It’s easy to attribute a low sex drive to stress or losing attraction to a partner, but there’s another cause that’s often missed: health issues. According to sex therapist Shadeen Francis, big changes in your sex drive can be an indicator of health concerns ranging from hormonal issues to adverse responses to medication. Testing is the best way to determine the root cause of low libido. If you don’t go for yourself, do it for your partner.
My clients will say,”‘I don’t have the sex drive that my partner has’ or ‘I don’t have the sex drive that according to societal norms around sexuality by gender, I don’t measure up in regards to those,'” says Francis. This can be a little difficult to talk about with your partner, especially if you’re not being real about feelings of guilt and shame, or if your partner feels defensive or embarrassed about the issue. Anticipate a little awkwardness and keep pushing with some of these tips from Francis.
1Talk in Real Time
Communication is a must for any relationship to work. “It doesn’t have to be a deep, long conversation. Talk about how often you would like to have sex ideally, how often you find yourself wanting sex, how often you’re actually having sex, and what kind of sex you like. Be sure to get your partner to share the same.” This gives you and your partner an idea of what the other person wants and how they feel about the situation as a whole.
2Negotiate, Negotiate, Negotiate
“We live in a culture where we’re taught that sex is supposed to be a spontaneous act but if there is the discrepancy in libidos you have to put in more effort, and compromise, to figure out what will work. You have to also work to maximize the experiences.” The key is to keep the discussions and act, fun to avoid making sex feel like a chore or mandate. Be honest about your needs, but also compromise.
3Take Turns Initiating Sex
Don’t place the burden of kicking off the sexual interludes on one party—it can lead to frustration and resentment. “I encourage a power shift in which the person who has experienced the lower libido makes more of a concerted effort to serve as the primary initiator until the couple really figures out how to create a sex routine that feels mutually fulfilling.”
4 Figure Out What You Like
“It’s important to determine what really turns you on because sometimes folks feel like they have low libido and that’s not the case. They don’t desire particular sex acts. I always suggest clients expand their concept of intimacy. There are ways that folks can connect sexually without intercourse.” Acts such as mutual masturbation, erotic massage, taking baths and taking walks together can show your partner that you are still attracted to them sexually even if you don’t feel like having sex with them. This strengthens the overall sexual connection, will lessen the frustration caused by low sexual activity and help decipher real turn-ons.