Has your sexual get-up-and-go gotten up and gone? Low desire is the top, self-reported sexual problem for women—and the toughest to treat. Here are three top libido busters, and what to do if this is you.
Shame, the deep sense that something is wrong with us, is not our friend. It undermines our efforts in many areas of our lives, especially sexuality. Are you embarrassed by your body, and worried about a partner’s acceptance of it? You can’t focus on your bra size and your pleasure!
And spectatoring, where you behave as your own worst critic during sex, is shame re-named. It’s as if you’re the armchair quarterback at the Sexual Olympics, and you’ve just voted yourself the Least Valuable Player.
Try this scientifically proven strategy to feel more self-acceptance, more in the moment, and more sexual mojo. Whenever you’re feeling un-sexy, notice shameful feelings as they arise, and redirect your thoughts to something more reality-based: “I’m feeling ashamed of my body, but my partner wants me—I am desired and desirable.”
Another aspect of shame is your sexual beliefs. Low desire is often related to beliefs taught to us by parents and society. Unfortunately, in our zeal to keep girls innocent, we often convey ideas that won’t serve them well as adults. Do you think sex is something “nice” women don’t (or shouldn’t) enjoy? Do you think your genitals are disgusting, something nobody should want to touch?
The fix for this is the same as the one for body shame: notice and redirect. “I’m feeling shame about wanting sex, but it’s normal, natural, and healthy for a grown woman to want and enjoy sexual connection. I deserve sexual pleasure.”
Ghosts from the past
I’m sure it won’t surprise you that rape and sexual abuse can dampen a woman’s desire for years. Yet most women apparently move through these issues without therapy. That said, if you need help, make sure you get it. Cognitive behavioral therapy is proven to help women overcome past abuses and get their groove back. If you have insurance, choose a provider who offers it.
It’s been said that for women, everything our partner says and does is foreplay—and it’s true. Many women with low desire are having partner issues that include feeling low trust in, or low love and respect from, our mate. If you and your partner need to get back on track with some great relationship skills, the top science-backed therapy is Gottman Method Couples Counseling. Whether you both attend, or you have to go it alone, you can find a therapist using this link: http://www.gottman.com/private-therapy/
There are many causes of low libido, and unfortunately, there’s no magic cure that deals with them all. Ultimately, though, a little mental floss, and perhaps some therapy, can help deal with these top causes so you can get your groove back.
Duana C. Welch, Ph.D., is the author of Love Factually: 10 Proven Steps from I Wish to I Do (2015); you can read more and get a free chapter at http://lovefactually.co.