a whale and had trouble even rolling over in bed near the end. Once my babies were born my husband and I were both living in a zombie-like sleep-deprived state for quite a while. That eventually subsided and things went back to normal, well I guess our new normal.
Fast forward almost four years: I can’t tell you how many times recently where I have put my kids to bed and just wanted to sit down, to finally get the chance to go pee, or to be alone. Other times I have been touched all day, having one or more kids hanging on me constantly (even in the bathroom), so the last thing I want to do is get frisky. Sometimes I just plain have no desire for sex at all. Why?
Stress is a big factor. Stress makes me irritable, gives me headaches, and makes me impatient. Tiredness is another. When I put the kids to bed I usually just want to go to sleep myself. I noticed a big difference after starting one of my anxiety medications. My anxiety was better, but I didn’t have any desire for sex. Lastly, for me, I have been carrying around extra pounds since my son was born and it has majorly impacted my self-image and self-esteem, which in turn had made me feel undesirable and ashamed of my body. This is just my personal experience, but there are many other reasons that your libido may be lacking.
So what can you do?
1. Talk to your doctor
A medical condition or medication could be interfering with your libido. Your doctor may be able to change your medication or diagnose a condition that may be affecting you. If you are experiencing any pain or discomfort with sex, discuss this with your provider to get to the root of the issue and find a treatment and solution.
There is also a newly FDA-approved medication called Addyi, which is supposed to increase the female sex drive. It is a drug that may not be deemed as “medically necessary” and thus may not be covered by your health insurance’s formulary.
2. Talk to your partner
Talk to your partner and let them know how you are feeling. Chances are they are also carrying around some feelings about the lack of sex or desire for sex in your relationship. An open and honest dialogue can help you both feel more comfortable and be on the same page.
Exercising can help your body produce feel-good endorphins. It can also help boost your body image and self-esteem.
4. Mark your calendar
Scheduling a time for intimacy, like you would for exercise or an appointment, can get you into a routine and help you prioritize time to be with your partner. Once it becomes a habit it is more likely to happen spontaneously too.
Changing when you are likely to have sex will also make a big difference. I go to bed around 9:30 because I wake up early in the morning. My husband is a night owl and often works late. If he tries to wake me up at 2:00 a.m. usually there is no way I am going to want to be intimate, especially if I’ve been up several times already with a teething kid. But, if he goes to bed when I do, even if I am tired I am way more likely to be in the mood.
5. Just do it
As counterintuitive as it may seem, the more you have sex, the more your sex drive will increase.
6. Try something new
Change your normal routine by adding a video, new lingerie, role-playing, romantic candles, or other things you haven’t tried before can spice up your love life.
7. Change your setting
Go to a different room in the house or a hotel. Take a vacation. Send the kids to Grandma’s for the afternoon. Sometimes all you need is (even a short) time away from your everyday life and responsibilities to get you into the mood.
8. Take care of yourself
Self-care is often overlooked in our busy everyday lives. Get more rest. Find new ways to relax and de-stress. When taking care of yourself becomes the norm you’ll find many aspects of your life improve.
9. Take a load off
If you are feeling overwhelmed by day-to-day stressors and feel like you’re drowning in things to do, try dividing up more household chores or responsibilities so there is less on your shoulders. And to all you dudes out there, seeing your husband cleaning the kitchen or vacuuming the house without being nagged to do it is a total turn on.
10. Find out what gets you in the mood
Have a glass of wine after the kids have gone to bed. Ask for a back massage.
Wear a silky nightgown. Listen to music that makes you feel good. Figure out what makes you feel good, feel good about yourself, and in the mood to be intimate.
11. Speak with a professional
Speaking with a counselor may help you identify factors that are holding you back from having the sex life you want or be able to address a lack of sexual desire and what it can mean for you and your relationship.
Know that you are not alone, there is nothing wrong with you, and low sex drive happens to everyone. It is natural for every relationship to go through changes and for every person to go through changes over time. There are many reasons why your sex drive may fluctuate or perhaps even disappear altogether. The important thing to remember is that there are many ways to try to get your intimacy back on track and to have the love life you deserve, so don’t feel embarrassed or ashamed; take action and get your groove back.