Help! I’ve lost my libido!
Has your libido just upped and left? I know how frustrating and depressing when your libido- or your partner’s libido- completely disappears. A lost libido can be something that happens suddenly, or it can be a gradual drop over many years until now, sex is the last thing you want to do and all you feel is an aching sadness.
Maybe you’ve tried eating oysters, dressing up, watching porn or erotica, or you spent a fortune a fancy vibrator, but still, you just feel… nothing.
Low libido is one of the most common concerns I see when working with women and couples, and the reasons why are complex. While I can’t promise to “cure” your low libido, there are many things we can do that can stoke your desire again and help you find your lust for life again.
What is having a low libido?
This is a complex term because it’s like asking “how much sex is too much sex?”, or what is “normal” for a libido? I’m going to be that annoying sex coach and say there really is NO such thing as “normal”; what matters is if it’s making you feel distressed and frustrated. Or if you want to experience more, but don’t know where to start.
While conventional medicine or a good old Google search will tell you that having a low libido means that you have lost your desire for sex, I have my own thoughts.
You may have lost your desire for sex or to be sexual, but is it “sex” you don’t want, or the kind of sex you were having before? Maybe you don’t want to be penetrated, what you really want is to be touched and held. Or maybe you’re deeply longing for a passionate kiss in the rain, to be tied up, or to dance naked in the rain. What if you just want to be spooned?
Libido is your life force energy.
I see your libido as your guage for your appetite for life. Maybe the way that you experience desire isn’t genitally based, but you still long for connection and a feeling of MORE-NESS.
You may already feeling desire, but not in the way that you think. I’ll go into more detail later, so now I’m going to break down some of the most common reasons why you’ve lost your libido, so that you realize that you’re not alone or broken.
Why you’ve lost your libido
There could be many reasons why you suddenly have no desire, including:
- Hormone changes- whether due to aging, an underlying health problem, a change in your hormonal contraception, or ongoing stress, changes in your hormones will impact your libido.
- You’re going through the menopause- typical symptoms include a drop in oestrogen and testosterone, thinning of vaginal walls, feeling like you’re constantly premenstrual, vaginal dryness, and the emotional impact of seeing your body change.
- Some medications- including antidepressant medication, some forms of hormonal contraception, medication for high blood pressure, medication for seizures, and medication for prostate cancer.
- Underlying health problems- heart disease, diabetes, an underactive thyroid, cancer, having major surgery (especially surgery to remove the ovaries, uterus and fallopian tubes), and chronic illness. Maybe you or your partner has recently gotten sick or is battling an ongoing chronic illness or long term health condition. If you’ve spent all day battling crushing fatigue, constant pain, or you’ve had to battle your GP yet again to take you seriously, no wonder you’ve lost all desire for sex. Similarly, if you’ve been recovering from a serious injury- particularly s spinal cord injury, this will also impact your libido.
- Depression and having a mental health blip- have you been feeling consistently low, lethargic, and like life is just too much? A common symptom of depression or poor mental health is a drop in libido.
- You’re just too tired and stressed out- your kids are running you off your feet and constantly demanding your attention. Or you’re taking care of a relative, you’re working long hours, your boss is putting too much pressure on you, you have no help at home, or you have undiagnosed anemia or an underactive thyroid.
- Relationship stressors- conflict, not feeling heard, resentment, arguments, you’ve gotten too used to each other and have fallen into a sexual rut, you’re no longer attracted to your partner, you are terrible at communicating with each other.
- Physical sexual concerns- Sex is painful for you (vaginismus, vulvodynia or dyspareunia), vaginal dryness, you can’t orgasm, or your partner has erectile dysfunction or ejaculation difficulties.
- Issues around pregnancy, giving birth, and breastfeeding- if you’re struggling to conceive, if it was a difficult pregnancy, a traumatic birth, you’re not fully recovered after the birth, your priorities have changed, you’re too tired and leaking milk everywhere… get the drift?
- Your upbringing- if you were brought up in a conservative household where sex and sexuality were frowned upon as something “sinful”, “bad”, or “dirty”, this is going to impact how you feel about sex today. You may be experiencing a deep shame about your body and your pleasure which is stopping you from really enjoying sex.
- Past trauma- sexual assault or abuse, or another traumatic event could be affecting your desire for sex today. If this hasn’t been fully processed in therapy, the trauma will still be living in your body. Thanks to #MeToo and #TimesUp, we are realizing just how common this is, you are not alone.
- A combination of many of these factors at once, because humans are complex!
If you’re reading this and thinking- “OMG that’s a long list!”, then you’re absolutely right. There are many things that affect your sex drive and desire; think of your libido as your barometer for your overall health and wellbeing.
