Written by: Topper Marie
I read a lot of posts and articles on Reddit, blogs, social media, and in self-help magazines about women who run into the issue of not being sexually attracted to their partner, losing their sexual drive after marriage, not being able to orgasm during sex...and you know what? This got me thinking. I too have had similar issues with my sex drive after marriage. I went so far as to even ask my gynecologist is there was something wrong with me. His response was, “no, you just have to make time for it.” With that answer, I still didn’t feel like it was sufficient as to how I was feeling. So next, I went to my primary care doctor and even had my levels checked to see if there was something wrong with my libido. Still nothing. She said all my levels were fine. I felt as if there was nowhere else to turn and there must have been something wrong with me.
Sonya shares with us that, "Many of my female clients share these same thoughts and fears. The first thing we’re all quick to assume is “there is something wrong with me." So many women go to their gynecologists for answers to hear the same thing you heard. It’s always a good idea to check with your doctor and have your hormone levels checked first. Then, learning about your sexuality and addressing maybe some of the relational and emotional issues that are contributing to low sex drive."
So here I am writing this blog to help educate and discuss with women on what, why and how they could be feeling this way. Also, maybe with sharing this wisdom I too find an answer to how to improve my sex drive. Now if you are like me and go straight to the professionals to see if there is something wrong, you may get the same answers I did. What concerned me is the doctors did not ask me additional questions of why I may be feeling that way or if I had any additional symptoms. It was just dismissed as if it didn’t matter. Now I can understand that this is most likely an issue that many women face after marriage or childbirth, but why is there not more education in place to help women with these issues?
An issue like a low sex drive can affect your marriage or relationship. There is no doubt there. If you are not meeting your spouse or partner's needs it could lead to infidelity, depression, divorce or just outright anger. We are going to jump into some topics in this blog about:
Let’s get started.
Answering the age-old questions, what do women want? Has been around forever. I think that everyone has seen the movie with Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt (if you haven’t, watch it, it's cute). This question is too broad for us to answer, but I will give it my best shot…we want love, passion, respect, praise, romance and a partner who knows when to not bother us.
All joking aside, it has been proven that men do have a higher intensity and frequency when it comes to sexual desire than women. Women’s sexual desire is less attached directly to the physical arousal then men and women are much more affected by the world around them and how they feel about themselves (1).
There are also stages of the relationship as you move through the length of time you are in a relationship with someone. Everyone knows how it felt when you first met your partner or your spouse, you were infatuated with them. During this time of your relationship sex is usually frequent and desire is running all over the place. This is something that does not last. As the relationship grows, we all start to fit into a normal range of sexual activity with our partner.
In a long-term relationship, we all know once you have heard and seen someone take their morning bathroom run or be so sick and throwing up everywhere, that sexual desire tends to fade. In an article on Psychology Today, it discussed how Marta Meana studied 19 married women’s sexual desire in a soon to be published study. She observed, “…overfamiliarity with their partner led to a decline in romance and sexual innovation, as well as to a loss of their own sense of individuality and desire to care for their appearance, which they felt promoted sexual desire.” I believe this holds in a lot of marriages. Women tend to get bored. We are constantly moving, nurturing, and taking care of our families that patterns tend to bore us. I met with a friend for dinner, who told me she and her husband still have sex at least 3 times a week after 22 years of marriage and 2 kids. I thought to myself, wow. So, I asked here, how do they do it? She told me that they ensure that they respect each other’s space and plan when they will have sex so there are no misunderstood expectations. For her and her husband, planning works.
In the article, the study of another group of women indicated that “their roles as wives, mothers, and professionals were not only overwhelming but highly desexualizing, and it was hard to shift into sexual mode from such roles. Some women specifically noted that while they were committed to their partner, they believed their desire would return if someone new entered their life.” Being the mother, wife, and caretaker of the family does not necessarily have a sexy ring to it, by the end of the day most women are exhausted and not in the mood. This is completely normal. In another blog about cheating, we talked with Sonya Jensen, the All Bout Boobies Sexpert, about why women may feel the need to cheat and how to curb that appetite.
Sonya Jensen, All Bout Boobies Sexpert, states, “we’re taught in the movies to romanticize sex. There are many ideas out there as to why women lose their sex drive after marriage and I think stress is a pretty big culprit. There are so many expectations on women these days, both external and internal. Many women I talk to about sex will say they have sex to support their partners but don’t really know what they like when they like it, or even if they will like it again. Sex becomes all about meeting your partner’s needs without thinking about your own. You can imagine how that changes the chemistry and can build resentment.”
Sonya continues by stating the importance of not losing yourself and your sexuality, “We as women need to rethink our roles in life and begin thinking about our own self-care and sexuality. There is more to this puzzle than just the two things I’ve mentioned, but in relationships with children where there has not been an affair or other attachment injury, this seems to be the case. After we get married and have children we become very “other’s focused.” The more you care for yourself by thinking about your wants and needs the more you have to give out.
In her book Come as You Are, Emily Nagowski, Ph.D., talks about women’s sexuality and how to identify both our “brakes” and “accelerators” when it comes to sex. Take some time to think about your sexual experiences. What was your life like, where were you, what did you feel when you were having great sex? Those are likely some clues into what accelerates your sex drive. Many women will say on vacation, before children, etc.… Now, think about a sexual experience that didn’t feel fun and engaging. What was your life like, where were you, what were you feeling? These are likely clues into what your sexual brakes are. We have to know ourselves well to really experience connecting and passionate sex. Well, you might not be able to have great sex all the time, knowing your brakes and accelerators will go a long way in helping you communicate with your partner, advocate for your needs, and create an environment that is supportive to your sexual health and needs.”
According to the Mayo Clinic, there is a slew of reasons why you could be having a low sex drive, that includes physical, hormonal, psychological, and relationship issues:
When I look at this list, I think that there are several reasons here that make sense. Remember, it is more context-driven for women with sexual desire. If you are thinking about money issues, or that you’ve gained a little bit of weight, it could get you out of the mood quickly. Also, more underlying medical issues or medicine you are taking could be at play. If you feel something may be affecting you medically, definitely contact your doctor.
Now on to the fun stuff, increasing your sex drive or libido. Here are some tips from the Mayo Clinic on how you can increase your sex drive:
I hope that discussing this topic will release some shame around how you may feel about your sexual desire or lack thereof and help you to try some of these solutions to how you may be feeling.
Make sure to talk to your partner and your doctor if you feel like you want to make a change. Go to your appointment prepared with a list of questions you have. Do not let the doctor just push you out. Improving yourself sexually and mentally can be the first step in improving your overall well-being. Every woman deserves to be loved, respected and cherished. You are the first on the list to give yourself all of those things, take care of yourself and your body.
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Learning to lust. (n.d.). Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/articles/201005/learning-lust?collection=61051
Acute exercise improves physical sexual arousal in women taking antidepressants. (n.d.). PubMed Central (PMC). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3422071/
Low sex drive in women - Diagnosis and treatment. (2020, March 28). Mayo Clinic - Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/low-sex-drive-in-women/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20374561
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