Lack of libido in a long-term relationship is a common complaint, according to sex therapists. It isn’t surprising given that most of us are juggling work, friends and family. Finding the time and energy to feel sexy and passionate can be a challenge. ‘Sometimes sex can feel like just another thing on our ‘to do’ list, says Val Sampson, co-author of How To Have Great Sex For The Rest Of Your Life. When you’ve been together for a while it can be hard to maintain the sexual intensity you shared at the outset. ‘The initial lust and hormonal frenzy only lasts for around 18 months’.
A low sex drive is perfectly normal and affects most of us at some point. It is only a problem if one or both of you are unhappy with the situation. If that is the case then you may want to get professional advice.
Physical Or Psychological Causes
Firstly, if it has been going on for longer than six months, see your GP to rule out any physical problem. Possible causes of low libido include low testosterone levels, the Pill, breast-feeding, anti-depressants and too much alcohol. Psychological causes include depression, exhaustion, addictions, and stress and relationship issues. In these cases, counselling and sex therapy can help.
Lifestyle Changes to Improve Your Libido
The brain is our biggest sex organ. If you are not feeling turned on upstairs then you won’t be downstairs. Make the decision to be committed to your erotic life. Get into the habit of fantasising regularly. Read erotic literature. Pay attention to situations and encounters and notice what makes you think about sex. Pleasure yourself and wear clothes that make you feel good. Self-esteem is a big part of feeling sensual.
Explore your passions out of the bedroom. How do you spend your time together? Are there new activities you can do to bring something fresh to the relationship? This renewed energy will translate to the bedroom.
It Takes Two to Tango
Dancing works the pelvic area, which is great for stirring up sexual energy. The positive effect of Argentinian Tango on libido and couples’ communication is a current area of research. During swimming, we lose heat, which releases the sex hormone noradrenaline into the bloodstream. Work your PC muscles to increase blood flow to the genital area and enhance sexual sensation and orgasm for you both.
Vary your diet and introduce different foods to sensitise your taste buds. Dr Robert Fried and Lynn Elden-Nezin, authors of Great Food, Great Sex recommend a diet high in complex carbohydrates, antioxidants and fruit and vegetables to boost your sex drive. Oily fish boosts circulation, which improves erections, and Soya increases vaginal lubrication.
Explore herbal medicines such as damiana, ginseng, gingko biloba and dong quai reputation – all thought to be aphrodisiacs. Ask a qualified herbalist for advice on herbs for libido.
Some aromatherapy oils stimulate the pituitary gland, which if inactive, causes low libido. Jasmine and Ylang Ylang contain indole, a molecule, which improves sexual function. Scent goes straight to the oldest part of the brain, the limbic system, which controls our emotion and memory, says Elisabeth Millar, author of The Fragrant Veil.
Explore Tantra – Yoni and Lingam massage can help you find out what feels pleasurable.
Try acupuncture – ‘There is a powerful acupuncture point four fingers above the ankle that is very nourishing and great for increasing sexual energy,’ says London-based acupuncturist Julia Exposito.
Sex drive fluctuates throughout the month according to hormones and the reproductive cycle, how busy you are, and your stress levels. This is perfectly normal. If you are concerned about your (or your partner’s libido) talk about it and seek professional advice. Make some lifestyle changes and experiment with diet and exercise. Feeling healthy, fit and positive is the first step to having a healthy sex life.