If there is no current physical urge to have sex, what else can be used to trigger and enhance sexual interest?
Certainly, physical factors like hormones play a part (as the many women who experience changes in their sex drive during their menstrual cycle would no doubt agree), but other factors are just as vital, for example:
- your attitude to sex;
- your self-talk about sex;
- the sexual cueing between your partner and yourself;
- being in a receptive emotional mood;
- receiving the right sensual stimulation;
- and being in an environment that is conducive to sexual pleasure (some are very conscious that the children are in the house).
As Sandra Pertot discusses in her book, “Perfectly Normal: A woman’s guide to living with low libido”, at any one time any or all of these factors can be used to trigger sexual interest without necessarily leading to instant passion, and one of these triggers may override others on different occasions.
The key is to be able to recognise and build on these triggers without waiting around for the physical buzz to occur to have sex. This is an area that a skilled sex therapist can help couples to identity.
Common sensory triggers include:
- Bathing together;
- Relaxing together;
- Sleep patterns – are you an early bird but your partner is a night owl, if so when is the best time for you as a couple to have sex.
Take some time to recognise your negative self talk towards sex or having sex with your partner. If you find yourself thinking things like: “This whole thing makes me feel sick”, or “Why should I give sex to my partner?”, then this is an area that a sex therapist could assist you with. Taking time to examine your self-talk, identify the underlying issues, and to learn mindfulness with a sex therapist can have tremendous benefits.
Turning your focus on to what is right for you to choose to have sex, and focusing on the emotional positives of a sexual encounter, can make sex very meaningful and enjoyable.
Trust your emotions, express how you feel with touch that communicate your love and caring, and allow yourself to sink into the feelings of joy, love, security and acceptance within the relationship.
Getting in touch with the emotional bond between you and your partner can be a strong cue to assist you in wanting to become sexually intimate more often.
The right environment really can make a difference, especially for women.
Generally speaking, women with low desire are more likely to want a comfortable private environment, with no chance of being disturbed (eg by an unsettled child).
Ambience such as soft lighting and candles can help to create the right environment for women, although sexuality is expressed differently by different people. Some women may prefer sex in more unusual places away from home, where they feel that they can leave the daily grind behind.
By maximising each of these influences – the right sensory stimulation, positive self-talk, the emotional bond between the couple, and the right environment – it can be easier to respond to your partner or to initiate sex yourself.