Jaclyn Iannucci, PhD, associate research scientist in the Department of Neuroscience and Experimental Therapeutics at…
Suffering from low sex drive? Have no fear, reasonable action items are here
Low sex drive. We said it. If you are struggling with low libido, you are NOT alone. Studies show that as much as 43 percent of women and 31 percent of men experience some sort of sexual dysfunction, with the most common ailment being low libido. Turns out, many of the solutions can be found outside the bedroom, and will benefit your overall health.
“If your sex drive is causing a conflict in your relationship or is different than it used to be, then it may be time to seek help,” says Lyndsey Harper, MD, FACOG, IF, clinical assistant professor at the Texas A&M College of Medicine. There are actionable steps you can take to increase your libido, and Harper outlines four ways you can change your lifestyle that might help.
1. Decrease stress
“The most common reason for a low sex drive that I see is stress and fatigue,” Harper said. “Balancing work, family, a social life and everything else can just be stressful.”
She recommends practicing mindfulness, exercising regularly and getting enough sleep to help decrease stress and boost your libido. If your head and body are relaxed, then you will be more likely to get to the place mentally where you can feel arousal and desire more easily.
2. Emphasize pleasure
“If you treat sex like an obligation, then it will not be as fun,” Harper said. “People, especially women, need to understand sex is okay and pleasurable, which is very hard for some to do.”
She says it is important to figure out how to orgasm, because 75 percent of women do not have orgasms from intercourse. Make sure to focus on each partner’s pleasure, including orgasm, equally.
3. Improve communication
“If you are frustrated with your partner, then that will enter into the bedroom,” says Harper. “You need strong, healthy communication both inside and outside the bedroom.”
Every couple has disagreements, so if you think your communication may be negatively impacting your libido, then focus on solving those issues. If the frustration is coming from a difference in sex drive, do not be afraid to sit down with your partner to have an open conversation about each other’s wants and needs.
4. Prioritize sex
“If you feel like you have lost the sexual part of yourself or your relationship is in danger, then make sex a priority,” says Harper. You have to make sex as big as a priority as you make your relationship. If you are constantly running low on time, reevaluate your priorities. Harper says “sex before dishes” is a good strategy. In other words, make sex more important than something like a clean kitchen. Think about it, do you really need to do all the dishes every night before you go to bed?
Harper encourages trying these four steps to increase your libido, but if you find these steps do not work for you, then speak with your health care provider about your options…because you do have options. She said there are some medications your health care provider can prescribe to boost libido. She also mentions some medical ailments—like depression, thyroid issues and arthritis—can influence sex drive, so it is important to create that open dialogue with your health care provider to find what works for you.
Sex therapy is also an option, and it is great for people with a history of abuse, trauma or infidelity, but anyone can benefit. If you feel like you need professional guidance, then reach out to a local psychologist, psychiatrist or marriage and family therapist who specializes in sex and intimacy.
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