One of the most common reasons for seeking a sex therapist is a perceived lack of libido.
Libido is another word for ‘sex drive’, how driven you are towards being sexual and how often you feel sexual desire and arousal.
It can be helpful to understand that desire and arousal are different things. Sexual desire is the feeling of wanting sex (whether this is acted upon or not), and sexual arousal is the physiological sexual response of being turned on.
For most people during their youth, sex drive was strong and they regularly felt a lot of desire and arousal at the same time. But arousal isn’t necessary for sexual desire. You can desire to be sexual for lots of reasons than just feeling turned on. Perhaps you want to feel close to your partner, or to express your love to your partner, or to relax, to seek pleasure and many other possible reasons for desiring sex. Often once the sexual interaction has begun, the arousal will start to build.
If time is taken and opportunities are created to build arousal- sex can be satisfying, even if there is not as much arousal as perhaps previously experienced.
Sometimes if it’s been a while since being sexual, bodies are out of practice, and it takes time to awaken to feeling sexual and aroused.
Have fun practicing and enjoy whatever you do feel.
Yet people often attend counselling because they can’t access any desire at all, and being sexual is just not something they feel able to experience or go towards at the moment.
The role of therapy is to help you understand yourself and exploring the reasons why desire is not present is an individual process.
It often starts with looking at the quality of the relationship.
Do they feel respected, appreciated, and loved?
Do they feel loved, but more as a friend and not as a lover?
Equally important is a person’s relationship with themselves and their own body. Societal messages tell us that we are ‘not good enough’ in order to try and sell us things- these messages run deep and body shame and lack of self-esteem can ensure that the sexual, erotic, playful parts of ourselves hide away.
Lack of desire can also be a symptom of underlying health issues, so it is always good to get a full medical check-up to rule out any biological factors that are preventing sexual desire and arousal.
A really common reason that many people have a lack of libido is that they are feeling too overwhelmed with managing daily lives and young children, and especially if they feel that they are managing an unfair proportion of household tasks- sex is the last thing they feel like and it can feel much more like a chore than a reward.
Once these elements are explored and attended to, there are lots of exercises and practices that will start to stir libido up again.
Sexual energy is life-force energy.
It’s the part of us that feels inspiration and joy at life. This energy can be stirred up through dancing, laughing, playfulness and doing activities that make us feel alive. Through wearing clothes that feel sexy and through practicing to perceive oneself as a sexual being again. Learning to touch yourself in a pleasurable, slow and sensual way can build up sexual longings and desires. For many people this process will include overcoming shame and stigma about sex and what it means to be alive in your own pleasure, enjoying your body and the body of your lover.
If you need support in this process, sex therapy can be a wonderful support along the way.