I invite you to think about your libido not just as your desire for “sex”, but your desire for connection, to yourself, and to pleasure. Because it’s not always about sex, or at least the sex you’re thinking about.
How to increase your libido again
This is probably one of the most common search terms on Google! Just how do you revive a flagging libido- for yourself or for your partner if you’ve been turned down yet again and you’re going stir crazy?
My guess is that you’ve already Googled herbal supplements, foods that have aphrodisiac qualities, or looked for the “pink viagra”. While I don’t deny that some herbs and many different foods have been known for their aphrodisiac properties, I am not a naturopath or herbalist. I will recommend some herbs and food supplements that have been known to help increase libido, but I also invite you to think beyond what you ingest.
Loss of desire has many causes, which is why looking for a quick fix, searching for a medical solution, or a magic pill, won’t help you long term.
It’s often a combination of many factors: mental, emotional, physical, social, relational, and biological. Which makes sense, if you think about it, this is what it means to be a human being. If you want to get really geeky about it, it’s called “Biopsychosocial”.
This means that if you want to revive your libido, you need to address your whole life.
Here’s a quick reference guide for how you can revive your libido:
- Have a full health check. Including hormone levels, thyroid, and adrenals, food intolerances. You may need to do this privately as the ones offered on the NHS usually are not accurate enough.
- Get help with the menopause. If you’re suffering with the symptoms of menopause, consider working with a naturopath, herbalist, nutritionist, acupuncturist, or another alternative medicine practitioner to get your body back into balance. You may also want to work with a coach or therapist to help you process the emotional fallout of going through this life change.
- Review your diet. Are you stuffing yourself with sugar, diet coke, and fried food? Are your nerves shot on caffeine? Maybe it’s time for a rehaul of your diet.
- Eat the full rainbow of foods. Incorporate more high nutrient foods into your diet. Think about adding cacao, maca, ginseng, ginger, chili, nuts, seeds, and more fresh fruit and vegetables.
- Make sure that you’re getting enough sleep. No more scrolling Facebook at 11.30pm, you need to be having good quality sleep. Easier said than done if you’re a new mum or a carer, so just do the best you can.
- Stop after one glass of wine or a pint. I hate to be a killjoy if wine is one of your biggest pleasures in life, but I bet your doctor has told you the same. Too much booze will impact your whole system, so take it easy. Enjoy your one glass of wine with all of your senses.
- Work on your body confidence and self-esteem. If you hate your partner seeing you naked, are obsessed about how big your tummy is, and generally struggle with feeling good about yourself, this will impact your desire to get frisky. One of the single most empowering things you can do for yourself is to love your body just as it is, right now.
- Get relationship help. If your relationship is a battleground and you can’t stop having the same arguments, it’s time to seek help from a good relationship coach or therapist.
- Sex should not hurt. If you are experiencing persistent vulval or vaginal pain- whether it’s vaginismus, vulvodynia, dyspareunia, injury from childbirth, or uterine prolapse, please, please, please do NOT suffer in silence and get yourself seen by a medical professional. You may need a referral to a gynecologist or a pelvic floor physiotherapist. For vaginismus, I would also recommend working with a sex coach or sex therapist to help you move through the mental and emotional blocks that are feeding the problem.
- Process the trauma. Even if you think you’re “over it” and that it’s all in the past, if you haven’t fully processed what happened to you, it will be still affecting you today. I recommend working with a trauma-informed therapist or bodyworker to help you come home to yourself again. I have a huge network of trauma-informed professionals, so do contact me to get a referral to someone near you.
How to increase your desire naturally
What if you haven’t lost your desire for SEX, but for the kind of sex that you’ve been having? If you’ve been having sex the same way for years, or sex that hasn’t been particularly pleasurable for you, is it any surprise that you’re just not into it anymore? [Read my post on why you need to be enjoying the sex you’re having here.]
The first step is finding out what it is you DO want, what you like and how you like it. If you’re reading this and drawing a blank, you’re not alone.
Exploring your sexuality and sensuality can be the beginning of a beautiful journey for you: a journey to finding your real self.
What kind of touch would you like to receive? What are your turn ons? What are your contexts to feel your most sexy and sensual? What’s on your sexual bucket list? What does intimacy look like to you?
Also think about what messages you received growing up about being a sexual being. Maybe now is the time to work with a coach to let them go so that shame doesn’t rule your sex life anymore.
This is why working with me can help you. I specialize in helping women who have lost all desire for sex and lust for life to fall in love with their bodies and reclaim their pleasure again.
Does this sound like you? Then reach out to me and let’s get you where you really want to be.